Depressed mature senior gray haired man sitting sad alone by window on couch in living room, african american frustrated leaning on hand thinking about problems.

You know, I’ve found myself in a bit of a bind, and I could really use some advice. The situation is a delicate one, and I want to handle it with care, but at the same time, I need to be firm and clear about my decision.

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I’ve been married for seven months, but it feels like a lifetime. I thought I was ready for this, ready for the commitment and the shared life, but the reality is, I’m suffocating. My wife, bless her heart, is sweet and caring, but she’s also incredibly clingy. She doesn’t give me the space I need to breathe, to be myself, or to enjoy the things I love doing.

Every time I try to have a moment of quiet, she’s there, questioning, suspecting, wanting to know every detail. I can’t even relax on my phone without her thinking I’m chatting with another woman. It’s like I’m under constant surveillance. And don’t get me started on my friends. I’ve almost lost touch with them because she insists on tagging along everywhere I go. They’ve stopped inviting me out because they know she’ll come too, and it changes the whole dynamic.

We’ve talked about this, oh boy, have we talked about it. Over a hundred times, I’ve tried to explain how I feel, how her behavior is pushing me away. She promises to change, to give me space, but it never lasts. Almost immediately, she reverts to her old ways, and the cycle starts all over again. I’m at my wit’s end.

I can’t pretend anymore. I can’t keep up this charade of a happy marriage when inside, I’m miserable. I was born abroad, and my family is all there. They moved back just before COVID, and now, I’ve decided to return too. I need to start fresh, to reclaim my life and my sanity. I’ve made up my mind to go back, and once I’m there, I’ll be far enough away to avoid the immediate fallout.

Here’s the tricky part. I still love her, in a way, but that love is turning into resentment. I can’t stand the thought of hurting her, but I know that staying in this marriage will only make things worse for both of us. We don’t have kids, and she’s not pregnant, so at least we don’t have that added complication.

How do I tell her? Do I drop the bomb and leave, letting her handle the divorce papers while I’m gone? Should I explain my feelings and then go, or is it better to just leave a letter and disappear? I don’t want to see her cry or be there to witness her pain. I need to be gone, to have a clean break, but I also don’t want her to hate me. I’d like us to stay friends, or at least not enemies.

This is tearing me apart. I want to be honest and kind, but I also need to be firm and resolute. I can’t keep living this lie, but I don’t know the best way to end it. How do I tell her without causing more pain than necessary? What’s the right way to handle this mess?

I’ve considered just leaving the papers and going, but that feels so cold and heartless. Yet, at the same time, I don’t want a drawn-out, emotional confrontation. I’m afraid that if I tell her in person, I’ll be swayed by her tears and promises, and I’ll end up staying, trapped in this unhappy marriage.

Is there a way to do this that minimizes the hurt and allows us to part on somewhat amicable terms? Or is that just wishful thinking? Should I just rip off the Band-Aid and go? I need a plan, a strategy that considers her feelings but also prioritizes my need for freedom and peace of mind.

Help me out here. I’m lost and desperate for a way out that doesn’t leave a trail of devastation in its wake. What’s the best approach to tell my wife that I’m done with this marriage and ready to move on? How do I navigate this emotional minefield without blowing everything up?