Wife Blindsided by Sudden Divorce
And he has always been such a good partner, too
After 46 years, her good, solid, loving husband is leaving and she is blindsided by this sudden divorce. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson says in this edition of “Ask Amy.”
I recently returned from a week-long visit to help my 90-year-old father, whereupon my husband of 46 years sat me down and said he had contacted a lawyer to file for a divorce, rented an apartment, and wanted me to sell our brand-new home.
He has ALWAYS been a good, solid, loving partner up to this point.
I was completely blindsided by this.
He says there’s no affair. He doesn’t want to see if marriage counseling will work out, although he’s been going to a therapist privately for a year.
I’m in complete shock.
Where do I start emotionally? Legally?
Thank you for your insight.
Mourning in Montana
This is … a truly terrible shock, and I am so sorry. You seem to be stepping into a new demographic of elders: those experiencing what is being called “gray divorce.”
My main advice is for you not to make any financial moves (certainly do not put your home up for sale) until you see an attorney who will represent your interests and help you to approach this dissolution in careful stages. Developing your own game plan will help you to feel – and be – more in control.
Immediately gather all of your tax returns, retirement accounts, income statements, deeds, and any other financial records, and make an extra set of copies. Your husband cannot force you to sell your house on his timetable. Do not agree to anything until you are certain it is the wisest course for you.
Your husband has been deceiving you and has spent the last year strategizing and putting his plan firmly in place without giving you the benefit of any warning. That is both cowardly and brazen.
Until your relationship stabilizes, I don’t think it’s wise to believe everything he says (or possibly anything he says) about his decision or the reasons behind it.
I realize that this is a highly charged and emotional time, but if you start to focus on some of these business matters, you will gain some clarity and feel less blindsided by this sudden divorce.
It would be a big help if you could confide in savvy and stalwart friends or family members. You need people who will not add to the drama, but be a sounding board for you. This is an extremely challenging and emotional time – a time of deep sadness, confusion, and anger. A compassionate therapist would be invaluable. An in-person or online divorce support group will offer you ongoing help and advice.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from a mother mourning non-existent grandchildren to DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
© 2021 by Amy Dickinson