Was Divorce My Fault?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. My husband blames me for our failed marriage and I have guilt. I am a recently divorced woman. A few years ago I wouldn’t have imagined being in this situation. But I feel that I have learned a lot about myself.

I met my husband in a whirlwind — and in just 3 months he asked me to marry him. He was perfect — the house, the teaching and coaching jobs, funny and sweet. We married 9 mths to the date we met. I couldn’t believe such a wonderful man would want to marry me. I didn’t have much, but a wonderful 7 year old…

Two weeks before we married he was accused of sending sexual messages over the internet to two highschool students. He denied them and lost his jobs. I stood by his side, which also meant paying the majority of the bills which he had accumulated before our marriage, including the house payment. I started resenting him for what had happend and that he was spending most of the time with my daughter. I told him that and he said it would take time…

But a year later it was still the same. Something told me to look at his computer. I found two dating sites he was registered to and left for two weeks. I returned when he said that it was during college he did that. I found more and more dating and perverse sites he was registered to asking for sexual things I couldn’t even imagine, even gay dating sites. I confronted him and he denied them. Then he said it was my fault!!! Then he said it was no big deal.

We separated for a month and when I went back to get some of my belongings, he changed the locks on our house! (I was still giving him money to pay the bills!). I tried to confide in his sister-in-law and she just told me to get a divorce! We went to counseling when he said he was going to kill himself and he lied to the counselor!

I hold this mound of guilt over my shoulders. I have tried to talk to him and tell him that he has a problem and he says that I cheated on him! I didn’t have time. I had to get a restraining order on him when he was threatening me at my work! I had to go to divorce court where he tried to take my daughter and my savings! During our marriage I never put money into my savings it went into bills! My question is — I never got any closer. I feel that I was used! I feel that it was my fault – the divorce. And I don’t know if I will ever trust again. Did he use me? Did I run from our marriage? I am still afraid he is going to try to hurt me, but most of it is mental. He never was abusive during our marriage only after I confronted him.. It was almost like he was trying to cover something up about himself!

A. What happened is that you rushed into a marriage with a man you did not know. You did not take the time to know who you were marrying. You knew him for only three months before he proposed and were married only six months later. This is not enough time to get to know a person before you decide to get married.

You also said this was a “whirlwind” relationship presumably meaning you were “head over heals” in love. This type of love is always dangerous because people tend to overlook elements of a person’s personality or behavior that would normally alarm them. You may have become “blinded” to problems in the relationship that might have otherwise concerned you. This may be what happened in your situation.

Since I only am getting one side of the story I do not know if the divorce was “your fault” as your ex-husband claims. Based on your letter, it certainly seems as if he was the one who ruined the marriage. He lied to you, possibly cheated on you, stole your money, and much more. If this was the case, then it would have been his behavior that destroyed the marriage.

But even if the divorce was “your fault,” and I said above, it certainly does not seem like it was, maybe it was the best possible outcome for you. Once you got to know the man you married, you learned that that he was a liar, and a thief who is now trying to gain custody of your daughter. This is not a man you want to be married to. Your decision to get a divorce seems more like a blessing than something you should feel guilty about.

What should concern you is why you married this man to begin with. Don’t feel guilty about deciding to divorce someone who betrayed you and much more. Rather, focus your concern and energy on trying to assess what led you to marry someone who you did not know and who turned out to be a liar and a thief. A therapist can help you greatly with assessing what led you into this type of relationship, and more importantly, to help you never make such a costly mistake again.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 May 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Was Divorce My Fault?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/05/05/was-divorce-my-fault/