The dictionaries definition of em·pa·thy [em-puh-thee] –noun the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
When the estranged husband received the divorce papers, he was very angry. I was surprised by his reaction. He did tell me he could not be with me. What else did he expect? The month before, he had let me know he had hired a divorce attorney. I only hired one in reaction to his getting one; to protect myself. I fully expected to be served by his attorney first.
We talked about it. He said he had written a letter detailing his faults in the marriage (I never received such a letter; I doubt he ever wrote such a thing). I had repeatedly told him what I needed from him to make the marriage work. He was unwilling to give this to me. He told me now what he expected from me to make the marriage work. He said (and I quote exactly), “I have no empathy for you. I have never had empathy for you. I will never have any empathy for you. That is the condition that you accept us staying together.” I could not believe he was saying this. I told him this was unacceptable. He was angry that I was saying no to his ultimatum.
When people have asked me what he meant by this ultimatum, my interpretation has been that even though he told me in the marriage that he loved me, he truly did not. How could he love me and not identify with my feelings? How could he love me and not understand my thoughts? Here he was telling me he never would put any effort into it, either.
Whenever he files another lawsuit against me, his words come ringing back into my ears. I believe that was the only time he was ever truly honest with me.