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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

Community Member
So just got home to find my wife had cleaned the house spotless and had made notes on finishing touches (lights, fittings) needed before it goes on the market. Part of me thought it was like a bluff but it's really happening. She wants to sell our awesome new house that took a lot of frustration with the builder and trades (taking trades to court).

I am so depressed.

She must really hate me to want to give the house up and move to a tiny house/unit/townhouse that is old.

I thought there might be some breathing time to see how the relationship goes but I guess when she says 'she doesn't love me anymore, she doesn't even like me and the thought of talking to me or seeing me makes her physically ill.', she is very serious.

I can't believe this is happening. My life is over.

Community Member
Hi Mary

I mentioned marriage counselling but she said I need to fix myself so I can be a good dad. She doesn't even want to try.

Hey dl23, its Sophie from the moderation team here. Just wanted to check-in with you and see how you're coping. It sounds like it was a really stressful and upsetting day for you and we're so sorry to hear this. It must be devastating to have your wife wanting to sell the house you both built together while also trying to process the state of your relationship with her. Please know that our community is here to support through this difficult time and please keep updating us on how things progress. 

We want you to know that there is always help available to you. We would recommend that you get in touch with an organisation called Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277. They provide relationship support services for individuals, families and communities and aim to support all people in Australia to achieve positive relationships. Please do feel free to contact the Beyond Blue Support Service anytime on 1300 22 4636 or get in touch with us on 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 for seeing a counsellor in a more ongoing way if this is something you feel would be beneficial.

Community Member
Thank you Sophie. I will call them on Monday when my wife goes back to work.

Community Member

It hurts, I know; that is how I felt.

If things are moving too fast; you have the right to slow things down. I assume the house is in joint names. If that is the case, she will need your agreement (signature) to sell. Don't let her pressure you into doing anything you are unhappy about. If you need more time, then take the time you need. You have a lot to discuss and a number of legally issues to sort out before the house is sold.

In some ways my separation was similar to your current situation. My wife didn't want to try and save the marriage; she had me convinced that I was the problem. Everything that she accused me of doing were the things that she had done. Somehow her bad behavior was redirected and projected back onto me. It took me a good while to realise that I was not the problem.

Getting to the point, you may not be the bad person that you think you are. You may in fact be a good father.

Just a few thoughts to get you thinking!

Community Member
Hi Mr Paul

That was a very kind post. I have said sorry probably 100 times over the past few weeks via different communications. I have been sworn at (I said I love you as she was leaving and she turned around and said '__ off'), been called a mofo, been told the sight of me or talking to me made her physically ill. She hasn't said sorry but I think she has every right to say these things after I didn't treat her properly all those years. I am being a new person and not becoming angry and aggressive. I even show very good patience with my youngest child who can be very challenging at times. I just deep breaths.

I don't know if I can tell my wife to slow down on the house sale. She basically hates me but we did agree if the price isn't right, we won't sell it. It is a buyers market at the moment and house prices are lower. Plus our house stands out in the area (way above median house prices in the area). Maybe that will slow down the sale. Hopefully our house has gone up in value as well.

I don't want to lose my wife completely, as a friend, and having to share custody. Is it a safe or very risky move to ask her to slow down the house situation?

Community Member
Sorry forgot to mention the house is in joint names.

Community Member
This is fairly typical response for when one person wants to leave the relationship.

You don't need to ask your wifes permission to slow down the house sale, it is in both your names.

You simply tell her you're not ready for this step, and you won't be agreeing to list the house at this time.

Let her chuck a hissy fit, shes already left you and treated you poorly after making her decision.

Community Member
Yeah she would get more angry. Definitely. I was going to say to her when she brings up about the real estate agent coming around, is it really a bad idea us still living with each other if we talk nicely to each other like we have been (before my last attempt at salvage)? I would say 'you look nice today' and she would say thanks or I would say 'have a nice day' and she would say the same. I mean whats the alternative if we sell:

1. Tell the kids who will be devastated
2. Live in an awesome house instead of renting something over half the size and not as nice (swim in the pool in spring if we're still here). Might show her how happy the kids are as a selling point.
3. Time heals all wounds. Maybe something might shift eg.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear dl23

I'm so sorry you find yourself in this situation. You have so many concerns which are valid concerns.... to you.

Clearly your wife has made up her mind and has the right to separation and divorce. Nowadays neither spouse need give reasons for why they want to separate or divorce but she has. And you've listened. That's really good that you've heard her now, but she does seem determined to follow through.

This is something out of your control.

Echoing Mr Paul's advice, I urge you to at least hear a lawyer's perspective on this. IT'S VERY IMPORTANT you get legal advice. The last thing you want is her coming back in 5y for any further assets or Supers you accumulated - it happens. It needs to be a DONE DEAL.

The big new house is not nearly as important to your wife as it is to you because she is keen to sell asap.

If you both DO share care for the children in a 50/50 fashion then all assets would be divided down the middle including Supers, I understand of Family Law.

It's wise NOT to continue living in the same home if 1 spouse is trying to move on and the other is trying to hold on. Tempers can flare so easily as you've already seen.

If I were you, I would be pleasant to her. Be kind to the children (I can see you're working on this very well!).

Read "the 180" which is a set of amazing actions designed to help get yourself "together" in preparation for your new life (be it apart or together).

The Gray Rock technique is also an excellent set of tools to help YOU by putting up some respectful boundaries.

I would also book Counselling for myself only. AFTER the first session if you decide to continue with this Counsellor, you can leave a short note telling your wife you are in Counselling, if you want to.
Seeking Counselling is very important for your own support moving forward.
You do not have to disclose the name of your Counsellor. OR that you've spoken to a lawyer.

IMHO I would DO exactly what "separation" looks like now. Decide on every 2nd weekend and do EVERYTHING with the kids on "your" weekend. Go out with your friends on YOUR week off.
You can Register your separation date with Centrelink and receive 50% Parenting Payments if you guys qualify, even whilst living in the same house.

Whitegoods, furniture etc? 50%.

It's time for a change of "tactics".

I wish you well.