I’ve decided to divorce my husband, but I’m worried about him

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female civil servant in my 50s. I have decided to run away from my husband, to whom I have been married for almost 30 years.

My husband does not tolerate any words or actions that are different from his own ideas, not even from me or even our child. There have been times when he has lost his temper and thrown things, but I kept getting down on my knees and apologizing.

Since he started his own business about 20 years ago, he has not provided any money for living expenses and has been financially dependent on me.

My child has repeatedly asked me to move out and get a divorce from him, but I have put up with it.

However, since last year, he has not been making payments on our home loan. When I mention it, he always lashes out and takes it out on everything around him.

When he lost his temper and broke things that were important to our child, I finally made up my mind. I sought advice from a counseling service on domestic violence. After being advised to move out as soon as possible, I started making preparations.

However, I am very worried about my husband’s future. I feel so guilty about leaving him behind that I stop and cry every day. Please reassure me that I am making the right decision.

— N

Dear Ms. N:

You’ve done well to pull yourself together and consult an expert. You are just one breath away. Please be strong and keep going.

As a family that has lived together for over a quarter of a century, it is natural for you to worry about your husband’s future. But worry and guilt are two very different emotions.

Why do you feel guilty when you’ve been under the control of tremendous fear for so long? If you don’t know the reason, you are in danger of going back to the way things were.

You say your husband has been dependent on you, but I think maybe you’ve been thinking that it was your role to take care of your husband. You may have thought that you could not live without him as well.

I think your child intuitively knows that you are also in some ways part of the cause of your husband’s aggravation.

Your husband’s upbringing may have influenced him to think that he can manipulate people with verbal abuse and violence. However, this is a problem that your husband has to face on his own, and not something you can solve for him.

There is no such thing as an easy divorce. Be prepared to face some unfavorable things that could happen as a result of your actions. Only the future is on your side.

— Hazuki Saisho, writer