Dealing with family and friends after divorce

They don't understand. I'm done with this marriage. What can I say to get them to stop trying to get us back together?

After 37 years of marriage, I’m leaving my husband.

He’s been a good provider. We’ve never worried about money, but emotionally, I get no support from him.

In our years together, we’ve gone through some rough times. In those times, it’s always been me helping him get through. I’ve sat up many a night with him talking about one situation or another. Never once did he ask how I was doing. It’s like that song about someone taking, taking, taking, and never giving.

I had a really nasty flu recently, and it really put things into perspective for me. I could barely hold my head up, and he wondered where his supper was.

The flu went on and on. I was scared that I might have cancer or something, and when I said this to him he told me not to be so silly. I didn’t feel well enough to drive to my medical appointments, and he made no effort to help — told me to call a friend.

So this is it. I don’t want any advice about couples counselling. I have had it.

What I do want, is some help with what to say to family and friends when they try to convince me that I’m doing the wrong thing. They don’t understand. I’m done with this marriage. What can I say to get them to stop trying to get us back together?

Well, there really is no point at all to try to get a couple back together if one of the two has decided that they are finished.

And it sounds like you are finished. So how to make that clear? How to get others to stop trying to get you to change your mind?

It can be understandable for friends and family to find your determined stance uncomfortable. It changes things for them.

You got to be in charge of making that change. They did not.

They need to adjust to something that is out of their control. Even if they really support why you are leaving, they still need to adjust.  As people, we tend to resist change.

Because of this, it can be helpful to have some very clear statements you can say to them, that also acknowledge their discomfort. Doing that can smooth the way to their accepting what you are saying.

Look at developing some “set” responses for when the topic comes up.  Here are a few to try out:

“I know that you don’t understand. You may never understand. (acknowledge their discomfort), but I am as certain about this as I can be.” (your truth)

“I appreciate that this is hard (acknowledge their discomfort), but I know I’m making the right decision for me. I’m not changing my mind”. (your truth)

“This probably makes no sense to you (acknowledge their discomfort). It makes sense to me, though, and it’s me who has to live my life. (your truth)

Acknowledge the discomfort, but stick to your truth. Others may never understand.

If people persist, add a third line to your response that closes off that topic.

A few examples:

“I’m not looking back.”

“Please, let’s talk about something else.”

“If you want to support me, help me with (whatever practical thing you need help with).”

“Trying to get me to convince me to go back is not helpful.”

“Do you really want me to live my life unhappy?”

“I’m not talking about that any more.”

“STOP, I’m not talking about that any more.”

“I don’t think that you are hearing me. I’m done talking about this.”

Rather than getting into the discussion, repeat your statements.

The goal is to be clear and firm, standing with your truth, but kind.

If you wish to ask a question of the counsellors, for a response in future columns, e-mail them at info@pacifictherapy.ca. Consult a Counsellor is provided by registered clinical counsellors Nancy Bock, Diane Davies Leslie Wells, Andrew Lochhead and Sara Lynn Kang at pacific therapy & consulting inc. It appears every second Thursday in the Record.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Julia Strobach. File Photo
Nearing seventh anniversary, Valley RCMP continue search for Julia Strobach

“We know that someone has information that will help us locate her.”

Comox author Loraine Hartley, with a few copies of her debut novel, “My Delightfully Dysfunctional Family.” Photo supplied
Comox author pens novel about life in a blended family

Generally speaking, authors write their books, then determine a title. But not… Continue reading

Police reported more than 2.2 million Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic offences) in 2019 within Canada- 164,784 more than in 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Crime Severity Index on the rise with the Valley, Canada: StatsCan

There were 1,450 actual incidents in the Comox Valley in 2019

Joyce Jay enjoys a moment with Georgia, her son Ed’s dog, at her Comox home. Joyce is 103 years old. Scott Stanfield photo
Comox centenarian recalls wartime Britain, moving to Canada

Joyce Jay isn’t one to shy away from adventure. She wanted to… Continue reading

The distance education program through Navigate (NIDES) has been seen some large gains in enrolment. Image, screenshot
Comox Valley school enrolment up despite fewer kids in class

Growth being driven heavily by increase in distance education numbers

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

It’s volleyball season at schools in the Comox Valley, in a cohorted environment. Tournament play or matches between schools are not happening during COVID. File photo
Comox Valley Schools re-opens sports at practice level

Comox Valley Schools has re-opened sports at a practice level, but as… Continue reading

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Most Read