Separated, Not By Choice


I was just wondering if anyone else out there has been dealing with a forced separation from there spouse? My wife left me about eight years ago. She just didn’t want to be married anymore. She’s since left the church and moved on. We have a good relationship as far as communication with the kids and all. I just have periods when it gets hard. Just wondering if anyone else was dealing with the same thing?


I had a similar thing. My husband left me and our four children for a 19yo woman, (this was 13 years ago) I hung onto the hope that he would come to his senses and come back to me as I loved him so much.
He had not seen our children in all of that time up until last Dec when my eldest daughter went looking for him.
He still is a womaniser with no morals, who hasn’t got a decent job and no house of his own. (He rents one room in a house from a couple of drug dealers).
I wanted him back, God knew better. I brought the children up by myself but could teach them the faith with no interference. I did not want to let go, but finally did. Got a divorce that I never wanted, then an annullment. It was the best thing I ever did.
I am buying my house, have a good job, remarried. Have another beautiful boy and am certainly better off than I was.
Maybe it is time for you to move on too. Can you get an annullment? Have you looked into it?
Annullments, (although not automatically granted) can be a wonderful means of healing and moving on. It was for me.
Maybe talk to your priest. God bless


I’m divorced, also not by choice. My husband had an anger problem and was highly manipulative, and was a difficult man, and not loving (only he can act it when he can gain by it, like when he was trying to win me). He had many hobbies to keep him busy but when he was home I never knew when he might explode in anger so I was always on eggshells, always endeavoring to “not make him mad”, as I didn’t understand till the end that contrary to what he said, all his anger came from within.

So he left, and it was beyond my control. I would have stayed, for the sake of our son, so he could have his two parents right there. I realize now that its better my son should not be raised seeing his fathers disrespect for me. I am glad I can look back and say I did everything possible to keep the marriage together. I truly kept my vows. It was a fruitless effort though.

Intellectually I realize that I am so much better off not living in fear of my angry husband, but yet a part of me usually feels lost and alone, even when I am busy. So I really understand how you feel. When its too hard, I usually find I haven’t been praying my rosary faithfully, or going to Mass as often as I can (other than Sunday Mass, I mean). But I look back and realize that even though its hard, each year has gotten easier (Its going on three now). So there is the promise things will go better this year. I would not ever wish on anyone these past three years. It was so hard. Only, God’s guiding supporting hand was always there.

I should have it annulled. I have papers around. But I have been too busy with the trials of regular life to desire to spend time with that. I will before long. There is no rush since I feel my priority is to do the best with what I have and where I am, and sort of wait for God to reveal his will.

There are often days when I feel great, like I am doing fine, and I feel God’s blessing on me. But I do often feel a great need for support. Probably I should go to some kind of single parents’ group, and be around other people who are in my shoes, since being around intact families all the time can magnify my sense of isolation. I would like to find someone who is successfully being a single mom, for inspiration. (It seems whenever I do find someone who doesn’t find it so hard, it turns out they have a boyfriend at home! I don’t call that single parenting!) But I probably haven’t met enough people in order to find those inspiring ones, and so I need to make that effort.

I pray to St. Joseph, Protector of Families, Terror of Demons, all the time. I bless the house and my son and I with Holy Water all the time. I ask Our Lady for help all the time. This has sustained me.


My xh walked out 11 years ago and was gone for a year. I prayed to God to bring him back. I mourned his loss. I cried. I prayed more. He came back and was 3 times the devil he was before he left. He eventually left for good but not before causing permanent damage and destroying me financially. Sometimes the best thing some people can do for you is to walk away.

See about divorce and annulment. It takes two people to be married. You are doing this all alone.

That’s not a marriage.


Eliza, the longer I live alone, the easier it becomes. I was married to your xh’s twin, apparently. I was the virgin that was thrown into that volcano, and it didn’t appease the angry volcano god.

I’ll just say that your kids are better off with you focusing on them. The fact you are not bringing in a trail of “uncles” or boyfriends that they bond with and then you break up and they go through their own little grieving process is very good. You are shielding them. You are being a mother.

At this stage in their lives they need a solid emotional environment. Not mommy’s dating dramas. My daughters are going through that with their father and his endless parade of women. And there is way too much drama going on with him and his young immature girlfriend.

I refuse to do that with my children. And I enjoy not having someone grab the remote and make me watch his shows. I don’t have some man making a huge mess of my house and forcing me to cater to his schedule.

Yes, it’s lonely, but there are worse things than loneliness. You can be lonelier with a man in the next room than you are in an empty house. I think you know that by now.

Someday I may meet a trustworthy man who makes me want to be in a relationship. But right now I’m teaching my daughters that they don’t have to have a man to be complete. That they can pursue professional and social alternatives without having to do anything to keep a man in their lives.


When my husband decided he no longer wanted to be married to me, it caught me completely off guard. During the breakup, the hardest part was not those who maligned his name. The hardest part was discovering that we were the stereotypical "young couple that everybody admires because of their love for one another."
I had somebody approach me with “I always wanted to meet you. I have never seen a more loving family.”:frowning:
Forgiveness took time. I needed to accept that it was a process. Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “If you love something, let it go.” I needed to learn how to open the door to the possibility of reconciliation. Does this mean becoming a Delta Dawn? Of course not. It means living my life without expectation of his ever returning to me. By the same token, it means setting aside all anger and resentment. It means being open to the possibility. “How do you know wife that you will not save your husband?” The Sacrament is real and despite what anybody else might advise me, I must abide by what my conscience says is right and just.


I am alwasy here for you Eliza10. No boyfriend at home either. Just a friend round the corner.

Hope things are going well and your child is looking forward to school soon.


Thanks for the support, Liberanosamalo. Its a comfort to hear from someone who has been there. You and I have written on other threads together. When you go through what we do, people married to normal people with normal problems have no idea what its like. Its a comfort to look into the sea of blank faces and see an understanding one.

Yes, I do feel I am doing the right thing by not looking for dating. I am just living my life, and will let God bring into it what He will.

LOL. But, I won’t marry someone like that again. It will have to be someone willing to compromise and share. Not someone who feels entittled to do all things his way. My discipline now to be unrushed about hooking up will help me in choosing right someday.

Yes, when I get lonely, I remind myself there are so many worse things. There are.

Thats for certain. But then I lived with the hope that things would get better someday with us. Loss of that hope was the biggest loss. I lived with that hope for so long! Not having it - it feels like a huge part of me has been ripped out. Its not a hope I can just quickly replace with another. That one was big because I nurtured it so long. I took very good care of it! I loved that hope.
Now its gone. God gave me grace and heavenly assistance to see that truth, because I got in the habit, over the years, of hanging onto that hope against all odds. So that hope is gone. It leaves a cumbersome empty spot.

Yes, God-willing someone will make me want to be in a relationship. Now I just need to be true to the highest good of what God wants me to be/become. Alas, I don’t have daughters, but I pray I can teach my son faith, purity, hard work, responsibility, caring, respect.


Hi, Jen! Good to hear from you, and God bless you. No, my son is not looking forward to school. He does well in school, with plenty of guidance and encouragement from me. That grind begins soon. But when we saw the Wegmans back-to-school display - little black shadow cutouts of pupils sitting in real old-fashioned desks - we both decided it looked like a really, really bad dream.



There may be more people who understand than you realize. My dad left my mom when I was in college. I may not have experienced first-hand what she went through, but I witnessed it, cared for her and felt her pain.

Now, I am married and to be honest, it can be kinda strange. I grew up in an emotionally abusive home, and sometimes I’m confused by my husband’s normal behavior. I feel like I’m relearning everything and trying to figure out what normal is.

God bless you and keep you in His love always.


Thank you, Elizabeth Anne, for understanding and reminding me there are others who understand who haven’t precisely walked in my shoes - those who have lived as witnesses.

What a blessing that God gave you a normal married life! It must please your mother so much to see you have that.

When I imagine ahead that God may someday bless me with a normal person to love, I wonder how living so many years out of normalcy will affect that. I imagine that I will probably feel confused at times by normal behavior, too. But blessed.

Thank you for your blessing, and God bless you too.


Listening to these truthful stories…it has me worried…how do you know if you are choosing a loving and committed person to be with?

So many times on this board and in real life I hear about how “nice he was before we were married”

Are there signs??


Yes! I will find you a list. But off the top of my head, he falls in love with you deeply and devotedly quickly and persues intimacy and/or marital committment early. You may find yourself assurring him of your faithfulness. Long distance relationships work great for these abnormal imposters, because they only have to pretend for the duration of a phonecall, letter, or visit. But there are other things to look out for. I will find a list.


Yes, I also agree there are things to look for however many in dating sitautions turn a blind eye to the little caution flags because of the emotional love they feel.


Eliza, I once saw a bumper sticker that still makes me laugh:

“I’ve never been so happy since I gave up hope.”

I know living on false hope feels like living. But once you realize your hope is a lie, letting go of it can be very freeing. I have learned to replace that with a different kind of hope. Hope that my children will have a better life. And I too worry that they will not be able to recognize “normal.” And they will gravitate toward the kind of man who treats them with disrespect.

Okay, for a list. This is what I can come up with off the top of my head. I won’t say any one of these is reason to kick him to the curb (mostly him, but once in a while a woman is the abuser.)
But several of these are cause to be very cautious.

This is from personal experience and 19 years of dealing with a Class-A mysogynist.

  1. Too courtly. Man, he knows just how to pull your chair out and behaves too gentlemanly. Like it’s an act. And he comments on it while he’s doing it. “See how genteel I am! Other slobs are not like me.” Yeah, we get your point.

  2. Very obsessed with outer appearances. How you make him look. Did you look at him wrong in front of those people? How dare you. What will they think of him now??!

  3. Bigotry. This kind of mentality, whether it’s racial, ethnic, or religious, points to a personality that lumps people into categories without regard to personal and individual qualities. Women are also lumped together. “Pigs and whores.” He’s got all kinds of things to say about women. Especially modern women. He thinks women nowadays are degraded. Women in past centuries or in Afghanistan are held in true esteem. (Mine said that to me! He was over there. I guess he knew…) Be careful with this one. Because in the beginning, you are the one woman who is deserving of him. He makes you feel special because only you have convinced him women can be good. Don’t worry. Soon you’ll be on the dust heap with the others.

  4. His relationship with his mother is based on anger, resentment and hostility. Now, I don’t care if she serviced the 6th fleet on the kitchen table in front of him as a child and deserves to be hated. That hatred will eventually be directed at you.

  5. Any kind of pouting. Big boys don’t pout. If he gives you the silent treatment, that is a warning. It’s emotional withdrawal and a kind of emotional bullying. Here’s the progression:
    Silent treatment
    Accusations and namecalling
    Threats of hitting "I should smack you."
    Throwing objects on the floor or destroying your things. They are a substitute for his real intended victim, you.
    Shaking you by the arms. Shoving.
    Pinning you to walls and screaming in your face.
    Death threats

  6. Jealousy. Now this one is tricky. For a young woman it may seem flattering. “Oh, how cute. He cares.” No, he doesn’t. He either trusts you or he doesn’t. A jealous man is just sure that any other man walking up to you will lure you away, because his opinion of you is that low. This is a behavior that masks itself as high esteem, but it’s not. It’s because he has a low esteem, he is not trustworthy, he probably cheats, and he’s sure you are just like him.

  7. Alienating you from your family and friends. This is a big one. It starts out like all relationships. You are so caught up in the whirlwind of his overly romanticized notions that you spend all your time with him. So you don’t notice you aren’t around your family much. Then when you try to introduce him to your friends, he starts making negative comments about them. First, get rid of all your male friends, however innocent. He doesn’t think it’s innocent. Then your closest female friends and relatives will be criticized and picked at as ‘troublemakers.’ Who are “jealous of what you have.” No they aren’t. They’re not enamored of him and probably see him for the jerk he is. Listen to them.

  8. Conversely, you may meet very few of his friends or relatives. They may know too much and try to warn you away from him. (Or they may sit back like my MIL and just watch the lamb be led to slaughter. Her words to me, “Oh, I just figured you were some mousy thing he’d dominate.” Thanks!)

  9. He has no female friends. Because no normal woman sees him as a valuable friend. And he only sees women as sex objects. So he wouldn’t be platonic friends with anyone.

  10. Everything becomes a drama with him. An angry drama. It doesn’t start out that way in the beginning, but eventually you find yourself dreading his anger. YOUR emotional response to him is nothing to ignore. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Don’t talk yourself out of your instincts.

  1. He starts criticizing you with verbal abuse. Verbal abuse doesn’t always lead to physical abuse, but physical abuse always starts with verbal abuse.

  2. The fights end romantically and he’s really nice for a while. Then it starts up again. You begin to think of him as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You never know who is going to appear at your doorstep.

  3. His anger is all that matters. He belittles your emotions or tells you why you shouldn’t feel like you do.

  4. He pretends to read your thoughts and tell you what you are really thinking. Or what you really meant when you said something.

  5. He festers over stuff that most sane people would have dropped months ago. He keeps bringing up stuff that happened half a year ago like you just did it yesterday.

  6. After he explodes at you he feels great. Then he wants to make up immediately. He wants a hug or more. You are still shaking from his rage and his venom. He then accuses you of never being the one to try to fix things. It’s always him who makes up.

  7. He starts telling you how much happier you’d all be if YOU would do This and YOU would do That. He never does anything himself to keep the relationship going.

  8. He starts pointing out other women and telling you how easy it would be for him to get them. Or he flirts in front of you to show you how precarious your relationship could be if you don’t play your cards right.

  9. He only wants what he can’t have.

  10. This kind of often very fixated on virgins. They don’t want someone else’s cast-offs, as they would call it.

He’s one good cop/bad cop rolled into one. It’s all about him controlling you, but you soon see he wants to control everyone but himself. His goal is to break you down. But you are never more desirable than when you are walking away. Only he is allowed to break up with you. You made him look bad! He’ll make you pay for that.

That’s just an outline. I’m sure others can come up with more. But all this starts in the dating time. And yes, the long-distance factor is very important. I fell victim to that and blamed his depression and anger on the job separation. I eventually realized that the separation kept us going far longer than we should have. But we were married by then. :frowning:

This kind of guy needs to be dated for a while before you realize his game. And he will try to invalidate the opinions of anyone whom he does not get along with in your family. Stay close to your family and listen to their opinions. Don’t be defensive if you feel they are attacking him. See it as protecting you.


Oh, and I forgot the big one: Blames everyone else for his problems or mistakes. It’s always someone else’s fault. And you are responsible for his feelings. You make him angry. And he is very easily insulted.

Be careful when he wants you to be exclusively his before he hardly even knows you. By the third date demanding that you only date him is a warning sign.

(Please, gentlemen, don’t come here and tell us all about dating and how you think women who date more than one man are sleazy. Or that you can’t imagine a woman who would date more than one man at a time. You just remove yourself from our list of people we want to know. Seriously. If we barely know you, we’re not going to commit to you. It’s a matter of personal safety.)

It’s up to the man to make himself appear so excellent and trustworthy that the woman doesn’t want to date others.


So true. I just found a list, which haskilee might be interested in reading, and looked it over in order to think back about what I overlooked.
I don’t know anything about this site, but this article is good:

Mostly the only thing I missed from this list was him falling so deeply in love so quickly and pressing a commitment (which was handy for me; I was just graduating from college and starting life with a man I loved and who loved me so deeply was perfect timing, in my mind).

We had a long distance relationship and I filled in the blanks with all good things (I considered his faithfulness, long-distance, to be a great sign of his maturity and of his love for me). I was swept away with his “love”, and loved being in love, and I turned a blind eye to the small warning signs. That would include at least one incidence of him being very angry with someone. It didn’t make sense to me, so I ignored it.

Another warning sign I completely missed I found in one of his old love letters, which I reread at the time of the divorce - to answer that pressing question that had arisen for me: “What was I thinking when I chose this man??”

It was buried in one letter of many. I used to bare my soul, and he would imitate. I had complimented him on his great maturity and he wrote back to say he was “not so mature” - he said there was only one thing he did well and he had always been able to do it: “I have always been able to make anybody think anything I wanted them to think.”

I completely missed the significance of that statement, which was extremely significant. It is the code by which he lived, manipulating people, particularly me, but pretty much anybody, making them think what he wanted them to think.

So, the warning signs were there, but I was blind, like you say, Jen.

It wasn’t till after marrriage that many of the rest of the things on the above list came out. Also a great many of the things on these lists manifested themselves after marriage:

At the bottom of that last link, it says, “Your situation is critical if…” Thats just how it was for me towards the end of the marraige when I realized what had happened to me, and it probably had been that critical for many years.

I do feel that now that I have lived with controlling and verbal/emotional abuse, I would see the warning signs.

I have a friend that has really stuck by me through this whole difficult time - even though divorce, except in the case of drug abuse or severe beating, is very much looked down upon by her (and my old) Evangelical community - and even though she has a great husband. (Many in that old community of mine, particularly those with great husbands, assumed I was not accepting enough of God’s will or not longsuffering enough, without knowing what I endured inthe privacy of home. yes, in public he was normal and like to impress people, but abusors know what they are doing is wrong, thats whey they do it in secret. The judgment of those peers was particularly hurtful because I very much practiced those things, under the most difficult of circumstances, over a long period of time).

Anyway, this friend, when in college, dated a guy who turned very, very controlling, after dating a time. She knew this was wrong and wanted out. So she instictively did what the article in the first link advices:

During this part of separating from “The Loser”, you recognize what you must do and create an Exit Plan…

  • Observe the way you are treated. Watch for the methods listed above and see how “The Loser” works.
  • Gradually become more boring, talk less, share less feelings and opinions. The goal is almost to bore “The Loser” to lessen the emotional attachment, at the same time not creating a situation which would make you a target.

She thought of this on her own, and it was very wise. Because a controller does not want you controlling when the relationship ends, and you risk having a stalker on your back. If he feels he is in control of the decision, you get a clean break. And so it was. She became boring, and he got bored with her. But just before detaching completely, he asked his friend/aquaintance to “keep an eye on her for me”.

That aquaintance became her very fine husband.


P.S. (on my last post) I just had a lightbulb moment. I don’t mean to hijack this thread, so please forgive me this. But I want to type out this realization as I realize it. I think the same thing happened in my marriage as did to my friend, above, with her “loser” boyfreind. When, late in my marriage, I learned the full extent that verbal abuse played in my marraige, and its effects on me, then, with professional guidance I learned to calmly not accept it. That set up a huge void in the relationship, a crisis, because my ex was living for the “rewards” of seeing the hurt or confused look on my face. It was his addiction. When “what was in it for him” began disappearing, he began for the first time to look elsewhere. My change made that emotional bond, which was based on his control by emotional/verbal abuse, disappear.


Do you still pray for your husbands/wives?

Are there any stories on a spouse coming back and changing for good?

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