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How do you know when your marriage is done?

Community Member
Hello. I am currently navigating a broken marriage where my husband has told me he hates me, wants to see me hurt, and wants a divorce. The catalyst for this is his behaviour towards and with another woman that was/is borderline cheating. None of it he sees is wrong. But of course I carried on about it in hopes that he would see I was not ok with it and that it was hurting me. Unfortunately, I carried on too much (and I did do some wrong things), which has resulted in him wanting me out of his life. For the best part of a year now I have gone hard core in making personal changes, and have been working hard towards bettering our marriage. But it is all fruitless. He doesn't care about me (has said as much), and doesn't want anything to change. But he is not actively working towards a divorce. And the most confusing thing is that sometimes he says he loves me, and does kind things for me. He seems to be a Jekyl and Hyde. I am aware that he too is processing some of the mean things I said and did. And I have given him space for that, but how much space is enough?? In no way am I a victim. But I am also a changed person. But it is too late because he is done. But if he is done, why doesn't he just go ahead and sign the piece of paper that will give him freedom from me? I am not quite sure what question I am asking here, perhaps just need a forum to express. I guess I am looking to see what you would do in this situation. Do I keep trying to work on me and the marriage? Or do I give up? We have been married nearly 18 years and have a child, so it's not clear cut. If a man is done with a marriage, is that really truly the end? I want to hope, but I think I have reached a point of 'done' as well. Thanks for reading.
8 Replies 8

Community Member

Hello puzzlegirl,
Sounds like a tricky situation. I shall give my advice, but I must warn I am biased towards preserving marriage and family bonds where possible unless a partner is physically or psychologically abusive.
Firstly, do you think he knows exactly how you feel? About him, his Jekyll & Hyde behaviour, the effort you have made to change to make the marriage work? Some people need things explained really clearly to grasp what's going on. (I am one of these people for reasons unknown...) If you open up he may do the same and you may discover he has feelings you didn't know about. I can't remember what my second point was going to be ;-D
I'm not able to log on very often, so I apologise in advance if you reply and don't hear back from me.

Yana xo

Thanks Yana. Actually I am all for preserving marriage, which is why I have pulled out all the stops to make this thing work. Divorce for me was never an option. But nothing I do is working. He is 100% clear on where I am at, he knows my feelings, but he is still just 'done'. And, he has said he just doesn't care how I feel. When I say that he has realised he actually wants to hurt me, he is bordering on verbal abuse. He is intentionally making choices of words or actions that see me recoil with hurt. This opening up is a good thing. Which ironically has led us to this place- he is now comfortable to just get off his chest all of his feelings about me. It's just unfortunate all of these feelings are hurtful ones. Today I am walking around pretty numb. I want to give up. Not on life, just on this particular sphere of it. Thanks for your advice.

Hi puzzlegirl, 

We are sorry to hear that things have been so difficult in your relationship. We can hear that you've been asking yourself some tough questions and understand how awful this can feel. Please know  that you never have to go through this alone, and support is always here for you.

If you would like to talk to someone, the Beyond Blue Support Service is available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport  One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.

We would recommend that you get in touch with an organisation called Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 who provide relationship support services for individuals, families and communities.

We hope that you will find some comfort here on the forums. Please feel free to keep reaching out here on your thread whenever you feel up to it.

Hi, welcome

I see Yana and Sophie have already replied.

I think this situation and my thoughts about it depends on those things you admitted doing "Unfortunately, I carried on too much (and I did do some wrong things), which has resulted in him wanting me out of his life"

SSomethings we humans do is unforgivable to some, others accept these actions as normal during disputes.


Thanks white knight. And that's a fair call. I place it within the context of a normal response to unfaithfulness. And in no way do I excuse my behaviour. I was jealous, angry, upset. And none of my feelings were heard or understood. Bottom line is that he is emotionally disconnected, and I am no longer someone he finds attractive in his life because I tried too hard to explain my feelings about his unfaithfulness. It sent him into withdrawal, and there is nothing that will bring him back. I swing between justifying his response to me, and feeling angry that I was never heard. I daily feel regret for my actions, as well as defeated that my own hurts have never been acknowledged. I feel betrayed that he continues in something that is clearly not healthy for our marriage, and knowing it hurts me. And a large part of his turning away from me is that he has turned towards her. While ever she exists in his world I think, there is no hope for us. To him my actions seem unforgivable, and perhaps in some ways I see his actions as much the same. Totally appreciate you bringing some balance here.

That's really mature of you.

I don't know if it helps but, I would, in your situation, choose to separate, then see what happens. I think if you leave, find temporary accommodation and keep really busy, visit friends etc if he has love for you he'll show it.

This is a testing time, forgiveness is stretched to the limit...the slightest chance of it working out isn't IMO likely in the current situation without a clear slate that might initiate a fresh start.


That's some good advice, and I think it honestly is what I have been leaning towards anyway. I feel everything is just too tangled, and nothing will be resolved in the current situation. There are just too many triggers for both of us. Everything is raw, and there is no soft place to land. I like the idea of a clean slate- I guess I need to work through how that can be achieved practically speaking. Thanks.

Hello Puzzlegirl, I was going to suggest as Tony has, in perhaps separating, then the two of you will perhaps be able to sort out your marriage.

We all react differently to situations we aren't happy with and because of what has happened, you understandably reacted the way you did, which he didn't accept because he sees no harm in seeing another person, contrary to his marriage vows and that's where the problem begins.

Spend some time away from each other, then that will clear your mind on whether or not you want a divorce because you can't keep loving a person if they have this intention in mind of seeing other people behind your back.

Best wishes.