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Divorce and horses

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  • Divorce and horses

    I need help. Last Thursday (4.16) my husband of 12 years (15 together) asked me for a divorce. I can say there is no hope, he's done with me.

    But in our discussion about what brought this on, he told me that over the years his resentment of the horses (not the time spent) but the cost was part of the issue.

    There are other issues as well. The horses are not the only thing. The biggest issue in our relationship was the communication which was our (and my husband's) ultimate problem.

    Now I've gone to the barn twice now to ride and when I look at my horses all I can see is that indirectly, they were my downfall. I can't bring myself to ride.

    How do I cope with loosing the love of my life and not pass the anger and hurt onto them? Part of my mind says "If only I had not had them, if only....

  • #2
    Finish the sentence.

    "If only I had not had them..........he'd have found some other reason to leave me instead".

    You said yourself that the biggest issue was communication, not horses or the tme you spend with your horses or the money you spend on your horses.

    If you don't want to ride for a while, fine. Go to the barn and pet noses, feed carrots, and just hang out with the horses. They are the world's best listeners. And they will still love you unconditionally. Unconditional love is a good thing to have.
    Incredible Invisible


    • #3
      My mother said when my dad divorced her that this is like your spouse dying. You are greving over that. Anger is part of it. Trust me Ive greved for months over something lost (a horse). Since you cant or wont be angry at him (yet) you are shifting it onto your horses.

      It isnt their fault. I wont say what happened in your marrage--only you and he can do that. But dont do anything rash. If you cant stand to see them wait a bit. Many people have said how much their horses helped them thru a divorce. Dont do anything sudden. You wont like it later.

      “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


      • #4
        Your husband has hurt you and to be honest he sounds like a right prat.

        Being married is about respecting your partner. Yes it's about sharing joint interests. But it's also about giving each other the freedom and scope to do things independently. Supporting each other. Giving each other space. It's about loving and liking someone for what they are and what they do.

        It's not about control, manipulation and trying to change someone to suit you. If he doesn't like what you do, then I'd say .... TOUGH - his problem! Don't make it yours. Don't let him shatter your confidence and don't go picking up guilt and dwelling on "could haves" because HE has a problem!

        He's left it till he's asking for a divorce to tell you he resents your horses!!! Feeble!

        I think Quin is spot on and this sounds like just some petty comment.

        You need to borrow the sweatshirt my wife often wears..... It says on the front "he gave me a choice, him or the horse" on the back is a picture of a lady riding off with her horse into the sunset and it says underneath "we'll get over him"

        It's understandable you're hurt and upset but sounds to me like the more you know about men, the more you should appreciate horses That's another one my wife wears!

        Trust me, your horses aren't your downfall. Your husbands inability to communicate and desire to change you and to control what you do and spend time, money and effort on was HIS downfall.

        Your horses have given you independence and happiness and pleasure. They will again. Don't allow yourself to lose your confidence and to manipulate what you get pleasure out of. Dig in and dig out.
        Last edited by Thomas_1; Apr. 20, 2009, 06:40 AM. Reason: Seems I can't even spell "independently"! I can compromise in a marriage though!!!


        • #5
          Thomas, I need that shirt!!!


          • #6
            I also went through a divorce and he also blamed horses as part of the reason. Here's the deal - if someone is so bitter, so nasty, and so selfish that they cannot allow you to fulfill your dreams, your passion, and do what you love, then they aren't worthy or your committment. PERIOD.

            If it wasn't horses it would be something else - you shop too much, don't make dinner for him enough, don't make enough money, spend too much time knitting and watering flowers. If a man is going to be so nasty as to hold your hobby over your head and divorce you for it, then you don't need him.

            I was married 6 years. It was hard to let go. Not as long as you have been together, but it still flipped my world upside down.

            I now am married to the most amazing person in the world. He is completely respectful and understanding of my hobby. Sometimes when I ride with friends, my friends will say "Ohhh boy I have to get home by 3 or he's gonna be SO MAD. I'm just so lucky he **lets** me ride as it is."

            Um - NO. Doesn't work that way in our house. Nobody **lets** me ride. I ride because it's my right as an American citizen to do what the hell I want, when I want.

            Having said that, I love my honey enough that I want to spend time with him and do things with him. I ride a lot but my horses are at home so it doesn't consume much time. But when I haul out somewhere to ride and will be gone all day, we work it out so that he does his man stuff on the same day. Or if we're both gone all day doing our own stuff, we're together in the evening for a nice dinner and movie.

            The thing is, the relationship is based on mutual respect. When you respect and love someone else, you let them have and do the things that makes them happy. It would break my heart to see my husband unhappy and miserable. So he has all his cars and shop and I go to car shows with him in the summer months. In the years we've been together he has never complained once about a horse and I have never once complained about a car. It's just what we do.

            If you can't be allowed to be your own person, you can't expect a relationship to be healthy and happy either.

            Hang in there and don't ride for a while. I didn't. You'll find that perfect person later down the road that wants to see you happy.


            • #7
              I just agree with everyone. He found a way to blame you for the divorce, and you're feeling bad enough right now to agree with him. When the anger part comes along, you'll remember all of the crappy things HE did that you didn't store up as resentment and throw back at him later.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Thomas_1 View Post
                Your husband has hurt you and to be honest he sounds like a right prat.

                He's left it till he's asking for a divorce to tell you he resents your horses!!! Feeble!

                It's understandable you're hurt and upset but sounds to me like the more you know about men, the more you should appreciate horses

                If your husband had communicated properly about his resentment over the cost of the horses it probably would have been a solvable issue.

                I'm going through the worst divorce imaginable and the thing that really saves me is my horse.

                I will say that if you are feeling that much guilt over the demise of your marriage in relation to your horse ownership, you might want to take a closer look at WHY you feel this way.
                Did your husband express his concerns and you not hear them? If so why not?
                Did he not express his feelings?
                Did he express them in a way that was not productive?
                Did you ask him (or yourself) on a regular basis how your marriage was doing? etc ...
                Maybe you both knew he was unhappy but didn't want to talk about it?

                I don't think this is bad exercise to perform because even if we are married to an absolute a**hole we do contribute to the relationship issues.

                It will help to stop a repeating pattern. It will also remind you that THE HORSES WERE NOT THE REAL PROBLEM, just a symptom.

                So take all the time you need, and then go back to the horses


                • #9
                  I agree with the others.

                  Horses will always be an easy target when one wants to leave, and they don't want to look in the mirror.

                  Don't ge me wrong, life is a two way street...but it IS a two way street.

                  Enjoy your horses, they will be there everytime for your comfort. You can talk to them and they won't tell anyone, they don't pick sides, and they will always let you escape your thoughts.


                  • #10
                    I heard the exact same thing from my ex I now love my horses, cattle, and farm even more. After I thought about it I thought why would I want to be with someone that hates what I love.
                    Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


                    • #11
                      I am so sorry for your life being turned upside down.

                      You shouldn't blame you and your horses on your marriage not working. If he was a decent human being, he would have brought up his concerns BEFORE asking for a divorce. Then you could have talked about it and gone from there - divorce may still have been the answer but you would have had a say in it.

                      He's taking the easy way out for him. He's being selfish by not including you in the decision. Think: do you really want to be a partner with someone who doesn't value your opinion?

                      Good luck (you'll be okay, really.)


                      • #12
                        My ex used that excuse years ago. I think Thomas summed it up best when he pronounced it... feeble.

                        I am sorry you are going through this tough time. Divorce is not easy.

                        I will say, that with the benefit of some time, I now look back and can hardly believe that I was so distraught at the time. Looking back - my ex was a jerk and behaved very badly. I thank my lucky stars every day now that we got divorced - my life was so much improved without him!! And I kept my horse throughout.

                        I am now remarried to a TERRIFIC guy and couldn't be any happier. Mr. L is not horsey, but is enormously supportive and happy to encourage my passion. He understands how much I love to ride and how attached I am to my horse - what a difference compared to my ex!!! I am now the lucky woman at the barn who doesn't have to scurry home in time to (insert chore here.) When my friends are having to rush home to put a meal on the table, my husband will often call and say, "hey, what time will you be done riding? Want to meet at (nearby restaurant) and grab some dinner?"

                        Of course the support goes both ways, and I am happy to encourage him to pursue his interests (cycling, mostly) which has been fun for both of us.

                        The moral of the story is, don't compromise who you are or what is important to you in a relationship. It goes without saying that every relationship requires some compromise, but IMO, it is better to be on your own than to try to fit into someone else's idea of "what they want" in a partner.
                        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=county;4033604 I thought why would I want to be with someone that hates what I love.[/QUOTE]

                          What an elegant way of putting it.

                          OP - if it wasn't the horses he would have picked your love of underwater high precision bb stacking for his excuse. It's just another way of hurting you - to place the blame on YOU.

                          Begone with him - go ride your horses and give them a hug. Things will be tough for a while but your horses will help you get through it.

                          It's not your fault, nor your horse's fault - that your soon to be ex is an a**hole.

                          Good luck.
                          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                          -Rudyard Kipling


                          • #14
                            I started a post almost exactly like this one about 9 weeks ago. I know exactly how you feel. No warning. All blame was put on me. Complete communication failure. He said counceling would not help as he had decided 6 months ago it was over and had never said one word. Horses were a burden and took up too much time.

                            My hubby has now changed his mind 5 times in those 9 weeks. Right now he has decided he wants to work things out again. (No, I have not let him move back in since he walked out. Yes, I have seen a very good lawyer. Yes, I have covered my behind.) Atleast this time he has agreed to go to councelling. Do I trust him not to do this again? No. Was it all my fault or the horses? No. My horses have provided a wonderful outlet for stress and they are much more dependable at this point. Enjoy the little things that make you happy.
                            You have mentioned communicated as an issue. That works both ways.
                            Decide what you want in life and what makes you happy.

                            Horses are simply an excuse. If you fix that one he will only find another flaw.


                            • #15
                              Divorces are complex matters. It's a real streatch to "analyze" them in in 'Net forum.

                              It's not at all uncommon for a dissatisfied spouse to use an activity of their other in which they do not participate as the "reason" for the divorce. Men complain at the cost of horses (or of clothes or of craft materials or whatever); women complain about the cost of golf (or hunting or the boat or whatever). Rarely it's even true. Mostly it's just a convienient excuse.

                              It's not uncommon for the moving party to try and sent the respondant on a real "guilt trip." That should be resisted. If the relationship is over then don't get into a "guilt spiral" and stop doing the things you like to do. Set aside some "grieving time" and then take the "life goes on" approach. It's tough to see the effort of a lot of years go away but if there is no reasonable hope for the relationship then let it go. And let go of the guilt, sadness, etc. Takes time, but time is a great healer (if you let it).

                              Don't be afraid to get some help from a professional (psychologist, lay counselor, minister, etc.). You're not alone; you're not the first one this has ever happened to; you're not an island.

                              Good luck in you future.

                              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                              • #16
                                I'll tell a really honest story about my marriage. Maybe it will make you feel better, at the very least it might make you laugh.

                                My husband was supposedly "very supportive" of my horse habit. He actually didn't have a problem with the money spent on the horses.

                                One time I came back from the barn and I was sharing about my day with the horses. First I did blah, then blah, then I gave my horse a long bath outside in the wash stall.

                                My husbands whiny response was: How come you never give me a bath?

                                I took a deep breath and thought.

                                My response:
                                When you are happy with me because I turned you out in a paddock and gave you a carrot to munch I'll probably be happy to give you a bath.

                                The reality of our marriage was that my husband was never going to think I did enough for him. He was the type who wanted his partner to be involved in all the exact same things he was involved in regardless of whether the person liked it or not.

                                I want to be with some one who is interested in hearing about my passions, I will be interested in hearing about their passions. Maybe some will overlap. Yes, I would like some one who comes to me and says I'm feeling disconnected can we spend some time together. I want to feel free to say the same thing. I do not want to be with some one who whines because they aren't the center of my world all the time.

                                Nothing wrong with what he wants, it just was wrong for me. It made him hate me and he left.


                                • #17
                                  Best wishes to you OP. Grab a bag of carrots- go to the barn and let yourself 'unload'. Horses are fabulous to cry on. Everyone needs a good cry- it re-adjusts the old brain.

                                  People dont like to blame themselves for their shortcomings. We ALL do it. He happen to point some blame toward your horses. It's not their fault and it's not your fault. Just something *he* is doing.

                                  My hubby is far from perfect and so am I. Actually Thomas_1 I'm surprise my hubby hasn't found and bought for me THAT shirt. So fitting as I've told him on more than one occasion... the horses aren't going anywhere.

                                  Funny, when my hubby got transferred out here to CA, he was afraid that I wouldn't go. So he made sure to find horse property. He has interests that I could care less about and vis versa but we respect each other's hobby's and support each other. Even if it means struggling to stay interested when they babble on and on


                                  • #18
                                    What excellent advice from everyone!
                                    Be the person that you are. You found something that you are passionate about. Only 10% of the population has a passion for anything in life. You are one of the lucky ones and don't let anyone take that away from you. Never let the guilt fill you with self doubt.


                                    • #19
                                      I'm sorry to read that you are going through a divorce, it is painful, tedious, long at times and sometimes you doubt yourself and are full of "what ifs". That is the nature of divorce.

                                      Give the ponies a carrot or three, cry in their manes, get mad, do what you need to do to preserve your sanity, self respect and never, ever let anyone guilt you into what you "should do".

                                      Horses are a part of us, it is a lifestyle for most, not just some random "hobby" that one can put in the closet and take out on a rainy day when the spouse is otherwise occupied. Sometimes I want to tell people that are thinking of getting married that if one spouse has horses, they should go directly into counseling and get it all on the table at the outset..the costs, the time involved, the relationship with the horse, the shows or not..the vet bills, farrier bills, board costs (if any), etc. Then neither party can claim "I didn't know it would X..(take this much time, cost this much, etc.).

                                      BTW - my first husband told me "it's the horse or me", turns out it wasn't the horse at all, it was the doctor's daughter he was involved with. For a long time I felt a small measure of guilt over having my horse, but I kept her and got the divorce. Within six months he came back wanting to "start over"..oh really? the doctor's daughter dumped him when his money ran out..I wasn't interested either..but I sure enjoyed my mare. I am not married now, but if I were to consider it, I'd lay it all out up front on the table and have the next one sign a contract that he understood that horses are a part of my life, cost X, take up X amount of time and then some..never do I want to hear "it's the horse or me" again. As County said "why would you want to be with someone who hates what you love?"..(paraphrased I believe)

                                      Sometimes the horse is the excuse USED, but rarely is it the entire problem and many times it isn't the problem at all.


                                      • #20
                                        I just wanted to say that I'm sorry you're going through this. I do think you shouldn't blame the horses--if it wasn't them, it would be something else. I left one guy because he tried to make me choose between him and my horse--he gave me an ultimatum and I don't think the answer was what he expected. I know it is very hard right now but it will get better. It happened less than a week ago, you're probably still somewhat in shock. Definitely don't do anything drastic.

                                        It is okay if you don't want to ride for awhile. Take time, deal with this, talk to someone, and then come back to the horses when you are ready. Your feelings aren't rational, but I think they are normal. You need to take care of yourself.

                                        I hope things get better for you soon. I think things like this are often blessings in disguise, opportunities to enter into a new life that is much more full and beautiful than the one before.
                                        exploring the relationship between horse and human