Need Help Dealing During Pre-Divorce

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-08-2009
Need Help Dealing During Pre-Divorce
Tue, 06-04-2013 - 4:48pm

I haven't been active on the boards for awhile, but I'm finding myself in need of some opinions/guidance. Thank you for reading in advance. 

My quick history: My husband and I have recently decided it is time for a divorce. The main reason is that he's had several EAs and one full-on A, and I do not feel I can be married to him any longer. We have agreed to make it as civil as possible - but due to financial reasons, are unable to move forward (and him out) as quickly as we'd like. We'll be living together for the next couple of months until everything is taken care of, and then will proceed with an Uncontested Divorce, without attorneys or mediation. There are no children/property/etc. to be concerned with as far as this goes, nor am I pursuing any alimony. 

We were friends for several years before we started dating and would like to continue that friendship as best we can after the divorce. We both do care about each other, but the trust and romantic part of our relationship is gone. We set up some boundaries to make the living arrangement as easy as possible - one of which is we will be honest with each other about everything. I also requested (and he agreed) that while we are still legally married, neither of us pursue another romantic relationship, out of respect for each other. We also agreed not to tell our families and friends (other than very close ones) about the divorce until the time when he moves out and the divorce is in process. We each have a close friend (that the other knows about) who we have told about the situation, as we both find it impossible to deal with alone.

The issue I am currently dealing with is this: he is hiding things from me again. Namely, a female "friend" that he talks and texts regularly and has gone out with more than once with a small group of friends (they've supposedly never been out just the two of them). I found out about it recently by sheer chance (not by snooping), and I was once again hurt and devastated. This was going on long before he and I had the "divorce talk" and he continued to hide it after the talk, because - as he puts it - he was "fearful of how I would react". 

I am not and have never been a jealous or angry person. I have no problem with him having friends or socializing with coworkers. I know most of his friends and he knows mine. I have never blown up at him for anything he's been honest with me about (of course I have blown up when I found out on my own - i.e. his affairs). I am feeling at my wit's end with this - and he doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong with his behavior.

I guess my question is - am I overreacting about this? Even though we agreed not to keep secrets, is it okay that he has friends (and goes out with friends) I don't know about? I realize it's neither here nor there with regards to our marriage, but he has a history of this behavior (heck, it's the reason we are getting a divorce!), and I'm not sure I can really have a "friendship" with him after we are officially separated. I have no choice but to deal with him for the next few months, and I have no other options as far as moving out - so I'd really appreciate opinions on how to deal with this for the time being. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Tue, 06-04-2013 - 8:15pm

I think your expectations are being a bit unrealistic.  While you were married, he did not respect you or kept his marriage vow (and had other women), so why would that change when you become friends?  You cannot really demand him not to keep secrets from you and not be invovled with others when you are, for all intent and purposes, divorced.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 06-04-2013 - 8:28pm

I think that since you've already decided to get divorced, what do you gain by monitoring what he is doing & with whom?  I can see that since you are stuck living together, you would want him flaunting dating in your face, but I think it's past the time where you each should constantly be knowing what the other person is doing.  You should be living basically like roommates now--would you demand that a roommate tell you every person he/she was talking to and when & where he/she was going?  And to your knowledge, what is he actually even doing?  He is talking to a woman who you at least think he's never even gone out with alone--so what do you expect him to do?  Tell you "hey today I had a phone conversation with X" every time he talks to her--do you report to him every person that you talk to and what each one of you said?  I know this is difficult but I think it's time to start the separation process which is not being involved in each other's lives.  I also think it's probably not that realistic to be actual friends--you can be civil and maybe even friendly.  You don't have kids so there's no reason you have to see each other--you should be working on making other friends (I'm sure you already have friends).  Do you think you'll each be hanging around with each other while you might have another BF & he has a GF?  I think that would be awkward.  After my 2nd divorce (to a guy I had no kids with) occasionally we'd go out to eat or something but then I just thought "what am I doing?"  Once I didn't have the romantic feelings for him any more, then I just found him kind of boring & annoying.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Tue, 06-04-2013 - 9:52pm


I agree with the others and to say it loosely your stbx is a piece of work.. Please re read what you wrote.. It made sense until the end .. You are getting a divorce because he cheats and then now you are separating and he cheats and you dont want him to cheat.. Does that make sense?? ....

You have given your stbx the freedom to do what he wants and he is going to do it whether or not you like it.. He doesnt care what you think because his behavior reflects your marriage... and its sad and disgusting at the same time..

Anyway; yes live as room mates and have your own life whatever that is for you... Its going to sting for awhile knowing what he is doing but it wont last long. You can do this for a few months.. Attend therapy or support groups and keep busy and go about your business... Look at this now as a business deal and not a marriage or a friendship.. As far as being friends it wont happen overnight and it will take years to heal and then maybe you can be friends.. But while its fresh and new you cannot be friends with him.. Even after a few years passes you might not want to be friends anyway... Process your feelings each day and find others who can relate to you and have empathy for what you are going through.. Dont dwell or give your stbx any space in your head.. To me it sounds somewhat mentally abusive so cut all ties and move on the best you can..

Good Luck

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Wed, 06-05-2013 - 2:20am

I agree with the others, your expectations are unrealistic. Since he didn't honor the marriage vows I wouldn't expect him to honor a promise to not have involvements during this period. You are trying to separate your lives so its time to know less about what the other is doing--so forget the "no secrets" thing. And why try to be friends with him?

Like others said, consider yourselves roommates. I think its reasonable to ask him to not bring any gf's to your shared home (too awkward and painful) but who he talks to or what he does away from the home is his business, just as if you two could afford to be in separate places now. Don't ask, don't tell.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-08-2009
Wed, 06-05-2013 - 2:44pm

Thank you all for the replies! I think this is the first time I've been able to see the situation from an outside perspective, other than being right smack in the middle of it. I don't think I've really acknowledged that things are different and haven't fully adjusted, mentally, to the roommate scenario we're in. I've been focusing too much on the 'how to save this friendship' and not figuring out what is truly best for me. 

I am going to take the steps to make this a true roommate situation for the time being and focus on myself. Thank you for the kick in the pants I think I really needed!

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Wed, 06-05-2013 - 11:47pm

  I came on this a little late and have slightly different tack.  There is no reason not to live as roommates and not bother being jealous or controlling in the end it works against you.  Be friends it is in your best interest.  Not only now but in the future.  Friends are important who knows what the future will bring.  Accept people for whom they are.  And go about your business with no baggage. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2013
Thu, 06-06-2013 - 12:42pm

While I agree with the comments and recommendations expressed here, I also very much understand your feelings. My husband of almost 30 years had (and has) an affair and circumstances also dictated that we remain under the same roof while pursuing separation/divorce. Every time he whipped out his phone to text someone, it was like a dagger in my heart, because I assumed (often rightly) that he was texting her. We had always assured one another that fidelity was THE most important thing to both of us and that, if either of us reached the point where we wanted to go that route, we would divorce first. This felt - and still feels - like the ultimate in betrayal. So I get how you feel, even if the expectation could be deemed to be unrealistic. 

On the other hand, don't we have the right to set certain expectations of behavior with ANY roommate? Personally, I would say that if he just can't wait, he should move his sorry a** out and into her bed. They deserve each other. Any woman who would get involved in a relationship with a still-married man deserves him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Sat, 06-08-2013 - 12:05pm

Yes I somewhat agree with the last poster and forgot to add that my ExHusband and I a few years ago stayed in our marital  home together until we could divorce.. Only thing is that I left him because he had a mental illness about 15 months prior to me moving back into our home because of legal mumbo jumbo.. So at that point we were room mates until we could sell the house and divorce; but the time I was out of the house ex already had a few relationships and at that point had a steady gfriend.. Now we did the best we can but yes at times it stung me big time and it hurt like hell even though I didnt want him there were good days and bad..

I am just talking now because its one and in the past but I do remember feeling hurt when I had to watch my ex buy his gfriend lots of things, take her on vacation and buy her clothes and he even paid her rent .. Meanwhile I was struggling and barely eating but hey that is what I chose to do as the lawyers insisted I stay in that marital home to keep a close eye on the Ex.. You see divorce is war and there are so many legalities and the like that one spouse if not careful can lost alot.. I wanted to make sure my controlling ex didnt control our divorce.. So as I say its a choice..

After a bit me and ex were sort of cordial and treated each other like room mates but I wont say it was easy but it was a process..To keep myself somewhat sane I attended counseling and support groups and saw my friends and did the best I could.. That is all you can do is do the best you can if this is what you choose..

I would agree though if your ex wants his woman then let him go and stay with her or get out.. Unfortunately mine wouldnt leave and I had nowhwere else to go so we coped like that for about a year and half.. That was years ago and we both moved on and out of the marital home..The only thing I regret now that I look back on it was that I wished I had enjoyed myself more in the house and done more but I sunk at times into major depression. Not saying this will happen to you but please be aware all sorts of emotions and pain and things will set you off.. It could sting big time and there will be good days and bad.. Sometimes I wish I didnt choose that path but its all over now and done.

take care

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-08-2009
Sun, 06-09-2013 - 1:09pm

Thank you to Xxxs, North, and Freeatlast for your replies. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who has gone through this. 

I'm still not entirely turning off the faucet on being friends post-divorce, but I have decided it is not as important as it was before - and it is no longer my primary focus. I think the resolution to my issue was that we needed a firmer, clearer line of what "living as roommates" was. For all intents and purposes, the only thing that had changed was that we were not sleeping the same bed - and I think it was making me incredibly resentful and making it more difficult to distinguish feelings. 

I've unblurred the lines and made it very clear that I am not 'taking care of him/the house' while we go through this (like I've always done). I work from home and really don't go out much but I've started stepping out of my comfort zone - making plans with friends I haven't seen in awhile, joining a support group, and finding things outside of the house to do and see on my own. I've also made MYSELF my main focus for the time being - instead of worrying how my actions and words will affect him. I'm not being mean, but I'm 100% honest - which is my true self. I've spent too many years worrying about and taking care of everyone else, and it's time to change that.

As far as this new woman goes, I don't actually think there is anything romantic/relationship-y going on. I think he lied about a new friend because he was afraid I'd blow a gasket. Either way, I'm no longer concerning myself with what he chooses to do. If that's how he wants to live his life, I know karma will give him (and her) what they deserve.