Till Death Do Us Part- A New Age Alternative to Divorce

After balking on divorce, this reader learned how time can help heal even the deepest of divides.

by Doris Armento • More.com Member { View Profile }

The third factor was that there were many times when we did have a good time together and our sex life was not significantly impacted.  We were great playmates when we were enjoying some common interests through the years like golf, skiing, and most recently, the opera. Add to that, we both have a great sense of humor, and laughter is always good medicine for any relationship. We do share many good memories of our children as they were growing up, of trips we took and fun times together. Most of all, we remember the passion that we once had for one another, that time in our lives when we were very much “in love.” I guess we both wanted to hold on to those memories and escape into the past. Unfortunately, whenever we had to resolve a life dilemma or any sort of problem be it large or small, the boxing gloves were always ready to come out. Years of sparring finally caught up with us in our sixties. We were just too tired to get in the ring anymore.

This final fatigue together with another major factor was the final turning point. We had gone from not liking one another to not being able to stand one another and the daily tension between us was insurmountable.  At long last, we decided we both wanted out of the marriage and that the sooner we could be on our own, the better. Yet, when we looked at the logistics of getting a divorce, we realized that this was not a realistic solution for us for several reasons. We could not afford a divorce at a time when the economy was in such a critical state and our retirement income and portfolio was being significantly affected. We would both have to make drastic changes to our life style and living situation.  Furthermore, neither of us was emotionally braced for the stress and strain of going through a divorce at this time in our lives and thirdly, we did not want a divorce to impact our relationship and contact with our children and grandchildren.  

In lieu of a better solution, we first tried a “cease fire” co-habitation and became housemates living under the same roof, but there remained an undercurrent of tension between us. Communication between us was very limited, but we experienced a mounting need to escape from the pressure of “playing nice” with a house buddy who could at any moment bring out the old ghosts from the closet. I was desperate to find a solution that we could both live with and would not cripple us financially.

The answer that I came up with was for me to find a reasonable condo for rent near my daughter who lives out of state.  We would put our house up for sale and my husband would remain there as long as it would take to sell and then find a smaller place to live. It occurred to me that I would be solving three problems with my move. First, I would be moving from an intolerable situation to find long needed peace of mind and some emotional stability in my life.  Secondly, I would be readily available to help a loving daughter as she juggles the needs of a career, a husband, a home, an infant and a toddler.  Thirdly, I would be moving somewhere that I had visited often and really liked and had the promise of finding the serenity I longed for.

Much to my surprise, my husband agreed that this separation would be an equitable solution.  Our separation would not be a legal one, but would be one where we set the parameters. We would retain the status of married but technically live in two different residences, one that we owned and one rental. When the sale of our house was imminent, I would assist with the search for a small townhouse or condominium that would belong to both of us and I would continue to rent. We would work to establish a cordial relationship between us, unrestricted communication, and visitations between both the residences, especially in light of my husband’s wish to visit our grandchildren who I would be living close to. 

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