I have been married for almost five years now. I had my son when I was 18, and then got married the next year at 19. My husband and I have had our fair share of ups and downs; there have been several things in the past that he has done that have hurt me very badly. He used to have an anger-management problem and would yell at me very aggressively — he even locked me outside of our house a couple times when we would get in intense arguments.
In the last year we separated twice, but we always wound up making up however I've never truly forgiven him. I don't love him anymore, and I have no desire to kiss him, let alone sleep next to him. I fake it every day and try so hard to get my heart back into our marriage, but I just don't feel it anymore. I want to tell him how I have been feeling, but I am fearful that he will get angry and this will all backfire on me.
I don't want to be married to him anymore. I am 24 years old, and I just want to experience some of life on my own — with my son, of course. I want to divorce, but I need it to be as peaceful as possible, so that we can both be parents to our son. How do I approach him and tell him how I'm feeling?
—Time to Move On Mandy
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Dear Time to Move On Mandy,
Obviously you and your husband are not without your issues, but it sounds like you've tried to work through them to no avail. I'm glad to hear that you have your son's best interests at heart in regards to a divorce, but with your husband's history of anger and irrational behavior, I think you need to be extra cautious when you approach him about your feelings.
I wouldn't broach the subject until you're absolutely sure about your desire to divorce him, in other words, don't use this as an ultimatum. If you just tell him that you're no longer in love with him, he's likely to act out in rage unless you promise to stay, and you want to be able to stay in control. If you decide that you want to try to make it work for some time longer then I think that you and your husband need to see a family therapist together ASAP.
I wouldn't normally suggest this, but since your husband has shown such hostile behavior before, I'd consider having this conversation in a public place (without your son) so that he can't overreact like he might in the comfort of his own home. I would also use this initial conversation as an opportunity to address your feelings and make sure he understands that you're very serious about leaving. Once you've gotten that out of the way, you can have a follow-up conversation at a later time about the details of the divorce and your son. And make sure to prepare yourself for the worst by lining up a place for you and your son to stay while you can get on your feet. Best of luck to you.