Is there a time factor on how long a person can live with someone they no longer love?
I’d been doing my best during the months of the pandemic, to put up with all that I felt was wrong between my husband and me.
Being locked down, the switch to working from home, the constant needs of the kids when there’s no play dates or real school… it was all stressful but necessary for getting through it safely, so I put my emotions aside.
As our area opened up, we joined our closest friends for a couple of patio dinners, but even with some added socializing, I still felt distanced from him, and not normal.
When I learned that I could finally hug my mother in person, I cried. She immediately told me she “understood.”
My parents divorced when I was ten, so I feel she knows my feelings without our having discussed them.
Do I blame the pandemic and stick it out till we’re back to “normal?”
Or do I believe some “experts” that we have a second wave coming, maybe even followed later by a third - with our way of life changed to a somewhat different “normal?”
Divorce or Delay?
If, in both heart and mind, you feel that divorce is inevitable, get informed to deal with the issues involved. This personal preparation is especially important now.
It’s prompted a Canadian lawyer, Russell Alexander, in his second book on divorce law in Ontario, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Divorce, to add a chapter specifically on divorce in the time of this coronavirus pandemic.
But he first steers away from courts and divorce laws to tips for couples that include self-reflection, communication, couple time, understanding that feeling stress is normal, staying positive.
That’s mental health-and relationship-based advice, to be considered before contemplating legal matters.
As for going to court, the guiding principle is “cooperation, not litigation,” if at all possible.
Ontario courts are operating only for the most urgent matters, at the time of Alexander’s writing his book.
“Urgent” example: Requests for urgent relief relating to the safety of a child or parent (e.g. a restraining order).
The author’s summary on custody and access - two fiercely-fought battles between some divorcing parents - shines welcome common-sense light:
Until the pandemic is over, children’s lives and vitally important family relationships cannot be placed “on hold” indefinitely without risking serious emotional harm and upset, he notes.
In these troubling and disorienting times, children need the love, guidance and emotional support of both parents.
“Blended” families are also addressed regarding worries over Covid spread through more family members:
“Each family will have its own unique issues and complications.… But no matter how difficult the challenge, for the sake of the child we have to find ways to maintain important parental relationship - and above all, we have to find ways to do it safely.”
To the letter-writer today, and others who in the past four months have turned the word “divorce” around in their heads, this book is a primer on the realities involved.
There are many other related issues to consider beyond this book, of course - such as legal and court costs, along with counselling fees to try and avoid divorce if possible.
But if pandemic stress, over-exposure to a controlling partner, or some other reason has you considering marriage break-up, you’ll learn a lot from this primer on what’s involved.
I have a daughter, 11, and a son, six. The summer programs we’d planned for them aren’t happening.
But though I live downtown in a high-rise condo, I’m lucky to have a couple of friends with backyard pools and a few others who’ve rented cottages just an hour out of town.
Also, I work part-time at home and can do it in the mornings and evenings.
If my daughter’s invited to a pool or cottage (and not my son), I’m thinking it’s assumed that I would stay and visit (due to the drive) and that I’d also have to bring my son.
Am I Right?
You won’t know for sure unless you ask. But you can raise your chances by saying you’d love to bring something - e.g. a fruit bowl or a salad, and some post-swim treats.
Then add, “I hope it’ll be alright to bring my son, whom I’ll watch in the water.”
Tip of the day:
Divorce in the time of COVID-19 adds stress to stress. Get informed/prepared, unless you/your children need to seek safety first.