He Walked Out
Q: My husband of 8 years has left without a forwarding address, so to speak. Though I do know where he is, he hasn't declared his intentions nor kept in touch. Therefore, I decided to leave him and move back home. This did not come as a big surprise to anyone, but the fact that he just "disappeared" leaves me with the question, how do I explain the situation to the rest of the family? Or don't I? They all know that he left but I'm sure, judging by his past behavior, that he puts the blame on me. I don't want to be the bad guy. What would be a diplomatic way to talk about this? Or should I say nothing? None of us has filed for divorce. -- Angie, 56
Dr. Susan: Why worry about being diplomatic when the man has simply walked out? I'd say his "intentions" are awfully clear. Tell the truth, if asked by any family members, something like this: "S.O.B. and I were having a lot of problems and he just walked out. Seems we're splitting up for good." Don't fret over what he might say to slant the story in his own favor. You won't BE a bad guy just because he tries to make you out as one. There are always two sides, and anyone who doesn't know that isn't very sophisticated in their thinking. You may as well file for divorce and get your life moving again. Eventually, more of the story will probably come out to all sides of the family, but it won't help if you seem too defensive.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.