Dear Coleen: How can I move forward with plans to separate from my husband?

A woman lying in bed.
A woman lying in bed. -Credit:Getty

Dear Coleen

I'm a 38-year-old woman and have two young sons with my husband. My thing is, I don't love him any more and want out of the marriage.

We've had many discussions and arguments on the subject, but we've finally agreed that it's better to split up for the sake of everyone. It's not what my husband wanted but, equally, he's said he doesn't want to be in a loveless marriage.

The problem is, I keep ­postponing the inevitable and just can't seem to push the divorce button. I keep thinking of the upheaval and what it's going to mean for our kids.

My plan once we sell our house is to move back up North where it'll be more affordable for me and I'll have the support of family. However, it'll mean tearing my boys away from school and their friends, and also their dad, who'll be 200 miles away.

So, we've just been carrying on, not speaking much to each other and feeling very unhappy. I haven't even broached the subject with my boys yet. How can I move forward with this without feeling that I'm doing a terrible thing?

Coleen says

I've been in this situation myself. When you're separating, whatever you and your hubby are going through, you've agreed on an outcome, so now you must stick together as far as the kids go.

There's never an easy way to tell them you're separating, but the important thing is to emphasise that your decision has nothing to do with them and that they're loved.

In my experience, when kids realise their lives will carry on and they'll have everything they need, they can adapt as long as you're not screaming at each other.

Also, I don't know if you need to "push the divorce button" and instantly move up North. Perhaps separating so one of you moves into a rented flat nearby is a good first step, so the kids get used to it.

When I separated from my first husband, me and our boys moved to a rented house up the road. I was a stay-at-home mum at that point, but my husband was working and found us somewhere.

It could be that your husband moves out so the kids get used to Mum and Dad not living together. We did this for about a year before I had to move up North, so I had a support network and it was easier to work and leave the boys with family.

Also, once you've been separated for two years, it's much quicker and easier to get divorced, so that could be an option. And by that point, your kids will be used to the situation.

Splitting up, taking them out of school and moving away is a lot all at once, so just think about whether there's a less drastic temporary solution.

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