My daughter slapped with divorce papers after 3 months

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 60s and I’m worried about my daughter, who is in her late 30s.

My daughter married a man in his early 40s last autumn. They have been living together for just over three months, but out of the blue, her husband slapped her with divorce papers, telling her to sign and submit them, she said.

According to my daughter, the husband spent two of those three months back at his parents’ house, saying he wanted to be alone and think. Cited as reasons for the divorce were that my daughter wouldn’t watch TV with him or that she wasn’t around for him.

Her husband wanted to have a dual-income home. Though he comes home earlier than my daughter, he told her to make sure to prepare his dinner before she goes to work so he can eat as soon as he gets home.

Being obedient and diligent, my daughter has been doing what she was told. From what I’ve seen, it was obvious she was living an awkward life, but I refrained from interfering.

Does she have no choice but to sign the divorce papers? She wants to sit down and discuss the matter with her husband so they can start over again.

—T, Hyogo Prefecture

Dear Ms. T:

No matter how old your children are, it is always painful to see them suffer. It’s worse when they become adults because you know that you shouldn’t interfere.

Your daughter is now probably trying to figure out what she did wrong and hoping to start over, if she can. But unfortunately, from what I read in your letter, I can’t help but think that her husband never once had the heart to embrace your daughter as his life partner.

He told his wife, who comes home later than him, to prepare dinner for him, blamed his divorce on the fact that she didn’t watch TV with him and, finally, spent most of their married life at his parents’ house. Was he expecting his wife to play the role of a mother?

You’ve been following the situation so you must have already been aware that signing the divorce papers is up to your daughter. However, I believe she is too hurt to make a proper decision after being treated so badly by her husband.

Your daughter needs time to take care of herself so she can calmly reflect on his behavior toward her —whether it was acceptable — and also have the strength to be justifiably angry.

I think what you can do now for your daughter is to tell her to take care of herself and not to worry about him one bit.

—Masami Ohinata, university president