My Wife Seems Determined to Divorce Me and I don’t really Blame Her

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a man in his 70s and my wife has asked me for a divorce. She said that my personality is the reason she wants a divorce and I certainly am quite selfish.

When we got married, I would violently lash out at her for little things, causing her to leave me and move back in with her family. It was only after I wrote a pledge to no longer be violent that she agreed to come back to me. Even then, we quarreled over minor things because I had no desire to work hard to build a happy family and I couldn’t understand my wife’s feelings.

She would often tell me that I valued my relatives more than her and our family, and at the time, I didn’t understand what was so wrong with valuing them both. I hadn’t realized that I should have put my wife’s needs first and I regret that I didn’t. But it seems that realization came too late.

I had hoped that we would always live together, even if we didn’t get along, but she is determined to divorce me. When I think of the loneliness ahead, I am at a loss as to how to live my life.

— I, Osaka Prefecture

Dear Mr. I:

The phrase “You reap what you sow” is a perfect summation of this situation. I can’t even bring myself to find any words of sympathy for you, let alone comfort.

Your wife has given you “the yellow light,” so to speak, a number of times before, warning you about your terrible behavior. But you never heeded those warnings. You’ve always taken your wife’s presence for granted, so you never showed any thoughtfulness or caring. Frustration, anger and sadness must have quietly settled in the depths of your wife’s heart.

I don’t believe that this was an impulsive decision, but one that she has carried with her for decades in preparation for this day. I would go so far as to guess that she has also been steadily saving money and has probably found a place to live.

I’m sure that there are things she wants to do with her life, and even if you were to go to her and make some speech about how remorseful you are, it wouldn’t be enough to shake her resolve.

How you live your life from now on is up to you. In the meantime, what you need to do is faithfully comply with the divorce procedures, such as the distribution of property, so that you don’t further trouble your wife. This is your way of making amends. Be sure to express your heartfelt gratitude and appreciation and list every reason you feel that way. The time you spend doing that may change your way of life and become a source of support for you in the future.

—Hazuki Saisho, writer