During the pandemic, I went into the office several times a week as lone employee on site. My wife’s already-thriving home-based business actually increased during Covid as it has great online appeal.
Unfortunately, working from home somehow also inspired her to search dating sites and she developed an online relationship which, during the past summer, started an in-person affair.
She only revealed this to me two months ago, saying that she’s in love, has hired a lawyer, and intends to divorce me. She says that our son, 14, is old enough to handle this and we’ll both have equal access.
I’m still shell-shocked. After 16 years of a marriage without any serious conflicts, she’s rushed into this divorce plan without any pre-discussion of whatever she felt was missing between us, refusing counselling and any chance for us to work things out.
I’m getting counselling for myself and for helping our son adapt, and I’ve also had to hire a lawyer. That’s where I learned the financial reality: My wife has always earned more than me, and also has had her own investment portfolio (there was no prenuptial agreement).
It means she owes me financial support along with equalization of our assets - house, cars, a rental property which we own jointly.
She’s furious. When I raised our getting together to discuss our son, she swore at me and said I was a greedy man whose true nature had emerged. I reacted badly and said she was not only a cheater but trying to be a thief. She hung up on me.
The woman I’d loved is now a stranger to me.
How do I stay focused on getting through the divorce without overreacting to the changes in her, and helping our son with the support he needs and a co-parenting plan that he can handle emotionally? How can we share custody when there’s so much animosity between us?
Outraged Husband/Unrecognizable Wife
Do not engage. It’s unfortunately common in many divorces, that when money is the bargaining power on only one side, things get ugly.
But divorce laws exist for the purpose of relying on professional lawyers you’ve hopefully chosen based on their experience and your trust.
Talk to your lawyer (sometimes her/his associate team members are available at a lesser hourly fee, yet overseen by the lead lawyer).
Leave to the experts any responses to outrageous edicts or offers from your wife’s side.
Taking the high road is also important regarding your son. When the divorce is over, he’s still in the early stages of adjustment. He needs to have a relationship with both of you if at all possible.
It’ll mean period email exchanges (phone chats can reel you into fights), and the ability to do drop-offs and pick-ups without nasty comments. There will also be times, e.g., through school activities and extended family, when you both need to be present. And civil.
My family’s broken apart over money. My older brother won’t talk to me, my sister and her husband say I’m mean and cheap, and my elderly father’s upset with all of us.
Both couples have more money than me. I help my father by buying and bringing him food, doing errands, his laundry, taking him for doctors’ visits, etc.
What can I do to heal my family?
Sad and Angry
Ditch the anger, it only perpetuates it among everyone. Carry on as you’re doing, giving of your time and personal efforts to help your father.
FEEDBACK Regarding unwanted politics-based and other unsolicited emails (September 14):
Reader – “The recipient doesn’t have to justify why they don’t want to receive them.
“A straightforward “Please stop sending me political emails” would suffice. This would apply to any emails people forward be it political, memes, jokes, etc.
“If someone’s spamming you with emails, clearly tell the sender to stop.
“When email was in its infancy, I had a friend who would forward many things. I asked him to remove me from his list and advised that next time I would reply to everyone with some embarrassing stories about him.
“He soon sent another email. I did what I said I’d do and never received another joke, image, or feel-good story from him.
Reader #2 – “The simple solution is to just block the sender. I’ve had total success by doing so for years, and never heard from them again.”
Tip of the day:
When divorce issues get nasty, disengage from fighting your soon-ex. Let your lawyer explain what’s legally fair.