If you’ve read much of this site, you’ll notice that I’m not all that fond of divorce as a way to “solve” the problems that develop in relationships over time. I think we’re much too quick to bail out on a relationship when trouble hits, without really trying to meet our spouses in the middle. (Please understand that I am NOT talking about abusive relationships here. If you’re in an abusive relationship, get out now!) As a man, I’ll tell you this, we’re different from you in the way we handle life, the way we express our love and affection, and we often struggle to understand your needs. (Heck, we can’t even understand why you all go to the bathroom together.) But we’re also problem solvers. We have a need to fix things. But sometimes we pick the wrong fix. We want more sex, so instead of finding a way to make our sex life better with you, we take a lover. We don’t always understand how easily we can devastate you with our actions. But, we’re not beyond hope either.
I truly believe that men are no better off divorced than they are if they work to save their marriage, and let’s face it, most women are much worse off following a divorce. You’re standard of living is going to get clobbered, you’re going to face single parenting issues that you’ve never had to deal with before and your sense of security is most likely going to go out the window. So before you divorce that miserable bum, take another look at him. Remember the man who knelt to propose to you. Try to remember that flutter in your stomach when he took you in his arms. Then believe that you can feel that again. Give him a chance, work on saving your marriage with him, try to meet him at least part of the time on his ground, and chances are there will be a better solution than divorce. But know this, you’re going to have to understand how he operates, emotionally and physically. He’s going to have to learn the same about you. It won’t be a walk in the park at first, but trust me, divorce is worse. And in five years, you’re going to be five years down the road one way or the other. You can be five years past your divorce, or you can be five more rewarding years into your marriage.
While I’m trying very hard not to add any additional combat to your divorce, I also understand that women face different challenges than men when going through a divorce. I’ve identified some specific resources that may help you navigate this process, and deal with some of the unique challenges facing women during and after a divorce. I’ve also got just a few things that I’d like to say at this point, which I hope you’ll take to heart and remember as you go through this process.
No matter how poorly your husband has treated you, no matter how many affairs he has had, or how little he helps around the house, he is still Daddy to your kids. Daddy is just as necessary and important to their health as Mommy is. Please don’t try to get even with him for what he’s done to you by robbing your kids of his involvement in their lives. Don’t use visitation or custody as a tool to manipulate him. Fight for what you need in terms of support, but also try to not involve the kids in that fight. You may not respect him anymore, but your kids should be allowed to.
At this point in time, there are less and less assumptions about divorce, in terms of who gets what, how custody and visitation gets resolved, etc. You may already be reeling emotionally from the breakup of your marriage, and now you find yourself trying to survive the legal battle. You may be feeling totally lost and frightened, worried about your financial and emotional future.