Posted by: I don''t know | 2011/05/04

Should I separate or divorce my husband at this age?

I am 71 and have been married for 35 years. I have always worked but had to resign in a post where the boss was impossible. I anot the only one that says so, all his secretaries thereafter also left. He broke me down mentaly and physically. I was 56 at the time and could not get another job. I tried and tried and this was a very small town. I evetually gave up at my husband''s suggestion and discovered hiking, gardening and volunteered at the local SPCA, Life was wonderful. Even in those days I had to battle for my household money. The staff got paid in time I sometimes had to wait until the 8th. I know we are in a recession and I have inherited some money from my parents and sister who died which I put on amount in something I couldn''t touch for years and Money Market. My husband business is now doing so bad that he often does not give me the R3000 I have had for the past 10 years -= he says he is battling and will show me figures but he never does. I have no idea of what he owns, his money affairs, the house is in his name. I pay household expenses from that money but in the course ofthe years I accumulated at one stage 8 dogs and 21 dogs. We are down now to 4 dogs and 9 cats and I am not going to get new kittens or dogs as I will be dead before they have had a chance to live. Today again got R600 less that the usual R3000 and I am furious. When we first received our inheritances I sent him away on two overseas trips to thr UK as his mother was ailing and I thought it better for him to see her alive than stand at her grave. She rallied for another 28 months. He also was depressed and I sent him to his brother -in-law for 3 weeks t go and see some rugby in Wales. We have been together to celebrate his 70 birthday in the UK and also to Australia to see our son and family. I have been on my own to my first sister-in-law who lives in Holland also on my own money. I buy him presents for birthdays etc. I very seldom get something besides flowers for my birthday and sometimes not even that.

I am fuming that my Money Market is rapidly depleting on household good as he ha an 1972 MG in the garage and various objects tha he could sell (Doors with inliad glass) but he is very lax about it. He watches TV soccer, rugby, cricket, tennis,soccer (we have DTSV which he won''t give up) on Saturdays and weeknights and I go to bed and read a book. I am thoroughly fed up but I don''t want to live like this any longer. He doesn''t llisten, always one ear on the TV etc. W seldom go out together, I go to movies and outings with my girlfreinds. I can''''t work or go overseas caring as I have just had a hip replacement 7 months ago and can''t get up from my knees. Can t garden anymore either but do go to gym to strengthen legs and arms. Could you tell me what my rights are if I should I separate from him or divorce him? Sorry for the long summmary. Thank you.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDivorce support expert

35 years is a long time to be married and yet we witness more and more couples who separate after such long relationships.
Money issues are one thing and can be overcome but you have to weigh the financial problems you encounter in your marriage and the financial problems you may encounter if you divorce your husband. Since you are probably married in COP all your assets will have to be divided equally between the two of you.
As for your emotional and personal journey in your relationship, you are the only one who can decide whether leaving your husband is what will make you more happy.
Sometimes people have been "stuck" in relationships because they thought they had no option. The truth is, we always have a choice. After such a long time spent together you and your husband may have gotten used to a degrading quality of communication. You may want to explore some personal growth courses. Discuss the issues at hand and explore your options but make your decision once you have clarity that your paths are separating as opposed to going in the same direction.

A divorce is not a breakup point in someone's life, it is a change of direction.
Which direction are you wanting to go?


The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Allen | 2016/02/22

I think they are too old to divorce now.the lady must be just patient, things will come alright. Maybe 1 of their kids wil come forward and help.

Reply to Allen
Posted by: mary | 2011/06/29

my husband conducted a 25yr adulterous affair. i stayed so long bcos of the kids. my husband never allowed me to work and kept all his finances and business affairs secret. he paid for the house and bought the food and gave us money to buy clothes only for christmas, he controled everything. I started divorce proceeding in 2007 and now finally after it was dragged on for so long we got divorced this month in june. I want to take my husbands mistress to court for alienation of affection. please tell me what the statute of limitations are. will i be able to still pursue this cos i want retribution coz i suffered gross injustices, mental, financial and physical abuse from this man bcos of his mistress.

Reply to mary
Posted by: Realist | 2011/06/04

Yes, 35 years is a lifetime. The problem is that if he has switched off emotionally which sounds as if he has, and on top of that the money issue is becoming intolerable, all point to a complete lack of respect for you. He has reached the stage where you have been relegated to merely an " item: in his life and nothing more.
I am not suggesting that you actually start divorce proceedings, but what you should do, is sit down and WRITE him a letter, explaining point for point how you feel and most importantly, what YOU want.
Add in at the end that you expect him to make IMMEDIATE changes and give him a specific amount of time to come right. Failing this, divorce proceedings will commence.
There will be one of two reactions. 1) He will ignore your requirements, thinking you will never divorce him and then you will have to show him you mean business or 2) He will ac ceed to your requirements and then problem solved !! You have to oput your foot down !!

Reply to Realist
Posted by: Romany | 2011/05/05

You are describing a problem that most couple''s experience MONEY ISSUES.
Is a divorce really justified here?
Why don''t you just fix your money for 12 or 24 months so you cannot touch it at all and then him (and you) will just have to eat and live on what R3000 can buy, or R2 400 or whatever.
If you are married COP which you probably are, in the case of a divorce what is his is yours and what is yours is his...
No, I think after being married for 35 years, surely you could work something out here?

Reply to Romany

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