My husband and I are ending 2022 in a very final way. We are filing for divorce. We have three school-aged children who have watched our marriage break down over the course of the past three years. We feel that we have all suffered enough.
Our marriage and family life seemed normal until COVID-19 hit. Then all that time spent together revealed where he and I weren’t gelling, both on parenting issues and where we saw our lives heading. With nowhere to go, we made a conscious effort to work through our differences. We tried.
We came out of the pandemic still together but exhausted from the effort. It’s been clear since the summer that our marriage is over, but we’ve taken time to try to work out the details before announcing it to the children and our families.
Road to divorce
You signed off with “Road to divorce,” and now you’ve reached that destination. Change your moniker to “Road to recovery” and shift your mindset. There is no failure in divorce. We are all human, which means life happens to us and around us, and we change as a result.
Two people who fall in love in their 20s may not grow together into their 40s, 50s and 60s. There are so many factors that can affect a person and alter their life course.
I imagine you are scared and uncertain of what the future may bring. Co-parenting is different than what you’re used to. Dating at this time of your life is different than when you were last on the scene.
Let go of all the negativity, of all the “why me?” woes. He didn’t leave you; you grew apart. Think of all the positives. Stay strong for your own mental health and for your children.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman in a new relationship having trouble with her stepdaughter (Dec. 12):
Reader – “This letter hit home. Although I came along after my husband’s first marriage broke up, and his kids and I had developed a wonderful and loving relationship, once we became engaged everything changed. His eldest daughter especially, who was entering her teens had a very hard time accepting the change in our relationship. I was no longer a friend of the family, her father, her sister and herself, but Enemy #1.
“Your advice is very good, but I also suggest family counselling. We found it very helpful. I had to learn that the children’s reactions were not so much a rejection of me as a reaction to their realization that the family they once knew would never be again.
“Their father had to accept that he had a right to live his life and be happy so long as he was a father to his children, without allowing them to run his life. The children had to accept that life is about change and acceptance. When we all learned those lessons, we were able to build on that.
“Today I am blessed with the most wonderful relationship with my stepchildren and step-grandchildren. Our relationship is better most natural families’ relationships. Mind you, we were lucky in that their real mother was on our side also. She loved her children enough to want them to always have the best relationship possible with their father. Perhaps this family should enlist the stepdaughter’s mother’s help unless she is part of the problem.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the teenager who completely relies on her mother (Dec. 13):
Reader – “Independence training starts at an early age, though its often easier to just do it yourself. You can’t start training a teenager. They’re totally unreceptive!”
FEEDBACK Regarding the fiancé not saving money (Dec. 12):
Reader – “Marriage is a lifetime of choosing which battles are worth fighting and which are best conceded for the long-term union. If the letter writer’s fiancé is demonstrating new frugality in other choices such as putting off a car purchase, gift-giving, gadgets or activities for himself, this choice of his shouldn't be a stressor.
“If the fiancé isn't demonstrating a difference in other areas, it’s a red flag for the success of their future marriage. If the letter writer is annoyed over a $10 a day coffee or lunch habit, imagine the annoyance she'll feel over the suddenly announced game day and golfing excursions with the boys. Or when he purchases a new vehicle instead of the used one that met their discussed needs.
“She should put the wedding plans on hold. She should put savings into an account only accessible to her and hold off house hunting. Time will tell if this is a serious red flag or not.”
37 years wiser