Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | January 25, 2010

The Conversation Continues…

…but nothing much has changed.

By the time we got the kids down to sleep tonight, it was obvious that Penny was exhausted.

“You’re beat. We can continue the talk about our separation sometime in the next couple days,” I said.

She nodded. I turned out the lights and came downstairs with my laptop. Surfing blogs. Checking Facebook. Before too long, however, she came down.

“What was it you wanted to talk about?” She asked.

Penny is one of those people who needs her sleep. When she hits the Wall of Sleep, she’s done. So for her to come downstairs after collapsing into bed tells me she was rather worried about what might be on my mind. [I had told her on Saturday that we should begin hammering out the details of our separation some time this weekend.]

We talked. We pretty much reiterated the points to which we already agreed. The problem is… many of the financial issues and parenting plan issues depend upon how our employment situation shakes out, and we haven’t made any progress on that front. Until we resolve the matter of the house — do we short sell, allow the bank to foreclose, declare bankruptcy, or even (gasp) find a way for one of us to keep the house? — we don’t even know what our debt load looks like. And until we know who is working where, we don’t really have a good idea as to what kind of co-parenting arrangement would make sense.

This is all true, although some of the “little” stuff we could start working out now — who gets what among our joint material possessions (mostly books and kitchenware and furniture). I also brought up the issue of our separation itself — we need to figure out when we are officially separated, when we are free to see other people, when we tell people, and all that. She acknowledged the point, and we talked about it some (more as a concept than with regard to any actual details).

So, the Conversation regarding our divorce continues. We didn’t actually resolve any details — well, except for one: how and where we would sign up Child #2 for Kindergarten, which is coming up pretty fast now. We didn’t even make a firm agreement on how to proceed ( One of those do-it-yourself legal kits? Talk to a mediator? — I didn’t suggest that last, but mention it as an illustration of the point).

But, we at least had the conversation, and from it I took away a few things.

First, we remain agreed to the basic principles that we had originally discussed. That’s good.

Second, she seemed to be reassured that I wasn’t proposing anything new or different from what we had originally discussed… which I think is a good sign. If she’s worried that I might want to change the deal, then that implies she feels she has just as much as stake as I have in our resolving this amicably. That’s good. If we’re both invested in making sure we resolve this all peacefully, then I think that bodes well for us achieving it.

Third, I’m going to have to be the driver on getting this done.

Fourth… well, we both need to secure income. That really does need to be a primary focus right now.

Toward that end, I have several places to send my resume tomorrow, and even a couple leads to follow up on Penny’s behalf (ie, connections I have that might help Penny find a job).

For a conversation with such little actual progress, I feel like we actually moved forward… in affirming our direction, if nothing else.



  1. I know that sometimes it feel like you are beating a dead horse, but if you don’t have these conversations then there’s also the chance that you’ll stop progressing toward the divorce. Tough to balance.

    Know that I’m rooting for you. Hope something gets settled soon, that the job front opens up and the house is resolved.

    Thinking of you, too!

  2. Separation / Divorce is a process, and it takes time. I know that once you make the decision you want it DONE, but unfortunately it doesn’t really work that way, particularly if you want to do it as amicably as possible.

    Instead of looking ahead at how far you still need to go, try taking a moment to focus on (and be grateful for!) the progress that you’ve already made.

  3. At least the conversation is still flowing. to reiterate other comments, i’m sure this isn’t like a one-stop deal, and it will be a lengthy process…so you know, at least you’re moving forward! this is a big change of pace from when the blog first started…

  4. This is so exhausting. I remember when my ex and I had these conversations. My stomach was endlessly sick.

    Good for you for taking the lead. I did the same thing.

    Good luck. It can only go up from here.

  5. I don’t know why, but I really thought you were going to say that she came downstairs and told you she’d changed her mind and wanted to work on the marriage. Have you thought about what you’d say if she went that route?

  6. Regarding Leah’s comment, if Penny were actually to say she wanted to reverse course, what is there now to return to? She would only be seeking to avoid her share of the exposure to the coming changes and dump all of the responsibility for dealing with them on Rains.

    Run, don’t walk, the the nearest exit – and don’t look back!

  7. Good Luck, I know it is hard and frustrating. Remember that you have your whole life ahead of you so keep your chin up.

  8. Okay I’m only going to make this one observation. Isn’t it funny how our soon-to-be’s or ex’s could NOT put any effort into the marriage and wanted to get out so badly … but then when it comes to having to do the work and face the music of the choice THEY made, suddenly they aren’t so energetic? LOL Oh brother!

    INRIS I personally do believe in honoring the vows you made if it’s at all possible, but if she is bound and determined to do nothing to make things better or change, I would encourage you to get comfy in that driver’s seat and keep dragging it forward. It sounds like she’s the type to avoid the cost of her choices so you’ll probably need to do some actions that she’ll interpret as “mean” just because you are pressing forward on her decision. No worried–just keep going for it.

    If the day were to ever come that you see HER buying marriage books, making counseling appointments, getting herself there and doing the homework, and really accepting personal responsibility for her side of things…THEN she means it and is putting in true effort. Until then, she’s stalling, delaying, avoiding, blaming others, etc. Just ignore all that and keep going!

  9. Oh…I wasn’t suggesting changing course… Just wondering what would happen if Penny tried that strategy. I’m not so sure she won’t. As she begins to see how enormous “single parent responsibility” really is, she might just decide sex with her husband is easier. Just food for thought.

  10. Again, I have no idea what I’m talking about but that’s not going to stop me from making a suggestion 🙂

    Perhaps you could come up with some financial guidelines or scenarios. For example.

    Scenario A – One of you keeps the house

    The person who keeps the house needs to be making at least $X; the other person contributes…

    Scenario B – Declare bankruptcy

    If your collective income is less than $X on [insert mutually agreeable date here], one or both of you will declare bankruptcy.

    Scenario C – allow the bank to foreclose

    If by the above date, your collective in come is less than $Y, you will agree to allow the bank to foreclose.

    Scenario D – short sell

    If by the above date, your collective income is… okay I have no idea what a short sell involves. I think there needs to be an agreed short sell amount though.

    I expect that seeing this in writing will galvanize Penny to do something. If not, well, it’s all up to you my friend. Best of luck. And allow me to buy you a coffee when I’m in Seattle at the end of Feb?

  11. I agree with Momma Sunshine – something like this has its own pace and if you mess with it, you’ll be messing with the outcome. By that I mean, if you try to push Penny into agreeing to things before she’s ready, then it will make the negotiations harder. I’m new to your blog so don’t have all the history …. are you in a position to move out? That might make the end of your marriage more real to Penny.

    I do think the more you can agree to before going to lawyers the better it will be (and less expensive). Have you considered a collaborative divorce – I’ve had several people tell me how beneficial that process is.

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