Dear Coleen

I’ve been with my wife for 10 years and it was a second marriage for both of us.

At first the relationship was really passionate and we shared the same dreams. I suppose things have been a bit mundane over the past couple of years, but I still thought we were good.

A few weeks ago we went out for a drink and she dropped the bombshell that she wanted a divorce.

I was completely blindsided by it.

She claims there’s no one else involved, but thinks we’ve grown apart and want different things now.

She’s become very successful in her job and is very focused on it, while my career has just meandered on. Maybe she thinks I’ve lost my ambition – I don’t know. Perhaps she’s got to where she wants to in life and doesn’t need me any more.

She’s moved out to stay with her sister while we sort things out. We each have a child from our previous marriages, but they’re away at university. They seem OK, but also shocked by the news of the split.

I’ve begged her to give it another chance as I still love her and want to be with her, but she refuses to discuss it.

She just says she’s upset, too, but it’s what she wants and she’s sorry.

Any advice?

Coleen says

It’s tough – break-ups are devastating whatever side of the fence you’re on.

I’m sure your wife is upset too, but she feels differently about the ­relationship now and has made her mind up. At least she’s not giving you false hope – you know where you stand.

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Yes, it’s going to hurt. There’s no magic bullet for avoiding the fallout but the bottom line is, you can’t make someone love you and want to stay with you.

I think what’s ­frustrating for you is that her reasons for divorce are a bit vague – it doesn’t sound as if she’s gone into much detail, so perhaps you can get her to sit down with you and give you a proper explanation.

That might help you to get your head around it and make it easier to move forward. You could also suggest having some counselling sessions, not to try to repair the marriage, but to work through how you got here and help manage the separation.

And even if she won’t agree to that, have therapy on your own. It helped me when my first marriage ended.

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