Sometimes a couple knows for sure they need a divorce. They know it is time to cut those ties and change directions in their lives. But while taking those steps, they begin to feel awkward. Usually, it is because you realize that you have long ago assumed the responsibility for something in your partner’s life that is not yours to carry. It is most often the responsibility to make them feel accepted and happy. Sometimes, it is the responsibility of making sure they have the money your family needs to carry on the week without worry.
Obviously, no one can make anyone happy. When they come home we can flutter around them, asking about their day. We can bring their slippers and robe. We can bring them their dinner and drink. When we go out, we can give them all of our attention. At the end of the night, we have made him look like our God.
We are so good at pretending that he tells us when he is alone, he feels sick. He feels like when we are unable to be together he feels his heart will stop, at any moment. We are not making him feel happy. We are helping him fake it out. How hard it will be for him to open himself to another woman.
It is rare for most couples to handle finances together. Usually, one person will handle all of the money. The partner may be told to not use the debit card or a few days or to lay off the American Express this month. But, that partner has little knowledge of what is in checking, savings, on credit cards, or how much debt they are in.
When the divorce is filed, they find themselves very lonely because they have not had to socialize for a long time. They have not been responsible for their share of being a partner.
When the divorce is filed, they suddenly find themselves unprepared to be financially responsible. It is like starting over. They do not know where to begin. It is frightening. They are not sure what has to be paid and when. What bills are on auto-draft? How far is the kid’s tuition paid?
They come back to you
Even though divorced people hate each other on tv, most of the time they do not. You are confident in yourself. You have carried yourself and your mate all these years so you do not feel a crash and burn coming. You do not question your abilities or your value to your dissolved marriage.
Your ex-spouse will gather the embers of their self-worth and bring it to you. You will listen to them over coffee as they tell you how lonely they are and how they can’t figure out how to budget the money. And you will reassure them, this will pass.
Don’t offer yourself!
As easy as it is to help them, you have to keep a clear line between you. This is why they make counselors. This is why they make financial advisors. You are divorced. You are relieved of duty. Shake it off. You no longer need to help this adult person. To them keeping them happy and balancing their books equals you keeping them happy and that means you still care.
Points of view
Different people read their actions differently. A thank you for helping someone get through a lonely day could be an invitation to your favorite restaurant for dinner. If you accept, you see it as one good turn repaying another. It’s no big deal. It shows two adults can be friends even if they were married to each other. They may see it like two adults hanging out together because neither of you could stand not being together on such a beautiful day. The thought of calling it a day was just too sad so you went out to dinner before you finally forced yourself apart.
Divorce is difficult. During a divorce, you will go through every emotion you have. Your heart will be tested and tried again and again. No matter what your grounds for divorce, you will have days of grieving and days of joy. The best thing you can do is to keep your nutrition up, keep yourself hydrated, and guard your emotions. Remember, this too will pass.
Feature photo credit: Vera Arsic