The Divorce Diaries: ‘The 5 Words That Ended My Marriage’

Welcome to our series, The Divorce Diaries: Today, we hear from a woman who had been with her husband for more than 10 years when he told her he wanted a divorce and had five words for her that changed everything.

In our past instalments over the last year we’ve covered everything from when you’re most likely to divorce to whether they’re contagious to whether being on the contraceptive pill can effect your chances! and have now spoken to dozens of women – including one whose husband announced he was leaving her to have an open relationship with a 19-year-old, another who was quite literally ghosted by her own husband and one who discovered the real reason her husband divorced her was because he had a baby with her SISTER.

If you have a topic you’d like to discuss, share your thoughts, experience or advice about, drop a line to [email protected].

Margo* and Tim had met in their mid-twenties through mutual friends, and while it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, they soon got there and had a whirlwind romance.

“I actually didn’t think much of Tim when we first met,” says Margo. “It was at an overseas wedding and he must have been a dozen beers deep and I thought he was pretty obnoxious!”

To be fair, Tim said his first impression of Margo was that she was very cold and unapproachable, so he kept his distance.

But then, on the last night of the trip, five days after first meeting, the pair arrived late to the farewell dinner and had no choice but to sit next to each other.

They ended up being the last ones to leave, they were so caught up in their conversation.

“From there, things moved really fast,” says Margo. “He was living in Hamilton and I was in Auckland, so after a bit of driving back and forth he moved to Auckland. Finding a place was hard and rent was expensive, so it made sense to move in with me, even though it had only been a couple of months.”

Five years later the pair married and welcomed a child the same year. And in the years since, their relationship had its highs and its lows. There had been disappointments, financial stresses, a miscarriage, a life-shattering loss of a close family member, but also plenty of joy, holidays, successes and, of course, the birth of their little boy.

“Then, something changed,” says Margo.

She says she’d always heard people talk about how marriage was ‘work’ and to some extent, she agreed.

“Rough patches were inevitable,” she says. “Although it didn’t feel particularly rough, in comparison to some of the times we’d been through, but our relationship felt a bit flat.”

Figuring it was just part of life and the ebbs and flows of a marriage, Margo didn’t give it too much thought.

And then one weekend, Tim got up early to go the gym, and when he came home, everything changed in an instant.

“Our son was having a sleepover at his aunt’s and she’d just picked him up when Tim arrived home,” she says.

Straight away, something felt different about Tim’s energy. He wanted to sit down and talk.

Then, he very quickly and matter-of-factly told her that he thought it was time they ended their relationship, that it was best they divorce and she could stay in the house if she wanted to and he would find somewhere new, but would like joint custody of their son.

“I laughed, it seemed so out of the blue, it couldn’t be true,” says Margot.

But then, slowly, she realised that Tim was very serious.

“I was desperate for answers,” says Margot. “I still am, really.”

She says she kept asking, “But why?”

“I asked if there was someone else, which he denied. It didn’t make any sense to me”

Then, finally, after talking around it, Tim said: “I don’t love you anymore.”  

“It was as simple as that,” says Margot. “It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard. It wasn’t as dramatic, as like, finding him cheating on me, or finding out a big secret. But somehow it felt worse?”

Margot says she couldn’t bring herself to even tell her friends what he had said, until recently – some four years since it happened.

“It completely crushed me,” she says. “My husband found me unlovable. It was the ultimate rejection. It might sounds silly but I think I would have preferred to say he cheated on me, than the truth. It was very lonely.”

Margot says that therapy has helped – particularly to calm the part of her brain that was constantly looking for more of an explanation.

“I would go in circles, taking apart our relationship and everything I did and what it might have been that stopped him from loving me,” she says. “And then I’d change my mind and think that he must have been having an affair and start sifting through all my memories – and our shared bank account – looking for clues.”

And now, four years later, she’s dipped her toe back into the dating world.

“I’m firmly closing the door on this last chapter on my life,” she says. And part of closing that door is sharing her story.

“I read a lot of Divorce Diaries, and often they are so dramatic,” she says. “There’s affairs and all these layers of deception and cruelty, but sometimes, it’s just really simple. But that simplicity hurts like hell too. I just want people to know that if their relationship ended in quite an anticlimactic, but extraordinarily painful way, that they’re not alone. It hurts like hell, but you get through the other side and there are so many of us like you. Tell your friends what happened. Tell a therapist. Don’t be ashamed. Sometimes relationships just run their course. It’s not on you. This isn’t the end of your story.”

*names have been changed.

If you’d like to share your story, please email [email protected]

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