Man-to-man: He’s afraid to tell his wife he wants to get a divorce |

Man-to-man: He’s afraid to tell his wife he wants to get a divorce

Wayne Levine
special to the daily

Dear Wayne,

My wife is crazy. No, I mean certifiably, by several professionals. We have three kids and I have tried for years to find a way to stay together until they got older. But her irrational and dangerous behavior has me in fear – for the children’s safety – every day. I have consulted an attorney and the path is very clear to me. My problem is that I do not know how to break the news to my wife. She will go berserk. More importantly, I am afraid of how her behavior will affect my kids. Is

there a right way of breaking the news?


Ready to Go

Dear Ready to Go,

Well, is there a right way to grab your N.U.T.s- your non-negotiable, unalterable terms? You hold on to them like the man you want to be. These are what you’re committed to, what defines you as a man. These are the things you compromised along the way that contributed to your current intolerable situation.

I have to assume you’ve done everything in your power to improve the relationship with your wife. That would include individual counseling, maybe couples, and reaching out for help from other experts and the men in your life. If, after all of that, your only viable option is to leave, then let’s hope your most important consideration is the welfare of your kids.

So, back to your N.U.T.s. If one of yours is, “I do whatever is necessary to protect my children,” why would you be afraid to confront your wife with this important info?

Oh, let me guess. Can it be because you are, and have always been, afraid of your wife? Isn’t that why you stayed with her as long as you have? Isn’t that why you compromised yourself so many times over the years, to try to avoid her emotional outbursts? Isn’t that why you continually allowed your wife to make poor decisions for your kids, because you were too afraid to take a stand for them by confronting her?

I may be making a few assumptions. But if my experience with men like you has taught me anything, it’s that if your children had truly been your biggest concern from the start, you wouldn’t be in this mess. The problem has been that your biggest concern was YOU.

You need to tell her what you have decided. And you need to make it short and sweet. But before you do, get all the legal counsel you need and be crystal clear about what your message to her is going to be. You always want to know, like any good chess player, what your next several moves will be. That’s for you and your attorney to work out.

As for the advice from this man, all I can tell you is that owning up to your own fears is what you need to do to be the man you want to be, to take care of your children, and to be an example to them. How you handle this separation is a great opportunity for you to be a better man for everyone in your life.

This challenge gives you the chance to create a new foundation and a new vision of the man you want to be in all of your relationships.

It’s critical for you to get the support you need to be that better man through out this process. Reach out and ask for more help and keep asking for it until you are in the clear. And I suspect you won’t be in the clear anytime before your youngest turns18.

Wayne M. Levine, M.A., mentors men to be better men, husbands and fathers. E-mail your questions to See how you can become a better man at

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