There’s divorce and then there is the period prior to the divorce. This is when a couple typically has not redefined any terms for their new relationship. It is hard to be married, and not be married. Kinda weird….
For men, they express feeling exhausted by the emotional pull to reunite, feelings of guilt for leaving the children and being angry about another man being around his family. A soon-to-be-Ex-wife may not be quite prepared for the nuances of single parenting and desires another attempt “to make it right.” You’re not there and don’t want to be! It sucks when friends and family inform you of the somber faces of your children due to your absence. No one wants to hear their mother tell them how sad her “grambabies” are because “Ya’ll grown folks can’t seem to get it together…I didn’t raise you like this.”
And most importantly, when choosing to leave the family home, nothing prepares a man to see another man sitting in his favorite chair when he drops off his children. Yes, your wife may begin another relationship prior to the finalization of the divorce. You can choose to do the same, but it often doesn’t work out well for many. We don’t have too many understood or unwritten rules for this scenario. People make them up as they go along and it often goes badly! All of these scenarios are difficult to accept. These are also matters we do not consider when agreeing to divorce. When doing so, we agree to all the issues, planned and unplanned, which accompany it.
For women, very often, an abuser increases his abuse. How do you leave a man and he acts worse than he did when you lived with him? It happens! He feels he has lost control so he seeks ways to influence your life. This is a man you were not able to have a marriage or family life with. Yet, if you have children, he is family! You have to create amicable relations with him when you know you can’t stand him! And the feeling is mutual!
The verbal and emotional abuse intensifies. When he calls, you feel the same level of anxiety as you did when you lived together. He continues to make requests of you and expects you to do it! It can be difficult to establish boundaries, especially if he continues to provide a form of financial support. In his eyes, divorced or not, until you remarry, you’re his wife!
In addition, a woman may now have to adapt to being a single mother. It can be hard to watch your Ex live the lifestyle of a single man while you remain at home with his children, without help. It adds to any resentment, hurt and feelings of low-worth you picked up from the marital problems. The last thing you need is another reason not to like him and his way-too-happy-to-be-single-life!
In between these inconsistent, emotional and unstable times, frequently we have to find ways to co-parent, to resolve financial matters, to inform family and friends, to create new lives and to forgive. Be honest with yourself about feelings and thoughts. Do not act impulsively. Definitely do not use divorce court to get even for the argument after your best friend’s wedding in 2005. And know, you have time, even after the divorce papers have been signed, to be polite to one another. It doesn’t have to be for the sake of children. It can be for the sake of your own sanity.