I want to ditch my husband, but he can’t manage alone. What to do? Ask Ellie

QI’ve been struggling with my marriage for over 10 years, wanting to divorce my husband. He has been unemployed for more than 50 per cent of our marriage, has anger issues, uses weaponized incompetence regarding housework, is addicted to technology and cannabis to treat his depression, etc.

I want to separate from him, but where would he go? He cannot manage alone. He has zero friends or family to stay with because he’s burned bridges. Plus, no job and no prospects.

But how do I push my children’s father out onto the streets?

He takes advantage of this situation, knowing he can live rent-free. I barely make enough money to support our family. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to also pay spousal support. I’m too much on the fence about making this decision. Please help me.

Must Get Unstuck

AYes, get “unstuck” for everyone’s sakes in your household. Start with yourself: You have some empathy for your husband, but it’s defeated by your anger at his relying on you financially, and not helping at home.

Yes, he’s the father of your children, but apparently, he’s no partner. Divorce is expensive, but living with mental strain, lack of support and no mention of affection/love/trust is wearing you down.

You don’t say how old your children are, nor whether he’s an involved parent.

This situation won’t resolve on its own. Research online what divorce actually involves. Then consider the alternative of whether there’s any point to enduring another decade in this marriage.

Or say that the only way you’ll stay in this marriage is if he gets help (find what’s available for him so there’s no excuse), especially regarding his addictions and other mental-health issues.

FEEDBACKRegarding the woman who had a brief affair and is now ashamed of her behaviour (Aug. 11):

Reader No. 1: “I agree that she should get some counselling to get beyond this, understand why it happened, and help with getting over the guilt.

“But to tell her husband is ridiculous advice. The reference to exposure on social media is irrelevant as it’s been 18 months, so apparently the man has not blabbed about the affair. Unless he’s bent on wrecking her life, or they were indiscreet, it’s unlikely to appear on social media. Telling her husband would be cruel and upset his life, probably unnecessarily.”

Reader No. 2: “I’m a happily married woman in my mid-40s” — really? Even though “about 18 months ago, I started an affair with a married man.”

“She consciously went down this path. Now she’s in a no-win situation of her own making: Say something, and the marriage is over. Say nothing, and her conscience will eventually get the better of her. Which is the worse option?

“She is mid-40s so it wasn’t just a high-school fling.

“It’s very likely that her husband was suspecting something. He may just be watching to see if his suspicions are confirmed. But this is the time of social media where very little stays hidden.”

EllieThe woman’s decision is very frightening to her. As the second feedback-writer noted, what goes on social media stays on social media, and can be found at any time.

If lucky, she’ll get away with it. If not, her husband has to be willing to learn/understand her reasons for an affair, and commit to working together on their marriage.

Ellie’s tip of the day

When only you sustain your marriage, it won’t improve unless you insist on changes, or separation.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected]


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