I’m Divorcing My Wife, Because She Can’t Get Over Her Mom’s Death
A man, 33, came to Reddit to find out if he’s right in his decision to divorce his wife. She hasn’t been able to recover from her mom’s death, and the man is just tired of the constant sorrow and tears prevailing in their house. Many people were quick to judge him, after only having read the title of his post, but the problem appeared to be quite deeper than it even seemed, and we’d like to tell you the whole story.
A man took to Reddit to tell his sad family story.
A man, 36M, made a post in one of the Reddit’s communities to seek advice from people and to hear their opinions on if he’s right or wrong. He wrote that his wife’s mother passed away 5 years ago from lung cancer. The man explained that it was not a peaceful or easy death.
Their lives understandably went on pause after the diagnosis, and they both spent a lot of time off work helping care for her. His wife had a pretty typical showing of grief at the time, cycling through different stages. Same with their three kids.
After his wife’s mother passed, however, she got really bad. The man admitted that he totally understand this. He can’t say he knows exactly what she went through, because he hasn’t had a parent die, but he understands how devastated she was.
He wrote, “For months after, she could barely function. I gently took over pretty much all the responsibilities in the household and with the kids. She had been attending grief counseling since the diagnosis and continued after the death.”
His wife’s condition was getting only worse over time.
The man continues his post, saying that it wasn’t the problem for him to be there for his wife as much as he could. He endeavored to be as supportive as possible. She cried on his shoulder every night for months, and he just thought this was the “worse” of “for better or worse”.
The man writes that the real problem is that it’s not going to an end at all. He wrote, “The problem is that after 5 years, she does not seem any better or more functional. She stopped grief counseling about 4 years ago and refused to go again, stating it would not help her and that nothing could.”
He then explained that about a month before any major holiday, she will have a major downturn. In bed half the day, crying all day, does not want to interact with the family, does not have the energy to do anything around the house. This will go on every single day until about a week after the holiday ends. Every holiday is intense grief, just as much now as it was 5 years ago.
October, November, December, and January (her mom’s birthday month) every year are particularly bad. The man is essentially without his wife, and is a single parent to their three kids. All together, she is completely incapacitated by grief for about 6 months out of the year, and has been the past 5 years.
The man’s family life is coming to a critical point.
The man continues his story and can’t even tame his emotions anymore.
He says, “When I say incapacitated, I mean incapacitated. When she is in the depths of her grief, she is completely incapable of intimacy with me or the kids. There is no cuddling, spending time with us, going on family outings. I’ve stopped asking her if she wants to talk about it because she can’t get any words out between sobs if she tries.”
The man insists it’s also taking its toll on their kids.
The man admitted that what hurts the most is that the kids have stopped asking or being concerned. If they see their mom in bed when they get home, they just go about their day and might casually mention “oh, mom is sad today” if their siblings, or I ask where she is. They don’t really seek affection with her anymore, because they rarely get anything more than tears.
The man discussed this with therapists, his parents, friends, etc. and he knows all the rebuttals people would have for this, so he decided to preempt them.
He detailed that she is unwilling to go back to therapy for grief counseling or to see a doctor for depression. He knows she’s severely depressed. But he can’t force her to go to the doctor. He’s tried so much. His wife’s sorrow is really just as intense as it was 5 years ago.
He never tells her to “get over it” or blow her off. On his worst days he just gives space and leaves her be, most days he tries to offer her some comfort. He wrote, “If you want to judge me for leaving her alone, whatever, but know that I feel like I essentially have caretaker fatigue at this point.”
The OP expects people to avoid being too judgmental, and the users support his.
The man finishes his post, saying, “I feel like my wife died when her mom died. I would do anything to get her back, even a small piece of her, but she doesn’t seem willing or able to move on past her mom’s death. I feel awful for considering a divorce, but I don’t know what else to do.”
People in the comments appeared to be very much supportive of the man. One person wrote, “She is wallowing in grief and expects the whole family to endure it. I have to give kudos to kids and husband to last in this 5 yrs. She only thinks of herself. Malingering and won’t get help, which says I want to continue to malinger. What I would do is give her the ultimatum and then begin living life.
I’d take the kids and get a tree, put on some Christmas music and decorate. I’d dance with them and drink hot chocolate. I’d get the kids out of the house as much as possible, if of age, go bowling, see family, go to a movie together. Play board games. Start forming family habits and memories. If she’s in the bed so be it/ she got the message, counseling or divorce. And mean it!”
Another person added, “If OP and the kids keep tiptoeing around the house and acting like there is a terminally ill person in the house at all times, she’s going to continue to ruminate on her misery because there’s nothing to distract her from it. I know sometimes it can feel like you’re being insensitive by continuing life as normal around a grieving person, but sometimes that’s what the grieving person needs in order to move on and feel like things are actually normal again.”
And here’s an article that gives reasons why a divorce is better than a bad marriage.