How to Handle Those Mixed "Marriage
By Susie and Otto Collins
"We're splitting up...I think," Elizabeth finds
herself telling friends and family when they ask
about how things are going between she and her
Since 3 months ago when Jared announced to Elizabeth
that he doesn't love her anymore and he wants a
divorce, life has felt chaotic and draining.
Elizabeth did not want to get a divorce, but she
also did not (and does not) want to be in a loveless
marriage with a partner who wants to leave.
Since Jared's crushing declaration, Elizabeth has
come to accept the fact that she will soon be single
again. She has researched attorneys and has even
looked into getting an apartment.
The trouble now is that Jared seems to be
backtracking on his decision to leave. He seems to
have made no effort to proceed with getting a
divorce or even moving out.
Some days Jared is even loving and affectionate with
Elizabeth which confuses her even more.
When you've been with a partner for a period of
time, it can sometimes be difficult to actually
leave-- even if you are certain that it's time to
On one level, you might have become so used to
having this person in your life that the idea of
moving out and not having that company,
companionship and perhaps even intimacy is really
This may even be the case if you and your mate
argue, fight and/or are cold and distant with one
It might not even make sense to you why there is a
hesitancy to leave when it's so clear that divorce
is going to be best in the long-run.
On another level, there could very well be financial
and logistical reasons why you haven't taken the
steps to actually separate or file for a divorce.
Perhaps neither of you want to spring this kind of
change on your kids right now and are waiting a
Or, maybe you simply don't have the money to pay for
a divorce or for one of you to move out at this
Whatever the reason, if one or both of you have
decided to breakup and-- besides making that
decision-- nothing more has been done, it can create
confusion and further pain.
Yes, of course, the hesitancy might give you two the
opportunity to work through your challenges and
rebuild your marriage. This is a possibility.
But if one or both of you are ready to divorce or
separate and the two of you keep living as if you
are contentedly married, a big mess can result.
Keep listening mostly to what you want to do
Elizabeth was initially grateful that Jared didn't
rush out and file for divorce. This made her wonder
if he was reconsidering his plan to leave.
As more weeks have passed without any action from
him, however, Elizabeth has grown more and more
She finds herself waiting to see how he treats her
each evening before guessing what the future might
hold. This has proven to be an emotional roller
Finally, a close friend asked Elizabeth what she
wants to do. This friend suggested to Elizabeth that
she listen to her own plan for the future and leave
Jared's ever-changing moods out of the picture.
We highly recommend that you become clear about what
Listen most of all to yourself instead of trying to
guess what your mate might want.
Even if your partner is verbally clear about what he
or she wants to do, don't give over your power.
While you cannot force your mate to stay married to
you, you do have a lot of choices about your future.
If you are unsure about what you want, you might be
feeling overwhelmed or conflicted. Try to take it
day-by-day if you can. Then, extend out from
For example, it might be upsetting to share a
bedroom with your mate after hearing that he or she
wants a divorce.
Honor how you feel and set up separate rooms for
each of you. One of you might also have a friend or
family member whom you could stay with until a more
permanent situation is arranged.
Continue to check in with you and then make requests
and create agreements with your partner that are in
alignment with what you want.
Set goals and time frames that are specific and
Once you know what you are ready to do, create a
specific plan so that you don't feel stuck in a
limbo of confusion and increasing pain.
Even if your partner was the one to initiate the
breakup, if you are ready to take steps toward such
a move, do so.
If it seems to you that you will be better able to
heal and get your life back on track with the wheels
of a separation or divorce in motion, write down
specific goals and when you'd like to have those
You might decide to meet with an attorney to find
out what needs to happen and how much it will all
cost, for instance.
You may choose to tour apartments and get a better
idea of what's available and within your budget. You
might also look at your income and expenses to
determine what your budget is.
All of these steps might feel scary and foreign to
you. But the alternative-- staying in a marriage
that both of you are ready to end-- may be
confusing, painful and even stagnating.
The choice is truly up to you.