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Marriage breakup + kids

Community Member


So my wife and I met in high school and have been together for 24 years, married for 14 years. Over the past 8 years or so (after second child, now 😎 was born, we have had some ups and downs. I would just sometimes have a go at her about random stuff; money, clothes or food. Then she would try and talk to me and I was too pigheaded and wouldn't really listen.

Now the time has come where she has had enough and wants to sell our new and amazing house, separate into smaller houses/units and rent. We share the custody of our two kids. I am really scared about telling the kids and don't think I can be there for that process. They will be devastated.

I have been trying to say sorry to my wife via emails, text, chatting, video montages and poems but she tells me to stop and that she doesn't love me anymore. She said as I keep hassling her about getting back together, she doesn't even like me and the thought of talking to me or seeing me makes her physically ill. She also said that because I am making her angry, the shared custody will be so much harder.

I have been trying to show her over the past few weeks the new me. I have been calm, positive (as best I can in this situation) and more composed. I would sometimes shout at the kids for being silly but now I use a calm voice always (even when they test my patience).

I haven't been sleeping much and not eating hardly at all for 5 days (lost 4.5kg), due to being nauseous and anxious.

We have just communicated over email and she doesn't even want me to talk to her anymore or make dinner or hot drinks. I responded with I would like to keep doing it. I told her I still love her and apologise a lot for making her angry, when that is not my intention.

I am really scared of not being with her anymore and not living her. I love her so much, even when she verbally attacks me and says she doesn't love me anymore.

I can't rely on my parents as they are away and my wife and my parents never really got along. They kind of caused a lot of the tension and some of the reasons we fought.

How am I going to get through this?

927 Replies 927

Hi dl23,

Welcome to our friendly online forums. We are so grateful that you have reached out here tonight as we know it can be tough to do this for the first time. We are so sorry to hear about what has happened between you and your wife. It sounds like this must be feeling so overwhelming to cope with, as your wife has been such a big part of your life for such a long time. Please know that you do not have to go through this alone, many in our community have had similar experiences and will be able to understand what you're going through. Hopefully a few of them will pop by and offer you some words of kindness and advice.

If you'd like to talk these feelings through, please know that our Support Service is available 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or you can get in touch through Webchat 3pm-12am AEST here: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport One of the friendly counsellors can offer you some support but also provide you with advice and referrals if this is something that you might find helpful.

You might also be interested in reaching out to our friends at MensLine Australia, which is a free 24/7 telephone and online counselling service for men to be able to talk about emotional health and relationship concerns. You can contact them anytime on 1300 78 99 78, or you can get in touch at https://mensline.org.au/

Please also feel free to keep us updated here on your thread whenever you feel up to it - we hope that you find this to be a safe and non-judgemental space.

Community Member
Hey dl23 it's a really hard situation I was with my partner for 10 years married for 6 and been separated for 7 months and have 2 kids and 3 step kids I did similar stuff at the start to try win her back but it wasn't what the relationship needed, truthfully I had to remind her why she was important as a person and a mother and not try be her partner but be her friend especially for the kids, we are still separated but are good friends unfortunately the kids would of seen the arguments and stuff whilst you were together and it's not healthy I grew up in that environment I would have 2 happy separated parents over a bad together family any day, basically need to work out if you would rather keep pushing her away or becoming her friend and having her in your life regardless of the title as a partner

Community Member
Hi Mske85

Thank you very much for the reply and insight. This is all very scary for me. I have known my wife since I was 14. I love her so much and it hurts seeing her and not being able to do anything.

She is organising for the house to be put on the market. Fingers crossed it takes a while. Our house is pretty expensive for the area so it may be hard to sell.

I am really scared of living by myself and lonely when the kids aren't with me. I am scared for when the kids are told this. They are 8 and 12.

I also will have to come up with money for all new appliances and furniture.

I can't believe this is happening. I can't imagine not loving my wife, even if hypothetically she did something really bad to hurt me.

Community Member
Hi Mske85

Good to hear your situation is going well. Do you and your ex wife get together with the kids for special events or do you go to each others houses for family dinners or anything?

I don't think I could handle my wife with another partner in the future. It would devastate me.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello di23

I'm not sure how much help I can give you. This is my experience of separation. You sound very much like my ex who I left 20 years ago. Yes he had lots of good points but liked to put me down especially in front of others. At first it was hard for me to cope on my own when I moved out and built a house. I always knew that if I went back I would never leave again as it was such a shattering experience. I also felt the situation would not improve and would likely get worse. That alone was enough to keep me separated.

I see him at family gatherings, grandchildren's birthday parties etc. It was very hard to start with and I tried not to speak to him. It's easier these days and we talk quite amicably about various things. He still tries to bully me but not as much as before and I think he has realised the rest of the family have seen through his ploys. I am not saying you deliberately bully your wife but this is how it may well come across. It's the same when you shout at the children. I can see you are trying to change your ways which is a great start.

I wanted to go to marriage counselling with him but he said no because there was nothing wrong with him. There are reasons why he behaved in this fashion, and continues to do, and I understand these. However I feel it's not an excuse to treat me in the way he did.

I suspect the more you try to persuade your wife to stay together the more irritated she will become. I expect she made her decision some time ago after much thought. Whether or not it was a good decision I cannot say as everyone is different. Have you moved out of your marital home?

Mske45 has made some good points about trying to help as a friend not trying to win her back as a spouse. You may well get together again but I think a great deal will have to change before that. You need to take responsibility as a parent and friend. Help your wife sell the house, make sure you are present when you both tell the children you are separating. I know it will be difficult for you but it will also be difficult for your wife. Letting her carry the load on her own does not demonstrate that you have changed. Text messages etc and protestations of love are not what is required at the moment. Try working together to separate and you may find that down the track a little way you can reunite.

I also suggest you try marriage counselling. Go to Relationships Australia and get some help there. At the very least it demonstrates willingness.


Community Member
Hi Mary

Thanks for the support and information you provided. Oh and also providing your story. Yeah my wife said it was like I was beating her but it was with emotional abuse. I will talk to her this morning and tell her I want us to be good friends and I would rather talk to her than not talk to her. I will tell her I will always love her, support her and care for her no matter what. We are going to be renting close to each other due to kids school and sporting in similar area (I hope doesn't steal the houses I am looking at down the track - haha).
We are still under the same roof but we have been talking normally, until I approach and ask her if we can talk about 'it'. She shuts me down straight away. The house is being looked at by real estate agent today as we need to finish garden off. Such a shame it is brand newly built two storey house with a pool, grass and electric car gate and pedestrian gate. Now we are going to live in small little houses which we hated living in before (that's why we built this awesome house). That in it's self will be depressing.

Community Member

G'day dl23

I don't have a lot to add on the emotional issues that you are going through; but I can relate to the nausea, the anxiety and the sleep loss.

My wife of 30 years did the same to me; for no real reason that I can identify. When I tried to discuss the issues all I got was a bunch of excuses that did not make a lot of sense. It was as if she was talking about a completely different relationship; it was as if she was reading from a playbook - "How to Divorce you Husband and Win".

We both agreed to go to marriage counselling but that ended abruptly when my wife said the counsellor was "not doing it right". I can only guess that the marriage became too much of an inconvenience (commitment) after I retired.

In your posts, you mentioned a few things that started to ring alarm bell in my head.

1) "She also said that because I am making her angry, the shared custody will be so much harder."

2) "She is organising for the house to be put on the market."

3) "The house is being looked at by real estate agent today as we need to finish garden off"

I would suggest that you hold off on the sale of the house until, a property settlement and a parenting plan has been agreed too. Any informal arrangement about property and parenting will mean nothing once the law gets involved. At the very least, I would suggest that you get legal advice before selling the house.

You might want to separate amicably, but you wife may not. Her attitude would suggest the latter.

Just a few practical things to think about, if you have not already done so.

Community Member
Hi Mr Paul

Thanks for the advice and sorry to hear about your situation. We might make no profit or very little. She said everything will be halved and she will give me the bank details for any outstanding personal loans. Also have to pay for half of private school fees which is fine. We won't need a lawyer. It will be fair. Custody will be shared. I will have them for school holidays and do school pickups as well as do sports on weekend. There is no issue with our kids. I will talk to her about the legal advice and lawyers to settle it. We should be able to do it equally. I will get stuck with paying for new furniture, bedding, appliances and my car loan that we did share cost for. We payed her car off last year but said it's now my car only when house sells (she wants her name taken off the loan).

Community Member

"We won't need a lawyer".

If you can come an agreement about property, child maintenance, a parenting plan, and spousal maintenance (if necessary) this is the best way of doing it; kudos to you and your wife; that is the best approach by far.

That being said, the agreement(s) that you reach should be formalised by a legal document - for that, you will need a lawyer. I say this because any informal agreement you reach will mean nothing if the lawyers get involved years down the track.

There are many dangers to an informal settlement; this is why you should seek legal advice before selling the house.

Here is a link that you might find helpful. Many lives have be turned upside down by a legal challenge to property settlement 10 to 20 years "out of time".


I know that this is something that you don't want to think about; especially if you think the separation will be amicable.

Many family law specialists will give you a free 30-60 minute first consultation. I will cost nothing to get some good advice.

All the best on your long journey.