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'My husband asked for a divorce, then changed his mind hours later.' MAJORLY UPDATED

'My husband asked for a divorce, then changed his mind hours later.' MAJORLY UPDATED


Experiencing emotional whiplash from a partner is an awful feeling, and sometimes, you need outside perspectives to absorb the full scope of what happened.

In a popular post on the Relationship Advice subreddit, a woman shared her saga of emotional whiplash with her husband. She wrote:

"My (23F) husband (25M) asked for a divorce, then changed his mind hours later."

Background: we've been together for two years, married for one. We're both in our early twenties. The night of the bulls**t we'd had an argument about the distribution of chores that I think triggered it. I thought it wasn't fair that I was doing the majority of the housework, on top of being a full time student at university and having a job.

He seemed to think the chore distribution was fair and that I was overreacting. We came to a solution after all the bullshit I'm about to tell you about occurred, but essentially I was feeling overwhelmed and unheard and he was feeling stressed and confused as to why I thought this was a problem.

Later that night we're discussing the situation again, and I express how it feels like he's not listening to me and how distant he's been lately. Then he says there's a reason for the distance and I ask him to tell me why. He says that he thinks we moved too fast, he doesn't know who he is, and he wants a divorce. He says he cares about me, but doesn't love me. And that he's been feeling this way for a while.

Now, I've promised myself since years ago that I would never try to make someone stay with me if they don't want to. So, as much as this hurt, I said okay. I cried, he cried. I did ask if he wanted to try couples therapy before divorcing but he said no. We decided to sort out details in the morning, I grabbed some blankets to sleep on the couch and he went upstairs to bed.

In the midst of my sitting on the couch crying and looking up apartments, what felt like hours later, I hear him get up and come to the living room. He sits down next to me and just says "I f&*ked up so bad". I freeze when I hear this, because I've barely processed the reality of what just happened and I can already see where he's going next.

I ask him to elaborate and he says he doesn't want a divorce, that he doesn't know why he said that and he's feeling the most regret he's ever experienced in his life. He says that he realizes he f#$ked up and I don't have to take him back. At this point, I've experienced so much emotional whiplash that I've completely numbed out. I'd already cried all the tears I could.

Now was just sitting there next to my sobbing husband and saying I'd take him back even though I'd barely processed the fact that he'd wanted to divorce me. I told him I wanted couples counseling and for him to get individual therapy and he agreed. I've asked him about individual therapy in the past but he never wanted to until now. It's days later now.

I've gone through all the stages of being mad at him, depressed that my marriage almost ended, insecure about myself, accepting the reality, feeling love for him, feeling numb. Cycling through all these emotions over and over again at random. We're searching for a couples counselor but a lot of them have wait-list right now.

So in the meantime I just want to know, if anyone has been in a similar situation: does it get better? Does the trust ever come back? I feel like I can't trust him at all now. When he touches me I freak out sometimes because that's not the comforting feeling I'm used to when he touches me, it's the feeling like he's suffocating me.

I want to be here for him and help him through whatever mental shit he's going through. But this has been affecting my work and my school, I left my dream school for him. I can't just keep prioritizing him above everything else when he clearly doesn't do the same for me.

And yet until now he was doing the same for me, he's always been so sweet buying me flowers making dinner going out of his way to make time for us. And before you scream ab*se please know I've been in ab*sive relationships before and they felt nothing like this. He's not like those guys this is the first time he's ever done something like this. I just don't know how we can recover.

Any advice about how to get through this would be appreciated.

TL;DR: husband asked for a divorce then changed his mind hours later. I don't know how to ever trust him again.

The internet had a lot to say in response.

fraidycat wrote:

This is why I don't think people should get married in their early 20s. Your brains are still developing.

OP responded:

I used to think the same. We were going to wait longer but we had to get married to get him a visa to live with me while I attended my dream school, which I gave up for him later on. I regret leaving that school, I just thought there would be other opportunities and he loved me so what could go wrong.

thiscametomeinadream wrote:

He was def talking to the side piece that rejected him while you cried yourself to sleep and then came back to you faking he was sorry, he didn't know who he was, didn't even want to try therapy but one second to another he does?

I don't think so. And even if he wasn't cheating, you don't treat someone you love like that and scream divorce over a minor disagreement that would've been solved with just peaceful conversation or the already mentioned couples therapy.

OP responded:

There's no signs of him cheating. I checked his phone, and we share locations already for safety reasons and he hasn't been anywhere suspicious.

hedbryl wrote:

You two are really young. The odds are so stacked against you that I can't see this working, given he's already almost divorced you. I would recommend marriage therapy, which you're already trying to get into. If it's a long wait, find someone healthy you can turn to. A religious leader, your wedding officiant, an older married couple who you're both comfortable with, your parents, whomever.

Find someone to help you talk through these issues asap. Secondly, prepare for your marriage to fail. Because the odds aren't good. That means wait to have children until your marriage has been stable for at least a year. Graduate your degree program.

Pour yourself into your career so you can support yourself. Do not make any big sacrifices for this marriage - don't move for his career, don't get your tubes tied if he doesn't want kids, no big sacrifices. You'll still make daily sacrifices - that's marriage - but don't sacrifice anything that's difficult to come back from.

OP responded:

Pouring myself into school/work is definitely my priority right now. I'm done always putting his needs before my own.

Naive-Selection-7113 wrote:

My wife and I went through some awful terrible "why don't you guys just split" stuff, but we made a promise to each other with our premarital councilor after he taught us this:

"You never say the D-word unless you mean it because once you say it, you can never really take it back. You will always remember it as an option. You can always run or threaten or taunt with it. The day it becomes a household word, everything you worked for is dead, and one of you needs to leave. Don't say it even once if you don't mean it."

Now was he being wildly hyperbolic, yes, did it help us get through the worst of things, also yes. I am not saying your marriage is over but the person you pour all you love and care into told you ...

"He says he cares about me but doesn't love me. And that he's been feeling this way for a while."

And I don't see the way past this statement. I had days where I didn't like my wife, but I've never had one in 11 years of marriage where I didn't love her. She is my world and will always be I wish you nothing but happiness and fulfillment OP. Big 🫂 hugs💙

A year later, OP jumped on with an update.

One year ago I (24F) made a post asking for advice on how to continue with my relationship after my (now-ex) husband (26M) betrayed my trust by telling me he wanted a divorce out of the blue and then changing his mind just a couple hours later. As stated above, he is now my ex. Those of you who said that he would repeat the same behavior again, you were right.

On New Years Day 2024 he said he wanted a divorce, packed a bag and left to a motel, then came back hours later. I'll admit, I was a wreck that day. I asked him if this was just going to be like last time and he said no. I asked him if he felt mentally okay and he said he felt fine. I got on my knees and begged this man to stay (not my proudest moment) and he looked at me with empty, vacant eyes and just left.

I was in tears for a couple hours, but then I opened this app to try to distract myself and saw he had made a (now-deleted please don't go looking for his account) post on the divorce subreddit about how he left me and felt bad but didn't regret it. Then I went from depressed to furious.

I called my landlord and told him that I was getting a divorce and needed his help in changing the locks. My landlord was very understanding and helped me do so. A few hours later I heard a knock on the door and when I opened it my ex-husband was standing there, I didn't even get a chance to tell him to leave because he immediately collapsed into my arms sobbing.

The first coherent words to come out of his mouth were "you're not gonna take me back are you?" Reddit, I would love to say that I rejected him right then, but I didn't. Even after all of this I was still hooked into his web of manipulation.

So instead I sat down with him and had a long discussion about how much he hurt me, how in the middle of working to rebuild the trust that had been broken between us he completely destroyed any progress that had been made and found a way to make that distrust even worse. I don't remember the details of what he said, but he always knew what to say to get me to feel sorry for him.

The night ended with me saying I would take him back. He was smiling, saying he'd never felt so hopeful, he wrote me a love poem that night for the first time in years. Meanwhile I had never felt so broken, and I told him that after he said he felt so hopeful. He shrugged it off and said I'd feel better in the morning. I did not, in fact, feel better in the morning.

During the next few days while I was trying to pick myself back up, study for finals, and continue going to work as if nothing was wrong, he went back and forth every day on whether or not he loved me, whether or not he wanted to be married to me. He said he thought he loved the idea of being a husband more than he loved me.

My last straw was when I reached out to one of his childhood friends, who I had interacted with a few times and though I could trust to be honest with me, and asked him if he had ever noticed any red flags in my ex-husband's behavior in his past relationships or behavior towards women in general. This friend assured me that he had never noticed anything of the sort.

I thanked him and asked if he could please not tell ex-husband I asked that since I was afraid of what he might do. When my ex-husband came home from work that day I could immediately tell he knew. He opened the front door so forcefully. He sat down on the couch next to me, told me he knew, and said in a low and almost growling tone of voice "But I know you didn't mean any harm by it."

I was frozen in fear and couldn't say anything, but then he grabbed my face and turned my head to look at him and his eyes looked so cold, and he said again "You didn't mean any harm by it right?" I nodded and forced myself to answer "right."

And I knew in that moment this man would k*ll me if I didn't find a way out of this relationship, if I didn't k*ll myself first with how bad my mental health was getting after dealing with him insulting and belittling me day after day. I was genuinely starting to spiral into a dark place I hadn't been to in years.

The next day while he was at work I packed a bag, wrote a note telling him I'm leaving and that I want his stuff out of the house when I get back, left the note on the counter with my ring and spent the night at my mom's. It is an uncontested divorce, filing by mail, and should be finalized in April. I started the paperwork at my mom's house that first night of separation.

Since ending my relationship I have gone to therapy and realized just how abusive and manipulative my ex-husband was. I also understand how broken he is, but being mentally unwell is not an excuse for ab*sive behavior. What he did to me was ab*se and I'm not afraid to say that anymore. I have reconnected with old friends and made new ones.

I have started doing things that I love again, things he never wanted me to do like wearing red lipstick or eating mint-flavored things and going to concerts. I've realized I never want to be married again. I've discovered my polyamorous identity and have begun to explore this side of myself. I have plans to move out of my hated hometown that he had dragged me back to.

I feel so much more joy, freedom, and self-love than I ever did when I was in a relationship with my ex-husband. I won't be using this account anymore after this, as I have no need to. But I want to thank this community and the other reddit subs that I've participated in. If I had never made my original post I don't think I would have realized just how awfully my ex-husband treated me.

Thanks to the support of hundreds of voices telling me I deserved better, I realized how true that statement was. I deserve better, and now I have better. I also want this update to be a beacon of hope to anyone who has found themselves in a similarly emotionally/verbally ab*sive situation: life is so much better when you leave. There is hope, there is light on the other side of the pain. I am finally free.

The internet was so happy to hear an update from OP.

Suspicious_Mango_359 wrote:

I'm glad you got out, but I'm sorta curious as to why he didn't want you to eat mint flavored things?

OP responded:

He didn't like the taste if mint and wouldn't kiss me after. Same reasoning for not wanting me to wear red or bold lipstick, or any lipstick really, he wouldn't kiss me if I wore it because he didn't want to get lipstick on him. Even the lipsticks that were transfer-proof and I showed him how they were transfer proof he wouldn't kiss me afterwards.

I feel so confident when wearing red lipstick, and I love the taste of mint. And I honestly wonder now whether he really was that afraid of getting lipstick on him or whether he just didn't like how happy I was wearing it. I have worn red lipstick nearly every day recently.

Due-Reference-6011 wrote:

Tell him he needs therapy.

OP responded:

I did try throughout our entire relationship to get him help for his issues, whether therapy or emotional support from myself and friends, self-help books, etc. He has struggled a lot in his life and it's clear to me that this was impacting his behavior.

Unfortunately he only attended a couple therapy sessions before saying he didn't like the therapist, quitting, promising to find a new one, and never following through on that promise. I really do hope he gets the help he needs. But I can't be the one to help him anymore.

xovanob wrote:

I remember your original post, and while I am sad you had to endure that to get to where you are now, I am so happy you are finally free—sending you lots of good wishes and warm thoughts!

RanaEire wrote:

That bit about you "not meaning any harm", OP, was frankly chilling. All the BS he put you through. Good on you for leaving that manipulative AH! Wishing you lots of healing and all the best in the future!

softbrownsugar wrote:

I can't help but think he was trying to sabotage your education with all his bs. I'm glad he's an ex, well done for making it out of this and I wish you all the happiness in the world 🩵

It sounds like OP is off to much better things now.

Sources: Reddit
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