| Words Unspoken |

Dear Soon-To-Be-Ex In-Laws

This isn’t a decision I made lightly, it’s an extremely painful step, but it must be done



Dear Soon-To-Be-Ex In-Laws,

Soon, I’ll be causing a major upheaval in all of our lives. I’ll be leaving my wife of close to ten years.

This isn’t a decision I made lightly, it’s an extremely painful step, but it must be done. The future is scary, but there is no other option.

It took me eight years to go for serious therapy on my own, and another two years to get to a place where I can do this for myself, my wife, and our beautiful children.

This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to you. Three months ago, I approached you asking for your help convincing your daughter to go for therapy. As your daughter is almost 30, I don’t feel that parental input should be needed, but I was at the end of my rope, and my rebbi advised me to do so.

After you spoke to my rebbi, your response was way more than I’d  hoped for. You continuously spoke to your daughter about the importance of her working on her marriage and herself. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.

I don’t feel that my wife hates me, but in the words of the therapist we’d seen together and then she’d seen alone, “In her current state, she’s incapable of forming healthy relationships. Therapy will only help if the person going for therapy wants it to help, and unfortunately, your wife is unable to want it.”

I know that I’ve done all I can to make this the best it can be. If you still have any doubts, you can ask the many rabbanim, rebbeim, counselors, and therapists I’ve gone to over the years. After investing so much into trying to salvage our marriage, it’s painful for me to let go, but it must be done for my health, and that of my wife and our children.

As the recipient of so much of your generosity and love, I humbly request the following from you and from my parents. The coming weeks and months will be painful for all of us. People will talk about us and come to their own conclusions as to what happened or didn’t happen. We’ll naturally want to defend ourselves and our children. Add custody battles and monetary disputes into the mix, and these situations tend to turn the best of society into the worst of society.

The least we can do is go through this guarding our respect for ourselves and for each other. If we keep our differences between ourselves and treat each other with kindness, we’ll all come out on top.

I have an incredible amount of respect for you, and I hope that you can reciprocate that respect. When it gets difficult, think of your beautiful grandchildren, who I daven every day will continue to bring all of us nachas, even through this incredible turmoil in their young lives.

On the last day of the year, minutes before shkiah, we daven Minchah and say Bareich Aleinu, begging Hashem to give us parnassah in the current year, even though there are only minutes left to it.

So too, even now, when I don’t see a chance of this possibly working out, I daven three times every day that Hashem should give my wife and me the strength to do what needs to be done to build a beautiful relationship and a strong home together. After ten years of extreme difficulty, I still have that hope.

Your Soon-To-Be-Ex Son-in-law


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 758)

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