How to survive a marital separation arrangement?
August 29, 2012 5:23 PM Subscribe
Please help me buckle down and survive the 16 months I have left before my husband abandons me and our kids.
posted by justonegirl to Human Relations (142 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
(Apologies in advance for the length.)
My husband, with my consent, stopped working in November 2011 to focus on his "spiritual path." (We own a business together, he was nearing a nervous breakdown because he was so unfulfilled, so I took it on by myself to give him the space he needed to heal.) Fast forward to the present -- he's decided that he does not believe in marriage, he does not believe in "attachments," there is only the present, and future promises do not exist. He is leaving me and our two sons (ages 2 and 5) at the end of 2013. This is non-negotiable, and was solely his decision.
Why the extended wait? Well, he's agreed (in writing) to spend between now and then working 40 hours per week, no more and no less, on our business to make it more financially stable and to help develop a few ventures that had been in progress before all of this happened. The idea is to leave the business -- which will be transferred solely to me -- in better shape, and to build up a little "nest egg" to help care for the kids he's deserting. During this time, he is living in our home (separate bedrooms, as it's been for a long time) so that our money isn't further depleted on rent payments for him. This makes financial sense, though it is hard.
My issue is this: how can I keep my eye on the prize (the "prize" being him focusing on lessening the financial disaster for me and my kids) over these next 16 months, when I'm so damn angry? I feel the obvious emotions of hurt, anger and betrayal, and I'm just disgusted that his "spiritual path" (a blend of Eastern religions and a bunch of Eckhart Tolle type stuff) means leaving behind the children he helped create. I know this is unkind, but I am repulsed by the language he uses -- "I'm trying to get clean with this...this is really sticky for me... I'm feeling a lot of resistance...I'm really up about this..." -- and I'm repulsed by the "soul family" he's cobbled together who are cheerleading him every step down the path of actual-family abandonment. I am having a very hard time playing nice.
Obviously, anger isn't going to serve our children. Conflict is only going to distract him from whatever minimal efforts he's willing to make to lessen our burden. He could, if he wanted to, walk out tomorrow instead of 16 months from now. I know all of this. And yet, I'm really having trouble focusing on all of this when I feel so upset. I'm devastated for my little boys, who adore their dad and have no clue anything is wrong. I feel used and taken advantage of. I was blindsided by all of this and genuinely believed that things could work out, but they can't. I'm humiliated that the hundreds of people in our field who know us both and associate us as a blissfully married couple will now see I've been abandoned.
Unfortunately, my resources for self-care are pretty low, since I am scraping together every penny in an effort to try to buy some kind of home (we rent a place now) to give my kids, one of whom has special needs, some stability. I am about to head to my second (and possibly last) session with a counselor. After that, my plan is to really focus. I'm talking with a mortgage broker, though my options are very limited because of my husband's mishandling of our business finances. I've put feelers out for an attorney. And we do have this written agreement outlining his "responsibilities" when it comes to work and childcare, and what money he is going to take from us to subsidize his "spiritual retreats" and other activities in the meantime.
I guess I need help managing my emotions, making the best choices for my kids, and surviving these 16 months. Advice or suggestions here, or in MeMail, would mean the world to me. Thanks for reading.