feel guilty for breaking up family home

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  • #29894 Report


    Hi everyone, I’d be grateful for any advice and wisdom. I have made the difficult and sad decision to ask my husband for a divorce. Its been brewing for 3 years now and I just can’t take it anymore. He cheated on me during the pregnancy of our second child, has called me names in front of the children and generally very angry if things don’t go his way. He was very controlling with finances and during the period we lived in Italy (he is Italian) did not help me open a bank account so I lived off handouts (I wasn’t working at that time). I decided to come back to the UK and I now have a full time job and more financial security. He has made little attempt to integrate here and I don’t want to feel isolated anymore. The key decision for divorce is for me to have serenity and calm at home for the children. Shouting doesn’t help them at all and I’m turning into a doormat if I stay and keep quiet. But my problem is I feel so guilty for leaving and ‘breaking up’ the family home.  I use the term loosely as he’s always done pretty much his own thing and whilst he loves the children, he’ll rarely take them to the park/has never read to them. Why am I feeling so bad about leaving him on his own? Am I a doormat? I feel such guilt and pain. Thank you sincerely to anyone who has felt the same and how they coped.  It’s so hard.

    #29900 Report


    If you have a daughter, would you want her to have a marriage like you have?

    Rather than feeling bad, I’d focus on making sure your husband sees his children. My ex loves our son but didn’t do anything with him or take him anywhere before I left.

    The odd thing is he sees him more now because he has to make an effort. So it can be positive.

    #29901 Report



    Hi Elsa1

    I went through similar as I asked my ex-husband for a divorce after 5 years of marriage. I felt so guilty for my son (he was almost 1 at the time) as I felt like I had blown his world apart and upside down but like you my ex husband was having affairs and chatting to other women via different websites.

    It did take me a long time to stop feeling guilty and to come to realise it wasn’t and never was my fault, I’ve now been separated from him for 2 years (even though he continues to try and say it is)

    Se if you can talk to a councillor bout your feelings, it is a grieving process but I promise you will get through it and become so much stronger. I wanted a better life for my son and I didn’t want him growing up not respecting people.

    remember the reasons you have left him. its a hard and difficult thing to do (it took me years to get the strength to ask for a divorce and it is the best thing (apart from my son) that I have ever done.

    so remember………..your amazing, your strong, it is NOT your fault, it is ok to grieve and it will start to get better.

    happy to chat if you want to



    #29905 Report


    Kathymumofone and Lou1979, thank you and yes you’re right. It’s a grieving process   and what is key is the point you both mention about respect for others – I do have a daughter ( and a son – both very young 2.5 and 4.5 years) would not want her to be in a relationship like this nor my son. Just need to keep strong and remind myself of the reasons why. Thanks again for your replies – I know I’ll read them again when I get low about this!!

    #40099 Report


    It sounds to me like you are dealing with some abusive behaviour from your husband. Counselling may be helpful even if it doesn’t repair your relationship, it may help you separate more amicably. I had couples counselling with an ex and the first time it got us past the fact my ex had been unfaithful, the second time (5 years later) it helped me to leave and helped my ex to accept that. Maybe try relate? Separating parents will be less damaging long term for your children than growing up in an unhappy home but the key thing is to try and minimise the damage to your children, which an amicable separation will do. You’re not a doormat for wanting to leave your marriage, but focus on the outcome you want and do everything you can do to achieve that (it sounds to me like this is to separate with minimum disruption and upset for your children). You can’t control how your husband behaves, but you can control how you respond to that, and clear boundaries will be helpful at this difficult time. In my experience, counselling is really helpful in achieving those. It also sometimes help to have someone else involved, especially if your husband is controlling and bullying. Most bullies don’t want to be perceived that way, and if he agrees to counselling, knowing that someone else will be hearing about how things are going may help him regulate his own behaviour. If he won’t go with you, go by yourself because it will help you work things out. There are lots of counsellors around who do low rates for people on low incomes, and some local counselling services can also offer free sessions if you can’t afford anything. Really good luck.

    #40370 Report


    I feel this same. My husband shut down from me completely during our marriage and was emotionally abusive, shouted at me and the boys and turned us into anxious wreaks. we were all so broken and lived walking on eggshells. I was scared of his reactions as he would question everything i did or said and critisize. He is undiagnosed ASD like his father and has lived with shouting and negative responses his whole life. As a result he never coped well with my autistic sons outbursts and regularly made him distressed too, which was harrowing. He refused to talk about money and never shared any financial information with me, I basically spent 10 years raising the children alone whilst his job was his biggest focus. He was always good around the house and helped with domestic chores, always did the right thing by us but we didn’t ever have calm, love or happiness. Over the years I grew so indifferent to him and actually ended up hating him and was desperate to shield the children from his anger. Sex was a massive issue too. In the end I couldn’t take any more and had an affair (horiffic I know), but finished it after he had a complete breakdown when he found out. So we have both hurt each other. Roll forward and many, many chats later we have finially sorted our finances out, both are having separate therapy and he has moved out to a place around the corner. Unfortunately this has all happened just as lockdown started. So we decided to make a huge effort to get on for the sake of the children as we realised we’d only have each other and he was keen to still be able to help me out with the children, which is great. So the lockdown has forced us to be civil and given us time to talk more. We both recognise where things went wrong, he is hugely regretful of the way he treated us and is getting therapy to work on his anger issues. Obviously he cannot forget my affair but does understand why he pushed me away. I feel tremendous guilt for what I did. I handled it so badly. So he is still coming round everyday to see the boys or have dinner with us and at first it was ok and the boys have two parents not fighting who are supporting each other and being respectful. However two months in and it is getting so hard. He is really struggling as its so painful for him to have to come to the family home and then leave again. I feel awful for him. I helped him assemble some IKEA furniture the other day at his and it was weird being at his. We’re like two friends that don’t really like each other and are awkward. I keep looking at him to see if I can feel a glimmer of love again. I keep looking to see if I can love him again, but I just don’t think I can. He still doesn’t trust me, he still checks to see what time I’m up until on whatsapp and checks my facebook. I have to keep all my browsing history deleted on my laptop as I know he’s go snooping to see what I’ve been looking at. I still see glimpses of the old times and sometimes he still can’t handle my autistic son, which is distressing. I will never be able to go on dating sites as he’ll be checking to see if my profile is there. He will always like to have some control in my life. But he loves the children and dog so much it breaks my heart. We both so miserable. How do we move on? All other posts are about couples hating each other and at war. We’re not, we’re being amicable and respectful. In a way it’d be easier if we were:)!! Help.

    #57369 Report


    Littldf I 100% understand what your going though your last part of you’re message sounds like my situation. We broke up around 18months ago now, and at first I wanted to be back with him but he was doing drugs drinking and being so horrible to me i ended up just doing me I’ve now got use to and now happier by myself but he’s now popped out of his bubble and what’s to give it another go but now I’m just not in that head space things have changed and I’ve looked at the relationship that we once had so differently now. The guilt I feel is weighing me down as we have 2 boys together I feel torn apart but like you said it was easy when we was giving a shit to now he wants to know. He checks my WhatsApp questions me about where I’m going who I will be with. I feel trapped. I also feel terrible that I’m still in the family home and he has nothing. Have things moved on for you ? I don’t want to live like this but I also don’t know what to do.

    #61577 Report


    Hi LittleDF,

    I hope you don’t mind me messaging it’s. What you said has resonated with me as I am going through a very similar situation. My husband is abusing me because I as an affair and now I’ve had enough and leaving. I wondered how did you help your husband see and accept what he was going to you was abuse? I have sadly realised through a lot of learning that he has been abusive the whole time we have been together. I just find it hard to leave as I feel so guilty and just keep hoping that I can help him see this is the right thing. He has said that as soon as I leave, that is it. He will never talk to me again unless it’s to do with our son. So I feel horrible actually doing that and continue to try and help him see but he just continues to abuse me. Is there any advice you have?

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