TV’s Steph and Dom Parker, 53 and 56, draw on their 23 years of marriage to solve your relationship problems . .
Q. Two weeks ago, I was on the family computer when I saw a message that my husband had sent to his brother, telling him that he is going to divorce me.
I was completely shocked — I still am. In the message he said he had already talked to a solicitor and was setting the wheels in motion. I’m horrified. We have the usual rows and irritations, but I didn’t think there was any real problem in our marriage.
We’ve been married for eight years — I’m 46 and my husband is 50. We haven’t been able to have children, but he has always said he never really wanted them anyway.
A women wrote to Steph and Dom for advice after she found a message written by her husband to his brother stating he wanted to get a divorce and had contacted solicitors. Picture: Stock
I don’t want him to leave — I love him and thought we were going along together OK. What should I do to change his mind? He doesn’t know that I know.
This must have been a painful letter to write. And I feel frustrated because I am powerless to help you achieve what you want: to make him stay.
Sadly, the die is cast, and that window of opportunity has passed — his secrecy has ensured you don’t have a voice.
Finding his email must have been deeply shocking, but this is happening, despite you being in the dark about it.
My focus is on helping you weather this terribly sad break-up. Don’t tell him you know — yet. There will be a right time to do this.
He has set his wheels in motion, so you must do the same. Stay quiet. Use this time to get your ducks in a row. He is already armed with a lawyer, so find (a better) one for yourself.
If you know of anyone who has been through a divorce, ask them for recommendations and advice. This will give you back a sense of control, which you lack now. If you treat this as a practical problem that has to be solved, you’ll find it easier to put your emotions to one side.
One thing I think you should address is your apparent guilt at not having had children with your husband. You must banish all negative thoughts over this. You are not breaking the hearts of children if you split and that’s an important plus in my book.
Secondly, people don’t marry in order to have children. They may have children in the course of a typical marriage, yes, but that’s not the reason for getting married in the first place.
Steph suggested the woman contact someone she may know going through a divorce and ask them for advice and recommendations for the heartbreaking process
People get married because they’re in love and intend to stay that way. Though, sadly, not in every case.
I have a weird feeling about your situation: I think there may be a third party waiting in the wings. Men can be weak emotionally and need to have someone — a ‘pillow-warmer’ if you like — in their lives
In my experience, men don’t just leave, or go as far as seeking legal advice, without an attractive reason. He is in touch with a solicitor, so it’s not a half-baked idea — and my money’s on there being a mistress elsewhere.
I bet there’s a mistress elsewhere
You could get locked into a negative spiral here. Nobody would blame you for digging away trying to find the other woman, yelling at him, losing it in general.
But I urge you, instead, to choose to protect your own mental health.
Once you have a plan of action, inform him that you have known his intentions for some time, then elegantly show him the door.
Be strong. Be resolute. And whatever happens, never apologise for his mistake. Good luck!
What a sad letter to receive. The first thing that springs to my mind is that this is what happens when you read other people’s mail. Firstly, because it’s unspeakably rude and, secondly, because you might not like what you’ll find.
In intercepting his mail you’ve found no evidence he’s being unfaithful — worse than that, you’ve picked the shortest possible straw and discovered that he wants to leave you.
There is the possibility he did this to find out if you are reading his mail. If he has suspected you of snooping, he may have set this up, knowing you will root around in his inbox, read the email, go ballistic and come and talk to him about it.
But I’m sorry to say this does rather look as though it’s real.
Dom recommends the woman speaks to her husband and tell him she has seen the email and would like to know what is going on – to find out if he is serious about the divorce
It is underhand of him to act like this. I think it’s particularly bad form to talk to his brother about something so private, without talking to you. And what a way to find out — I’m not surprised you’re in turmoil.
I think you have to bite the bullet. You have to talk to him about it. The longer you leave it, the worse it’s going to get.
Tell him you’ve seen the email and you’d quite like to know what is going on. Ask him if he is serious and point out that, at the very least, he owes you an explanation.
The decent human thing to do is to talk through what is wrong and see if there is any way to solve it. You have only been married for eight years, which isn’t a terribly long time.
It’s bad form – check your finances
Of course people change and attitudes shift but, still, normally you would have some inkling this was on the cards.
Relationships can fall apart for the silliest of reasons and, sometimes, when it breaks, it’s broken. He may have simply fallen out of love with you, not that he’s fallen in love with someone else. It does happen.
Without talking to him, you have no hope of finding out what this is all about. It could be that he is a weak man and this is his way of communicating, which is underhand and unkind. And, if this is what’s going on, it makes me wonder what else he is being underhand about.
So, yes, you absolutely do need to talk to him but, before you do so, I would check your bank accounts. Have there been any unexpected transfers to his brother, for example?
Make sure that there is nothing untoward going on in the background. If he is beavering away behind the scenes, then so should you.