Ask Dr. Sherry: ‘My Husband Says My Daughter Drove Him Away!’

This reader’s husband won’t come home because he can’t get along with his stepdaughter. Shame on him or shame on her?

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...

Dr. Sherry,

It has been over a year since my husband and I have lived in separate homes. My husband says he wants a divorce, but his actions say otherwise. I asked him to file for divorce since I have no job and little money, but he never even filled out the paperwork. I am heartbroken because the longer he takes to initiate the divorce/dissolution I find myself getting depressed and vowing never to be with another man. I'm so confused about my options. I have no money to pay for anything. He says he only left because he and my daughter don't get along. Then he says he truly loves me and would come back if he knew he could handle the relationship with my daughter. I want my marriage, but I don't want my kids or my husband to be at war while trying to please myself.


Confused and Heartbroken

Dear Sis,

I’m sorry to say this, but your husband has already divorced you physically and emotionally. He just hasn't filed the paperwork to make it legal. He may have similar financial problems and just does not have the money to pay for it. Neither of you can use that as a real excuse for filing for a divorce.

In most states, there is process through the courts that you can file the paperwork yourself free or at very little cost. You are both playing games! It is unclear what is going on between your husband and your daughter. Whatever the issue(s), they should definitely be addressed. I seriously doubt seriously that was the main or only issue that attributed to his exit.

Him telling you that he loves you and blaming your daughter for his leaving is likely his way of keeping the door open for "benefits.” You may be providing benefits to someone who has no intentions of earning them or giving you anything in return. That may be the source of your confusion and depression.

You are giving your husband a lot of control and power over your emotions. It is time that you regroup and take control of your life. I recommend that you start with receiving individual therapy to process your feelings. Marital therapy should only be considered once you have made significant progress in individual therapy. It is time you invest in yourself. If you want something different, you must do something different. – Dr. Sherry

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