Here are five steps to finding peace and joy after a divorce. You CAN learn how to be happy without your husband – without his money, love, financial support, frustrating habits, and self-destructive behaviors.
The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope by Leslie Vernick. It’ll help you gain the skills to respond to an unhealthy partner, learn how to stay safe, and recognize when and how to leave.
Here’s what a reader says: “I’ve been married to same man for 30 years, and he has manipulated and controlled me to the point that I have no self-esteem or confidence,” writes Mary on How to Leave Your Husband. “I have isolated myself from family and friends for 20 years. I have no job and no money, and I feel he set me up like this. He recently blamed me for our financial ruin. I’m 57 with no money, no job, no family, friends or confidence. I’m miserable and exhausted from this….the contempt just grows and grows. So does the rage and the hate.”
Mary reminds me of the wife in a book called The Gatecrasher. Phillipa was in exactly the same type of marriage. Phillipa’s husband spoke down to her, destroyed her self-esteem and confidence, treated her like garbage, and blamed her for everything bad in their lives. Phillipa discovered that she can be happy without her husband’s “love” or money – and it was as simple as “if your marriage makes you unhappy, then leave it.” (Well it wasn’t THAT simple, but that was one of the themes of the book).
You need to find the strength and courage to stand on your own two feet, gain financial independence, and realize that you CAN live without him.
5 Steps to Being Happy Without Your Husband
This is just a start – a general list of ideas that can put you on the road to finding freedom and breaking free from an unhappy marriage. You’ll need more specific help and support if you’re serious about being happy without your husband. You need to contact a lawyer, or a divorce counselor, or a social worker.
But first, you need to…
Tell your family and friends the truth
The unhealthiest, most destructive husbands are the guys that isolate you from your friends and family. The more isolated you are, the more power he has over you – until you have nobody to turn to. That is, you THINK you have nobody to turn to – but you do! You don’t need your husband’s twisted love or money, you can be happy without a husband, and you CAN stand on your own two feet.
“I finally told my sister some of the things that are going on in my marriage,” says Elizabethon When You Can’t Tell Your Family How Your Husband Treats You. “My husband thinks I’m the bad guy now. He took life insurance out on me and dropped my medical coverage. I told him, if you can’t help take care of me while I am living, you are not going to benefit on my insurance when I’m gone. We have decided to go our separate ways. I should not have hid how my husband treated me from my family and friends all these years.”
Focus on what you DO have
Mary said she has no money, no job, and no support. That may be true – but what does she have? A brain. A mouth. Two feet. She has what she needs to get money, to get a job, to get support, and to start being happy without her husband. To start over without your husband – and be happy – all you need is what you already have: your body, your brain, and your spirit. Yes, it’s hard to start over. Yes, it’s scary and what will people think? Yes, finding a job in this economy will be a pain in the a$$. Yes, life isn’t fair…and yes you wish things were different!
But this is your life, and you have the power to change it. You have the power to be happy without your husband’s money or “love.”
Work towards financial independence
In How to Get Money to Leave Your Husband, I list a few tips for accumulating money and learning how to be independent. I’m not saying it’s easy – but I am saying it’s worth the pain and effort. It takes time and effort to rebuild yourself financially, but it’s better than being unhappy with a husband who treats you like garbage.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s what social services is for, what friends and family are for, and what neighbors are for! Eat that humble pie, for it will make you stronger and self-sufficient. Then one day, you will be able to help another woman who is scared she’ll never be happy without HER husband’s money or love. What goes around comes around, my friend.
Remind yourself that you deserve better than what your husband gives you
“You sound like you would like to leave but you’re torn by your responsibilities to yourself, your children and even your feelings for your deadbeat husband. Take it from me (45 years married), he won’t change. If you are ready to be on your own again, you need to call a hotline for abused women. They can help you leave and be happy without your husband’s money or love without endangering yourself or your children.
You deserve better than what he is able/willing to give you
Your children will be damaged by watching how he treats you. Not to mention what it will do to your self-esteem as time goes on.” ~ Sally, Why Do Women Stay in Loveless Marriages?
What do you think – can you be happy without your husband? If you need help, please find a counselor in person – you need to get support if you want to rebuild your life and be happy without your husband! I welcome your stories and thoughts below, but I can’t offer marriage or divorce counseling.
If you’re lonely, read How Long Should You Wait Before Starting a New Relationship?
Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.
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May you find strength, peace, and joy as you learn how to be happy without your husband. May you find yourself.