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Advice please!

Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2011

I posted months ago about how my husband just doesn't 'get it'. From the day of my diagnosis, he never asks how I feel, never asks how follow up tests have gone. Basically, it feels like he doesn't care. Our communication is very minimal. We tried marriage counseling earlieer this year for a few months until he said he wouldn't go anymore. (He just didn't want to answer the counselor's repeated question...."do you love her?") I've read all about men and how they can't deal with things-but cancer isn't something I asked for, nor is it something I really feel like dealing with either.

So here I am 2 1/2 yrs out from diagnosis, just got a clean breast MRI result today (yeah!) and I was out looking at an apartment today. I told my husband both times I went to look at an apartment that I was looking for an apartment and tonight, I came home, we were in the house alone, and he never said one word to me. My thought is if he really wanted me to stay, he would say something. His no communication is telling me he either a)doesn't believe I'll leave or b)doesn't care.

My dilemma is my kids....18 and 15. We haven't told them anything about us separating. Now, they are smart kids and some would say they already know what's going on, but things have been like this between us for so long, I think my kids think it's 'normal'. Some marriages have verbal abuse, mine is the polar opposite-no talk at all.

How do I tell the kids I'm leaving? How do I get them to come with me? Thanks for any help!

MsGebby's picture
Posts: 659
Joined: Oct 2011

You say you are separating. Does your husband want this too? I didn't see in your post that he agreed to this.

My husband said to me before we married that if we can't sit down at the table and talk things out, then it's over. I believe he is right.

As for your kids ... trust me, they already know how bad things seem to be. For me personally, I would take them to dinner one night and talk. Get an idea about how they would feel if you leave. I wouldn't leave. I would talk to a lawyer first about your situation. When there are school aged children involved, most of the time, moms stay in the house. Anyway, a lawyer can help you get the ball rolling. You most likely will have to serve him papers to get him to leave. Remember....he can do the same thing to you. Just make sure you and the kids talk honestly with one another.

I could go on and on and on ... but I am not an authority. I've been through a divorce and I understand what it does to the kids. I am sorry that this situation has become so difficult for you.


lintx's picture
Posts: 691
Joined: Sep 2012

Happy to hear about the clean breast MRI:) Yes, do get a lawyer. You need professional advice, even though tons of us have been through it before you and can give it free! I agree w/Gebby that the kids already know, and you should have him removed from the home. Don't look for a place. Kids usually stay w/Mom. Is it possible that your marital troubles began even before the diagnosis? Sometimes we are so busy going through the motions of life, it is easy to avoid the obvious. Mine was a 31 yr marriage, w/kids grown and gone, but it was never meant to be. We both hung in, trying to do the right thing by our children. It was the wrong thing in the end. Look at what you've gone through these last 2 1/2 yrs. If you weren't strong going into cancer, you certainly came out that way. We're all strong women! I wish you luck in the decision making process. Be sure and get that free consultation visit w/a good attorney soon. Hugs to you, Linda

hope4thebest's picture
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

Dear Chris,
I agree with Linda, you are so strong!! These 2 1/2 yrs have given you such courage to do what is in your heart, to stand up and pursue happiness. You are very impressive. I am younger and single, so I don't have alot of advice, but my parents divorced when I was 10 and I got a room at each of their houses (joint custody). Or maybe just ask your kids with whom, or where, they want to live? Make it about them, what would work best for their lifestyle? If you want them to come, just tell them. I'd keep the 15 yr old a priority, the 18 yr old is legally adult.

Don't make them choose, on the spot, between mom and dad. That is not fair to them.

I can fully relate to the fact that cancer has been very sobering for me, causing me to reevaluate all of my relationships. I feel like by surviving, I have been given a second chance. We are very lucky to have had this awakening.

Happy for your clean MRI.


Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

Men just dont' get "IT" many times...I am sorry you are going through this..

since you kids are older "I think I would just take time when not rushed to talk to them."

NO matter what age it is hard on everyone involved. I would not put pressure on them to "CHOOSE" if you can help it..! GOOD or bad parent each will still be their parent & kids feel they have to be faithful in most cases-NO choose or pick one or the other. Kids pick up on things we dont' think they do-so I am sure they realize what is going on.

I"ll be thinking of you...i'll check back for update..


Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2011

I forgot to mention I DID see a lawyer and in PA there is no such thing as a legal separation. I was shocked to hear this! So the only option is to file for divorce (which states intention) and you then have yrs to follow through with it or drop it. The purpose for filing for divorce is they take a snap shot of assets on the day the certified 'divorce' letter is signed for and that is the value they go by for dividing things. This is so 1 party doesn't clean out bank accounts....all this costs an up front nonrefundable retainer of $3500, which I dont have. I also am quite sure neither of us would do that so I see no point in spending money we dont have.
My head is spinning! But thanks for everyone's advice. The apartment I looked at was a dump so I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. The one thing cancer did for me was open my eyes that this is definitely not a healthy relationship and I need to be happy. Life is too short. Our 22 anniversary is in Oct. I really don't want to leave, but he says he isn't leaving either. I've told him everything and we are just at a stalemate. I'll keep you posted.

Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2011

....2 yrs.... forgot the number in this sentence

So the only option is to file for divorce (which states intention) and you then have 2 yrs to follow through with it or drop it.

Posts: 896
Joined: Sep 2009

to hear about the relationship failing. Do you still love him?
I've gone through divorce also and it just plain SUCKS! (sorry - I don't mean to offend anyone) Even when you want one it stinks!
Please keep taking care of yourself - and your kids of course.
It doesn't sound like he really wants to leave - maybe try therapy again? Go to someone different?
I'll keep you in my prayers - I do agree with you though about life being too short to waste even a minute - cancer certainly makes you sit up and take notice!
Keep us posted and no matter what - don't give up on what you want!
much love,
P.S. Happy happy for good test results! You should celebrate!

Nina B's picture
Nina B
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2012

Your 18 and 15 year old teenagers will not want to live in an apartment that is a dump much less be asked to possibly give up their school and friends. Sounds like you are not sure about what you want to do so please don't talk to them about the situation until you are 100% sure of yours.

From what you mentioned, your financial situation has a large part in what you are able to do. You didn't mention if you will work and pay for the apartment yourself. What about your insurance coverage? I understand that your cancer has changed your outlook on life and you would desperately like a more fulfilling one but what will life be like if you are all alone in an apartment without your children?

Should you even consider leaving your home? Is there anyway the 2 of you can co-exist there for a few more years until your youngest is at least 18?

From what you have posted, I know that what you would really like is for your husband to become the type of mate that you so desperatly need at this point in your life but whatever the reason it appears that may not be possible. Is the talk about divorce, seperation and apartment hunting just a last ditch effort on your part to get his attention? Is he a good provider - a good parent?

If your husband is not willing to work on your marriage with you than do it by yourself.(Does he think it needs working on?) Attend support groups and counseling alone. Look for other ways to make your life more fulfulling. You really only have control over what you can change.

You may think my comment harse but I've lived 67 years, have survived 2 different cancers, and learned a lot of lessons in my life. I look back now on some of the "stupid" mistakes that I made and wish I could take them back. I see now that I should have stopped and took the time to consider all my options carefully.

Posts: 113
Joined: May 2010

In our state (Michigan) you can do a divorce yourself. There are books (look at AMazon...and have it shipped to a friend!) that contain all the forms you will need. Also, here a person can file for divorce and ask the county clerk, where we file, for a form to set aside all the court fees associated with the case. The big things here are the kids and the assets of the marriage. If there are assets to divide, then I would strongly agree with others, you need a lawyer. Call your local women's resource center (usually thought of as a place for abused women, but most offer free legal services). Try not to leave the home until all your ducks ($$$) are in a row. I know it's tempting, but don't clean out the bank accounts, someday, some judge may decide you owe hubby 1/2 of what you took.

As for the kids, the 18 yr old is an adult, and will be allowed to make his/her own choice. And like the others say, trust me, they already know something is "off".

Hubby being silent is his way of saying "I'm not man enough to tell you that I don't want to be in this relationship anymore, but I'm worried that people will think badly of me for deserting my wife, the cancer survivor. In other words, I'm a wimp"

good luck to you, and find a FREE LAWYER!!!

p.s. found this link to get you started. Your state has no fault divorce, so no reason has to be given.


laughs_a_lot's picture
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mar 2011

How are you getting health insurance now? How will divorcing change this? Your need for ongoing health care has changed now because of your diagnosis. If you decide to leave (or he) can you stay in the same school district for the sake of the kids? Remember child support usually ends after a child is either 18 or has graduated from high school. If you have not worked outside the home, you will need to now as your child support will soon end. It sounds like you have .... at least temprorarily .... decided to stay due to finances. This is probably wise, especially if one of the factors mentioned above comes in to play. I am so very glad to know you have seen a lawyer. In Michigan sometimes the court will waive some fees if you are indigent (dirt poor). Are you unhappy at least $3,500 worth? Move on this slowly and carefully.

Posts: 85
Joined: Jul 2012

Hi Chris I can not give you any advice about what you should do, but I can relate to my guy not asking how I am doing ect. If not for my friends and family I would truly feel alone. It is so sad to realize the one that loves us? Can not relate/ or be sympathetic. Sometimes I get resentful so I turn to people that I know support me and would do anything to help me. I really hope everything turns out OK for you. You are in my prayers


Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2011

I really appreciate everyone's thoughts about this. I have looked at another apartment but now I'm starting to second guess leaving. I'm more angry than ever. Why should I leave? Why should I be the bad guy with leaving my kids? I'm so confused. So as a result, here I sit. As I read each comment, I think....yes, this gal knows what I'm going through, yes, this other post also has great advice, and I keep reading. You all know what I should do but for some reason I can't just walk away. I don't know why.

So for now, I'm staying. And for those who are following this thread, I truly believe things happen for a reason. I got a 'dream' job, full time, back in March. I work in a wonderful office with awesome ladies doing bookkeeping for a school district. I make decent money and most important-I have full benefits! I think for now I will focus my energy on work and friends, and spend more time on this board, and see what happens with the marriage. He has been cooking alot more lately and cleaning up the kitchen (never used to) after he makes a mess. Little, I know, but it's something.

PS-One of my references told them I had bc a couple yrs ago (I know, violation!) and they hired me anyway!

New Flower
Posts: 4299
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Chris
I am glad to see your progress staying with your kids in your own house. Yes, we have been through a lot and as cancer has changed us we want to change our lives too. We feel like we have been born for a second time, we do not waste time, and cherish every day. While even supportive families have been changing to address our need, they think it is over, and are often not ready for a change.
I agree with others, find a new therapist, if your husband is not interested continue to go by yourself. The fact your husband agreed to go there tells me your family has a chance. Your therapist was not helpful by asking the same question every time.
Good luck to you and keep coming back. There is always a somebody who can appriciate your help and advice

Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2011

double post...sorry!

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

Congrats on your good results! I am so sorry you're going thru this. It isn't fair. I would suggest possibly seeing a therapist or a marriage counselor first. If you decide to separate though, please make him move out. I think an Attorney can help you with this. You don't want to be the one leaving the home. Wishing you good luck!

Hugs, Megan

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

Congrats on your good results! I am so sorry you're going thru this. It isn't fair. I would suggest possibly seeing a therapist or a marriage counselor first. If you decide to separate though, please make him move out. I think an Attorney can help you with this. You don't want to be the one leaving the home. Wishing you good luck!

Hugs, Megan

tufi000's picture
Posts: 755
Joined: Jun 2005

I am not making excuses for him BUT...

In your anger don't create imaginary rules for the game and then get upset he isn't playing. He is not going to read your mind and is deep deeply withdrawn into his own mind.
What you expect and reality are very different. He is a different person too now. Have the 2 of you sat down and tried to just talk about what each of you want or expect or feel? He may be unable to verbalize his feelings but he can say something on the situation. Just because he doesn't offer anything when you expect your actions to trigger something does not mean he isn't thinking about it.

Maybe right now you can't have a marriage, but is there a comfort zone for the time being? Talk to the kids now! Don't wait to tell them when it's done. They need to feel they can be open to you both, especially being teens.

Don't look for blame, look for workable goals together even if it means not being together or having a different kind of relationship for now.

good luck but I have learned a lot about myself and what I really want in this life. Be careful before you jump. Protect yourself.

Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

My suggestion is see a therapist on your own, that can give you coping skills to stay in the marriage..be very specific with him/her...I have a close friend who did this...even though she was unhappy, she wasn't willing to give up her financial security....so the therapist gave her the coping skills to stay in the marriage......she basically made her own life within the marriage.....this was about 6 years ago and so far so good.....and if I were you, I WOULD NOT leave the home...if you think he would be vindictive, he could file charges accusing you of abandonment......silly in this day and age, but a lot would depend on the divorce laws in your state....you can google this to get the the laws of your state.....moving to an apartment would not be a good thing for your kids...this is such a fragile time in their lives.....

Keep us posted and wishing you the best...
Hugs, Nancy

jendrey's picture
Posts: 377
Joined: Sep 2009

Start seeing his best friend and see if that doesn't snap him the f*ck out of it!!!


No, I'm kidding. =) Sorry.

I wouldn't be going anywhere, anytime soon - least of all to a dumpy little apartment that your kids would no doubt be embarrassed to be anywhere near let alone live in.

Men have great difficulty expressing themselves verbally. Some men are better thought of in the context of "Cutting off the nose to spite the face." They want everything to be smooth but can't quite manage to go so far to put any real effort into doing so for a myriad of reasons. Or even for no reason at all.

Positing the devil's advocate:
Like maybe from his point of view it's all like...well my wife, drama queen that she is, has breast cancer. Now, I have the added stress of dealing with all her worries which is causing me stress. Everything is always about her, all the time, every time. What about me? She got treatment for that cancer thing, so let it go already. What's there to talk about? It's been so long that the focus has been on her I don't even know what or how to say anything to her, even if I wanted to. And what does she expect me to say anyway? Too bad, I just don't have a touchy feely attitude. Can't she just deal with it already. I resent being told that I don't do blah-blah...yeah, you bet I don't and I'm not about to do blah-blah either just on principle alone. Further, I don't want to do even one more thing, talk about one more thing, or see one more thing about breast cancer. Selfish, I know. I hate that she got breast cancer. I hate she has had to go through so much. I hate me hating her hating me and for having gotten this cancer through no fault of her own. Heck, I'm more stuck in a rut with no way out more than ever. How did it ever get this way? Maybe she'll just go away if I keep to myself. But, what will we do without her? Well, it's kind of like she's not really here anyway because she has CHANGED so much I hardly know her anymore. How could she expect me to talk with her she's virtually a stranger to me; she looks different and acts different, she IS different.

But, I'm not.


Of course, being a jerk in no way excuses him from his half of the marriage. Whether he realizes it or not he, too, has changed. Nobody invited you to get on the breast cancer train, you were drafted so to speak. You didn't get the choice to opt out. You're doing the best that you can. I think Nancy might have something there, you might want to consider seeking another therapist to help you

You both have quite a lot invested in this relationship. It must be very difficult to live with this day-in and day-out. Maybe you could take up a new wild hobby together in an effort to reconnect? Like, i dunno...paragliding or maybe start a stamp collection?

Er, maybe not a stamp collection if he's colorblind! Talking from experience, it'll soon be your stamp collection if he's colorblind!!! LOL =) Anyhoo, any hobby that takes a bit of competition would be good! Or you guys could come visit us - between all of our 'Geppetto-ing' (renovating) and yardwork, you guys would probably team up right quick! =)

I'm so sorry this has happened to you. Wishing better days ahead for both of you.


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