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Ask Dr. Sherry: Should I Reconcile With My Husband for Our Kids’ Sake?

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Dr Sherry Profile Two

You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...

Q: Doc, I have been married to this man for close to 12 years now but we have spent the last four separated because of his infidelity and meddling from his family and friends. When I left him, I was sure that I wanted a divorce and even began the process. But lately, I have been unsure of whether or not to go through with the divorce. He lives in another country now, but he was here a few weeks ago acting as though he was ready to reconcile also. He was nice to the kids and my family. Now my family thinks I am the one with the problem. He left me confused. I am no longer certain that I want a divorce. I have told him as much on the phone but he did not respond. He has kept silent, which he always does. I don't know how to proceed now. I have two kids from this marriage, ages 9 and 6. I worry that growing up without a dad will harm them. Please advise! -- Undecided


A:
After 12 years of marriage, with four of those years being separated, it seems quite clear that you are being played. You say that you separated because of his infidelity and his family and friends “meddling.” While your husband lives in another country, you are left with the responsibility of raising your two children alone. Do you really worry that growing up without a dad will harm them? Wake up call time: They are already growing up without a dad.

It is quite clear that you no longer have a marriage to hold on to. You may be legally married, but it is more than apparent that he is emotionally divorced from you. The fact that he drops in every now and then is just an indication that he is trying to keep you hanging on a string. If you legally divorce him, it could mean child support and other financial responsibilities from him that he may be avoiding or not willing to take on right now. As long as you are not legally divorced, he has the best of both worlds. Given this, what would be the incentive for him agreeing to a divorce?

It is highly likely that he has another life in another country that may not include you or your two children. The fact that he dropped in as if he was on a drive-by visit apparently gave you false hope that he was ready to reconcile. When he did not respond when you mentioned that you were not sure you still wanted a divorce that was another wake-up call you missed. It was a clear indication that he has no intentions of changing the current situation. But really, why should he? You have accepted the responsibility of being a single married woman. It’s time to put an end to that. -- Dr. Sherry

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