The internet isn’t all trolls and memes. Sometimes, out there in the wilds, there is genuine human connection and empathy to be found. And in this case it’s surfaced on Japan’s own version of Yahoo! Answers, of all places. Read on for one man’s saddening plea for help with his struggling marriage, and the moving advice he received online.

Chie Bukuro, Japan’s Yahoo! Anwers, is where Japanese people flock with questions of all kinds. One poor soul recently turned up seeking advice on the sad situation he’d found himself in with his wife. Divorce has been on the rise in Japan, and this guy is desperately trying to avoid becoming another one of those statistics.

I can’t avoid this divorce, can I?

We are a 35-year-old husband (me) and 35-year-old wife with three children.

My wife has told me she no longer wants to live together with me and my parents. She said she wants out.

I know I need to change and help with the housework, laundry, etc, but it’s already too late. She insists that she can’t live in this house any more, and wants a divorce.

I thought she might be having an affair, so I searched her car and found a letter from her lover. My wife is a beautician, and it seems like she’s been seeing an ex-employee for almost a year.

I was depressed, but I think it was bound to end like this. She wanted a way out after the hard time she’s had since coming to live with me. But I couldn’t not say anything, so I told her about the letter I found in her car. She completely cut me off, asking why I was prying and looking into her stuff.

After that we talked, but she said that even if she left her lover she would still leave me. I thought she would want to take the kids with her, but she said that because it was she who’d had the affair, she would give them up.

I told her that we can’t change the past, but we can change things from here on, and that she won’t be able to take this back in 20 years when she realizes she’s missed the kids growing up. But she didn’t want to hear it.

I love my wife more than anything. Even if she was ill and bedridden I would want to look after her, laugh with her and spend my life with her. I love her so much, and I don’t think there is anyone else for me.

Can anyone tell me how to avoid this divorce?


The top answer, with 1,819 votes and counting, is surprisingly moving. One internet stranger shares his own experiences of adultery and near-divorce that seems to have struck a chord with many a Japanese Netizen.

I was surprised to read this – it’s exactly the position my family was in two years ago.
We had signed the divorce papers, decided on the child support, and told both our parents.
Like with your wife, the divorce was ‘final’.

Two years later… we have a great relationship, and we can both say that now is better even than when we first married.

How did we avoid divorce… Actually, it was just a coincidence. I think it was the chance and good fortune.
I don’t think there’s any 100% effective way to avoid divorce, or any absolute strategy.
So I am just going to write what I thought at the time, and what I decided. Please read on.

When my wife asked for a divorce, I did my best to change myself and help out. But my wife’s feelings didn’t change. By the time she first told me about her feelings of dissatisfaction it was already too late, and I kept thinking ‘if only you’d told me sooner’. Didn’t I get a chance to try to change?! I couldn’t stand it.

Then I discovered proof of my wife’s affair (i.e. the truth of the matte).

Of course at first I was so angry. She had hidden the existence of her lover from me, and tried to use ‘irreconcilable differences’ as the reason for divorce – but I had seen her reasons.
I decided to take the palimony, not give up the kids, and screw her over. The reasons she’d told me were all a lie, and really she just wanted to be with this other guy!

I think you understand these feelings.

I spoke with my friends. Everyone said the same things: ‘Take the palimony and don’t give up the kids;’ ‘Don’t forgive her;’ ‘You’re not the one in the wrong.’ But for some reason I couldn’t shake my feelings, even after listening to their advice. I think this is because deep inside I still loved my wife.

I think you understand these feelings.

So I thought about it. I thought seriously about ‘what is love’ (lol). I thought about what I should do if I truly loved my wife and kids.

Even if we split up, my kids’ parents would still be me and my wife. There would be a dirty battle in court, and whether or not they ruled in my favour… well there was no real desirable outcome.

Aren’t you fixated on not divorcing?
Can you try to change your focus?
I don’t want you to regret this in 20 years’ time.

I said to my wife, ‘You can take the kids, and you be with this guy (her lover). I won’t blame you, and I’ll send you child support. There’s only one condition… I want you to let me see my kids whenever I want.’ These were my true feelings. At that time, I stopped thinking about how to avoid the divorce, and I stopped thinking about who was in the wrong, and thought about our relationship from there on. Because this was my family, even if we weren’t legally together, or if we remarried. My wife accepted these terms. Even though we were divorcing, and acting like a couple in front of the kids, we were able to smile.

But after that… we reconciled.

Basically I said to my wife, ‘I’m not going to blame him, but I want to talk to the guy.’ I wanted to tell him to make her happy. So my wife told the guy ‘my husband wants to have a calm conversation with you.’

And the guy ran. Suddenly he cancelled his mobile phone, and cut off all contact with my wife.
My wife was angry and depressed. Even so, she said she still wanted a divorce.

The day to hand in the divorce papers was gradually getting closer. We’d done all the preparations, and told our respective parents. The day was almost there.

But things between us had improved.

My wife asked me why I didn’t blame her for the affair. I told her it was because I was in the wrong too.
I wasn’t thinking at all about getting compensation from the lover, or about who was responsible for the turmoil of the divorce. Things with my family had really changed for the better. I was satisfied with that. 

And then, amidst that atmosphere, we arrived at the day of the divorce.

“Do you want to put it off?” my wife asked.

I said okay…

And now, two years later, we’re still ‘putting it off’ (lol).

All my friends tell me I’m pussy-whipped and a loser (lol).

But I’m satisfied. I would have been even if we’d gotten a divorce. I can say that with certainty. There is a certain dignity in throwing away your pride over winning and losing.

I think that as you spend the years together and overcome things, you become ‘family’, regardless of whether that’s what you legally are.

So I hope you can come to a resolution that you won’t regret in 20 years time.
I’m supporting you.
Take care of yourself.

Sometimes the kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing. We hope by sharing his own ordeals he managed to make the original poster feel a little better, whatever the ultimate outcome is.

Source: Chie Bukuro
Top Image: Men’s Divorce Law Blog