Ask The Divorce Coach: “I Didn’t See It Coming”


Dear Shelley:

After 24 years of marriage, my husband moved out last week, told me he wants to be free and NEVER loved me.  My friends are ignoring me and my children are on his side.  I work full time and have not told anyone at my job yet.  I am not sleeping well or eating.  Obviously I don’t want a divorce but at this point, I don’t see us reconciling.  

Your suggestions are greatly appreciated.



Dear Anne,

What would you suggest to a friend if she were in the same situation?  I say this because you have an inner wisdom, an intuition that you need to listen to right now.  If you take a long and honest look at your marriage, I am certain that you will begin to see all the signs that led to this situation.  Looking at the marriage and accepting your responsibility for it’s outcome will gift you with incredible life lessons and wisdom that you will be able to use to craft a better life for your future.  Don’t waste this experience. By that I mean, use it to do some deep self-assessing for personal growth.

In the meantime go out of your way to handle the effects of stress…exercise, try a yoga class, join a support group, learn to use deep breathing techniques to quiet the anxiety.  Sleeping and eating well are very important so do your best to eat and if you cannot then take a dietary supplement like Ensure.   You really need to take the time and make the effort to do these things as they are crucial in your ability to handle what is going on in your life.  Show yourself compassion and nurturing.  Treat yourself the way you would treat a child if they were in distress.

You are experiencing the effects of loss which is perfectly normal.  You are in a grieving period and everything that you are feeling and thinking is part of that grieving process. It will pass but in the meantime, do the things that I have mentioned to help you to cope.

Learning acceptance of what versus what we think should be is the great test.  We get to choose to accept reality or stay stuck in  the past, a past that no longer exists.  When we learn to accept our reality, we can then move on to make choices on how we will handle this new reality.  It is not so much what life hands us that is important , rather it is how we choose to handle life that will make the biggest difference.




Shelley Stile is an ACC certified Divorce Recovery Life Coach and author who guides her clients to let go the pain of their divorce and move on to create new and vibrant lives after divorce. Shelley has been through her own divorce so she knows first-hand about the journey of divorce recovery. Receive her free, powerful e-book, The 10 Secrets to Coping with Divorce’, and her monthly ‘Take Back Your Life After Divorce’ Newsletter by going to:


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    Dear Shelley,

    I really like the answer and advice you have offered to Anne and I agree with everything you say. When you are the one who is left ‘suddenly’ by your spouse, there is a period of shock, loss, acceptance and grieving. You touched on acceptance in your reply and I believe that is the key to moving on. In fact without acceptance it is impossible to begin the grieving process, because grieving is not possible while ‘hope’ exists, it requires ‘loss’.

    I believe this is particularly relevant for men. A number of articles I have read on this site have been about the response of men when told that their spouse wants a divorce. When you are the initiator, you have already moved through much of the process of loss, acceptance and grieving. You have probably moved through your grieving process on the loss of your marriage for quite a period of time and are now ready to make the decision to move on.

    The man in that particular scenario, is often hearing about this loss for the first time, even if a marriage has been ‘poor’ for some period of time. Men are not taught very well to deal with loss because it means listening to and moving through your emotions, something men don’t do so well.

    Anger is a part of grief and should be dealt with in a positive and constructive way, rather than a negative and destructive way. Unfortunately many men are not taught how to deal with anger in a positive and constructive way, and much of men’s behaviour during the grieving process is negative and destructive. In fact much of the anger happens as a part of the inner battle with oneself to reach acceptance.

    While I’m not making excuses for the men that express anger in a destructive manner, I think it is important to realise that it is a process that is leading to acceptance, followed by grieving.

    Divorce is a difficult period of time for men and women, and I felt a need to pitch in a little from a man’s perspective.

    Be Happy

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