How to Avoid Harming an Ex-Husband

Soon after my marriage, I realized that my husband was simply not a mentsch. I consulted several rabbanim, a psychologist and a marriage counselor. All were unanimous that I should get out of the marriage because there was little hope that he could change even with therapy, and I received a get.

To the outside world, he appears to be a fine person. Many people, even my relatives, are critical of me why I didn’t give the marriage a chance, and that with marriage counseling, things could have worked out. I don’t want to smear him, nor can I even get myself to disclose the nature of the problem. But I feel crushed by everyone’s attitude. My parents are the only ones who know the truth, and they, too, are being criticized. What can I do in this situation?

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You are right in not disclosing the problem to others. However, if he is going to remarry and you will be asked about him, you must consult a posek as to what to say. Withholding information that could be important to a prospective wife may be in violation of lo taamod al dam re’acha (Do not stand by idle while your fellow’s blood is being spilled [Leviticus 19:16] which means that one is obligated to prevent someone from being harmed), and you need a posek’s decision on what you may or should say.

It is not uncommon for a person to be seen as very fine socially, but to be a very different person at home. Some women who have been married to abusive husbands say that when they related the husband’s behavior to the Rav, he did not believe them because he was considered a tzaddikin shul.

You sought competent opinions and you followed their instructions. All you can say to people who criticize you is that you were advised by competent, authoritative people to leave the marriage. They will eventually stop bothering you.