Q: I married a very wonderful person from a different religious and cultural background 9 years ago. We had a good marriage and relationship initially, but over the last few years it started going downhill. I was feeling lonely in the marriage and that my husband was not contributing enough to the relationship. I tried to talk to him many times about it but it seemed his problems were always bigger than me or the relationship. Finally I got fed up and asked for a divorce. He wants to follow his career and dreams about having a beautiful well-connected relationship. I want to enjoy my life travelling and doing many other things. We are separating but now our families, who were once against the relationship, want to save it. They assume that our cultural difference created the gap between us. I don't think that was the problem. Now that we’ve decided to divorce, should I rethink, because my family thinks I would be better off with him than being single? I am sometimes nervous, as I know the decision I have taken is a big gamble. My future was once set, with husband and home, but now it is back to square one and starting out, though this time with more wisdom and age. How do I deal with this roller coaster of emotions and regretful thoughts? My husband is not ready for any counselling and from his side it is over, so there is no point in me considering it either.
A: What others think is good for you and what is good for you are two different things. Sometimes it may be a match, but that’s for you to decide. However, I can say one thing confidently: we do not stay in or leave a relationship based solely on what others tell us to do. Opinions from our loved ones can give us perspective for sure, but they very rarely give us a clear path to follow decisively.
Divorce is a big decision and it is okay to feel nervous and confused. From what I can tell, it seems like you have put in a lot of effort in trying to reconcile the incompatibilities you have as partners and kept reaching an impasse. If you can see the reasons clearly as to why there is little hope for the two of you as a couple, then just concentrate on letting the emotions of fear and insecurity run their course. Generally, we feel confident taking decisions when we know enough about what we are dealing with and what is the likely outcome of the choice. However, in cases like divorce, it is hard to tell what will happen if you stay or leave. Hence your anxiety is a normal reaction of facing the unknown. What I can say is, whatever changes await you, as long as they are not physically threatening, you will be able to deal with them and come out on the other side. I highly recommend separation counselling. Even if your husband is unwilling to see a therapist, you should go by yourself and start your own new journey.