How 9 Almost-Divorced Couples Are Putting the Brakes on a Split

Wendy Robinson | Oct 27, 2015 Love & Sex

couple on bench A few months ago, a dear friend of mine called to tell me that she and her husband were separating. I was stunned. They had always seemed so happy to me. Had they just been faking it? Or is the truth that even happy marriages can have real rough patches?

Given that the only two people who really know the truth of a marriage are the ones living it, more couples than you suspect have probably gotten to the point where they were almost ready to call it quits.

It can be tough to talk about the hurts and the hard times in your marriage. Here, nine brave women -- who asked to remain anonymous -- were willing to share what drove their marriage to the brink and how they are working to bring it back.

 

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  • Fighting the Good Fight

    1

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    "Neither of us came from families that handled conflict well, so when things started getting hard -- not enough time, money, or sex! -- we didn't really know how to fight well. I got passive-aggressive, he got moody, we bickered all the time. I started feeling like if we couldn't get it together, we'd have to break up. It was too much tension all the time.

    "We finally got a couple of sessions of couples counseling through my work's wellness program, and it really helped. We aren't perfect, but we are better."

  • Feeling Like Roommates

    2

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    "My husband was struggling with depression and went on some medication to help, which was a good thing, except it killed his sex drive. We went from sex once or twice a week to sex once or twice A YEAR.

    "He refused to talk to his doctor about it, because he was feeling so much better with the depression stuff, but I was starting to feel like we were just roommates. One night, I told him that if he didn't want to have sex with me, I was going to find someone who did. Not my finest hour, but it got him to go see the doctor, and now, we at least have a plan to try to wean him off one med and onto another with less side effects."

  • Need to Reconnect

    3

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    "The realization of the possibility of divorce is something we are dealing with now. Neither of us wants it, but sometimes, it feels like we have swum so far in the other direction that I'm not sure we can find our way back. It's a combination of work schedules since we both work full-time, and my hours vary from days to overnights. Managing the demands of two young children has been taxing, and my husband is in law school on the weekends. Frankly, we have too much going on!

    "All of these demands have lead to an emotional separation, and we are used to being alone. It is now awkward trying to figure out how to reconnect. I started seeing a counselor, and we will go together as well. I'm hoping they give us the tools to figure this out."

  • After Infidelity

    4

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    "My husband moved out three weeks ago after I discovered he was having an emotional affair with someone he met online. He is totally ashamed and is fighting to save our marriage. I'm torn. If we didn't have kids, I'd be DONE. But we have two kids who love him, and he is a great father.

    "I'm not sure what the final outcome will be. He's started therapy, and I am hopeful I can forgive him. I'm just not sure how I'll ever trust him again."

    More from The Stir: 10 Signs You're Having an Emotional Affair

  • We Need AA

    5

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    "I have been close to ending our marriage. Not as far as calling a lawyer, but getting information for one. My husband is an alcoholic. It has affected our lives so much, and I can't imagine putting our kids through any of it as they get older and eventually realize his problem. There is so much distrust that it's hard to see if it will ever come back.

    "Honestly, love and hope keep us together. I'm hanging on by a thread, but I'm hanging on."

  • 'He's My Best Friend'

    6

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    "We've gotten as close to divorce as packing boxes and dividing stuff. After months of just dealing with shitty stuff (lots of past hurts and money problems), we both just felt worn down and like we wanted to give up.

    "But the thing is that he is my best friend. And I want to always have him in my life, so we just decided to give it another month. And that month turned into six months and that turned into a year and five years later, here we are! We're still hanging on. It isn't always great, but it's better."

  • Making Sparks Fly Again

    7

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    "I think it happens to a lot of couples, but after we had kids we went from being a couple to being parents. We stopped having fun with each other, and things got really stale. I think we were headed into roommate territory. It felt like that was a normal thing to have happen but was also super-depressing that it was happening to us.

    "Then, we went to a marriage retreat our church was sponsoring and learned a lot about how to make more time for each other and how to bring back some of the passion that was missing. Today we met at lunch for a quickie! I'd say that helps bring a marriage back!

    More from The Stir: Bondage 101: How to Bring 'Fifty Shades' into Your Bedroom

  • Surviving Infertility

    8

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    "Trying to make a family almost cost us our marriage. Years of fertility treatments and multiple miscarriages did a number on both of us. A few years ago I just thought 'I give up' and told him I was DONE -- with both the marriage and with trying to have kids.

    "There's no happy ending here in terms of the kids thing. I still wish we had a baby, and we don't (though we are hoping to adopt), but we've put in a lot of work with a therapist who specializes in infertile couples, and she's helped us to see that our marriage isn't a failure just because we couldn't make a baby."

  • Money as a Marriage Killer

    9

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    "Between student loan debt and a house that was underwater with a stupid big mortgage and credit card debt, we were ALWAYS stressed about money. We used to joke that if divorce was free, we would already have done it.

    "What helped us was going through a debt reduction program at our church. Money is about so much more than money, you know? Like it is about goals and what we want out of life and what we value. Getting on a program to get out of debt forced us to talk about all that big-picture stuff we hadn't ever talked about before."

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