Dear Dr. Meeker,
First, I wish to thank you for Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. It has been a very enlightening and educational read for me as a dad of a five-year-old daughter.
I write to you because, sadly, my wife has decided to end our twelve-year marriage. Needless to say, it is my daughter for whom I am very, very concerned.
Although my wife has also read your book and all the hard figures and statistics in it, she thinks saving a marriage “for the children” is an old, passé way of thinking. She thinks the impact on children—specifically my daughter—depends on how the divorcing couple manages the situation.
Frankly, I am heartbroken and desperate. I went through the divorce of my parents, and those were indeed horrible times for me—whose ghosts accompany me to this very date, and I am almost 40 years old! If I could only put my experience inside my wife’s head for her to see! But she just does not buy it. Admittedly, my particular case was aggravated by my father’s alcoholism and his virtual disappearance from my life after the divorce.
I have done everything in my hands to save my marriage, to no avail. I suggested couples counseling, I promised to try to change the things that drive her mad about me, etc., but my wife is determined. Apparently, my mistakes have been too many and too aggravating for her to continue.
Truth be told, at this point our relationship is nothing but pieces of shattered glass; she is just too angry, too disappointed and too resentful to go on. We hardly talk to each other, and when we do we just fight. Very, very sad situation. It shocks me how a relationship can go from a cordial one to an absolutely hellish thing in no time!
Could you give me a few suggestions on how to handle a divorce? What does one tell children? How does one explain it? What to say and what not to say? Is there a book you would recommend?
My wife was saying we could tell my daughter that I am being sent out of town because of work, and that I would only be able to see her in certain days and so on… I am not too sure about telling lies. Plus, children are children—not idiots! My daughter would soon begin to question the whole alibi!