Dear Dr. Romance:

I've been reading some of the articles on your web site and thought I would take a chance here.  My wife and I are in the process of getting a divorce. She is divorcing me because she claims she fell out of love with me and no longer wants to be tied down. We have 2 children ages 8 and 10.  Next week the kids are off from school for the week because of vacation. I took the week off to be with them.

The problem for me is I have to spend the majority of my time with them at my old house that I lived in with my wife and kids. I'll be losing the home in the divorce and it hurts to stay there with the kids. I live with my father at the moment and he just doesn't really have the room for me to take them for the entire week. My wife and I talk quite a bit about things and she is the only one that wants the divorce. I'm trying to figure out ways to be able to make the marriage still work but feel like I am fighting a losing battle. I'm hoping maybe with me being back at the house even temporarily that it may bring back some feelings for her. As I said, she just doesn't want to be married but I can't come up with any arguments for her to want to stay. We still have to deal with each other constantly because of the kids. What can I do to give her reason to believe in us again?

We are at the point right now where we will probably have to sell the home because neither of us can come up with enough to buy the other out of the equity in the house.  I'm torn. Part of me says why try and stay with someone that clearly doesn't want me anymore? She claims there was never that crazy in love feeling. Yet she still wants to have sex with me on occasion and do things together with her and the kids. I did love her but now I'm like what am I fighting for anymore. Losing the house, her and the security of family life that I charish so much.

Yet there is something inside of me that wants this to work out. We've been discussing the relationship but she's been pretty much content to be on her own. I can see why because I spend Tuesday night, Wednesday night, and Friday thru Saturday with the kids. I pay half of my take home pay to the household to help support her and the kids and the dogs. Plus I still have to pay for where I am staying at. She doesn't want to lose the house and disrupt the kids anymore than they already have been but my stance on that is the kids have already been disrupted and its better to change things drastically for them now than when they get older and can't deal with the changes as well. She won't do counseling cause she doesn't believe in it and I am at a loss for what to do. I don't want to stay where I'm not wanted and I don't feel I should lose out on everything I have worked for in the last ten + years just to make her happy and make her decision to divorce easier on her. I'm not trying to hurt the kids so how do I protect myself and them at the same time?

Dear Reader:

I'm sorry to hear about your divorce.  Instead of trying to persuade your wife, try listening very deeply to her instead.  Women tend to want divorces when they feel the man they love doesn't care or understand.  I'm betting that's the problem here.  Before you can solve the problem, you have to find out what the problem really is. What is it about being married to you that she doesn't want?  So, brace yourself, and spend some time listening to her.  Let her complain about you without getting defensive or making excuses.  Just repeat back to her what you hear her saying.  Listening to her doesn't mean you agree, or that she's right, but it will give you a clear idea of what would have to change for her to be interested in keeping the marriage going.   If your wife won't go for counseling, why not go yourself, and get some coaching about how to deal with the problems in a more constructive way.  In my experience, when one spouse goes in for counseling, the other soon wants to come in, too.   "Guidelines for Finding and Using  Therapy Wisely"  will help you find a good counselor.

How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together can help you fix what's wrong with your marriage.

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For low-cost counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.