Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | August 2, 2010


I’ve noted here in the past about how I want to have the divorce agreement figured out by the summer, or how I want paperwork filed by the time Penny and I would otherwise reach our wedding anniversary. But with working insane hours (a twelve-hour day this past Saturday. Saturday!) and a list of Things To Do Right Now that extends longer than my arm, and kids, and so on and on, I just haven’t been able to get rolling on the moving-out and filing for divorce.

One of the problems has been what to do about the house. There are no clear-cut answers with regard to the house, because until the situation is resolved, my (and Penny’s) credit situation and financial situation is in a constant state of limbo. And flux. Flimbux.

And then I read DelightfulEccentric’s recent post on working under pressure. I am much the same as what she describes — someone who works best under deadline when the deadline is tied to other people (work deadlines, class deadlines, etc.). By setting goals for myself to file paperwork “by our anniversary” or to physically separate “by June” (that didn’t happen, by the way), I’m tying the action to an internal, arbitrary deadline. By setting goals tied to when the house sells or when the bank gets back to me/us on some application or another, it’s not really a deadline I’m setting. I’m tying the action to shifting sands, which is futile.

I think this is why people like myself often find themselves motivated to get out of their messed-up, soul-sucking marriage and leverage themselves into doing so by, well, finding someone else. That someone else provides the external deadline. (The deadline imposed by their new paramour usually being: NOW!)

Since that’s not my situation (nor likely to become my situation), how might I best get some leverage on myself to get this nasty business over and done with sooner rather than later?

Thoughts, anyone? Hmmm?



  1. I’ve got nothing in the way of useful suggestions, just wanted to offer my support.

    It’s been over two years now and I’m still not officially divorced yet. I just want this over and done with now. So I feel your frustration.


  2. Umm, yeah. I’ve got nothing. I know what happened for me. I know what the catalyst was in my separation and divorce.

    Know that I’m thinking of you and wishing you the best.

  3. Maybe this is a silly question – but do you have a lawyer yet to get the divorce proceedings going? If so, then that’s what helped me literally get things moving…my ex had his own lawyer and she was pretty lax on getting stuff moving so I got my own lawyer and she just got the paperwork going and going fast and that really helped. Of course, actually filing took awhile for me given the house sitch, but it helped having an external “party” get things moving that just forced me (and him) to react to in terms of paperwork etc. not sure if that’s what you are looking for, in terms of advice, or if that even helps…but that’s what helped me get it going. Sort of like a band-aid, just rip it off and it starts to feel better after.

  4. Move in with a roomate or with family or friends…do whatever is necessary to *physically* remove yourself from your wife. That will start the process of getting yourself and all the family moving toward a state of acceptance and action. By you staying in the home month after month, you’re sending your wife (and your children, who may not know details but know something is wrong) very mixed and confusing messages, regardless of what words come out of your mouth.

    In this economy it could take years to unload the house and get finances all settled. Perhaps you should be asking yourself if you *really* want a divorce and can you cope with the inconveniences/work/sacrifice it entails? Many people faced the same obsticals you have (and more) and still managed to get a divorce done.

    So I would encourage you in all haste, that if divorce is really and truly what you want and there is no way to save this marriage, than for the sake and mental health of yourself and your family, get it DONE. Otherwise it will only prolong the pain and keep everyone churning in confusion and questions of “what is going on here?”

    If I’m off base feel free to throw my advice away….but it does pain me to see you so stuck after all this time.

  5. in my case, i don’t have a whole lot of entanglements. we don’t own much (just a car), and i had some built-in life circumstances that gave me the excuse to separate. i’m 2 1/2 months into my six-month statutory separation period before i’m allowed to file. it’s been… well, it’s been rough, but amazing, if that makes any damn sense.

    having the psychic and physical space has totally made the difference. it’s led to some real conversation about the issues that got us to this point, too. i don’t know how this works with kids in the picture, but pulling the trigger on getting my own place was the best impetus i could give myself.

    thinking about you. hope this gets started for you soon.

  6. Well, I’m completely flimbuxed. I don’t think I could sustain your schedule, let alone impose internal deadlines for more stuff. But then again, I get the impression you are not nearly as lazy as I am.

    Both Jolene and Jane seem to have good ideas.

  7. You are suffering of analysis paralysis..not this nor that but this. You two are at the point where you need to hire a lawyer [to represent the two of you]

    If you and Penny have a verbal agreement put it to the test. You hire a lawyer that will help you do this amicably.

    The hardest part of a divorce is the hostility the legal proceeding inject in the process.

    If you have agreed in principle to do it amicably, and back that up by following through and hiring an attorney, then your chances for succeeding are pretty high.

    Even if Penny decides to go and later hire another attorney, which would actually be a good sign, you would have started your divorce proceeding by establishing a record of being willing to cooperate.

    Hiring an attorney will offload these worries, and allow you to concentrate on your respective jobs and arranging your future lives.

    The attorney will tell you what to do and what is next so you stop worrying about the technicalities.

    The peace of mind it will bring you makes it worth it, specially if you share the cost, and cooperate to make this as fast and painless as possible.

  8. I was fortunate that I was seeing someone around the same time as my house selling. The selling of my house was what kept my ex and I from divorcing for 2 years so… I was WAY familiar with the limbo feeling.

    As soon as my house sold, my bf at the time immediately put pressure on me to get the divorce started. I was ticked at him for being so adamant but he was an officer in the Army and gave me all of this talk about it being against the rules to date a married woman, blah blah blah… so I went for it.

    We didn’t work out as a couple but I did get the divorce finalized anyway.

    With all of that said, I see where you’re coming from on all of this. I agree that Jolene and Jane have very good ideas. I say, baby steps. I would do what you can to move gradually into a physically separated situation first. Focus there first.

    Good luck.

  9. All good advice … but just to confuse you, more … with self-imposed deadlines I like to ask myself why it is important to get the task done by that date and what the consequences are if I miss the deadline. That way, if I’m stressing out about juggling competing priorities, I have a better idea of what I can let slide.

    In CO once we filed for divorce, there was a timetable to follow, if we wanted to avoid going to court and that kept everything moving very quickly – we filed in January and the divorce was final in May. Our marital home wasn’t sold until 2 1/2 years later.

  10. Hmmmm. I want to win the lottery, but so far I haven’t…mostly because I don’t buy lottery tickets.

    Sometimes you have to face the fact that you just don’t want to put forth the effort for what may or may not payoff as you’d hoped. For example, if you knew you’d have a smokin’ hot girlfriend on the 30th day after you moved out, you’d have written this post from your new digs.

  11. I like Mandy and Leah’s points. What’s holding you back?

    Take a page out of the book of Nike, and “just do it”!

    Start immediately setting aside cash for a damage deposit, rent, and anything else that may be needed, and go apartment hunting. Sign a (short) lease, and MOVE.

    Just do it 🙂

    Oh, and P.S. Maybe try looking up some marketing tequniques to improve chances for the house sale.

    Good luck!

    • This reminds me of finishing my dissertation. For the first time I was faced with something major that had no external deadline whatsoever. I tried all sorts of ways to pretend there was a deadline, but since I knew they weren’t real deadlines, I didn’t take them seriously. That I no longer wanted the formal rewards associated with a PhD hurt my motivation even more.

      So, much like you have described in this and other posts, my life was stalled in a most unpleasant place. But much like you described in your last post, I could see glimmers of what life would be like once I could move past the mistake-that-was-grad-school, and I liked what I saw.

      I dropped the deadline-as-motivation strategy that had seen me through most of my education and decided to build a new skill: being self-propelled (this “decision” was, of course, not so neat and tidy as my retrospective suggests). I went with an investment metaphor: every hour invested in writing would get me to the place I wanted to be that much faster. As unhappy as I imagined that hour of writing would be, the payoff in terms of future happiness and freedom would be enormous. That philosophy, and a policy of allowing myself unlimited baked goods at the cafe where I wrote, let me finally pound out the crucial first draft. The more progress I saw, the better I felt, and the more motivated I was to get up each day and do what I had to do. I wasn’t there yet, but for the first time in years, I was actually closer to the goal–and that in itself felt…hopeful.

      So maybe something like that would work for you. You know the goal and you know it’s inevitable. The only true variable is how long it will take you to get there. Some parts of that are out of your control, but you can still take steps now that will get you to your goal sooner rather than later. I would have killed for some real, external deadline to get me going, but in the end, being self-propelled was its own huge reward.

      Of course, now I have to run because the semester starts in less than a month and I didn’t write my syllabus early like I promised myself I would. :p

      Hang in there! Great things await you.

  12. (typing one handed so forgive the typos)

    you do not want leverage to get you through this, nor do you want arbitrary timelines, otherwise you will act in haste and fuck up and miss something.

    this is not like turning in a term paper. it is setting in motion terms of your future life. that takes time and patience.

    just calm down and forget about the date you file. just file properly, cause once you do, tht is when the fun starts

  13. I think Jane holds the wisdom in this thread. Nothing she says sets off my alarms. Some of what the others say does. I do like the last line of TheDivorcedGuy’s post.

    I have to wonder about loading yourself down with deadlines. Do you not have enough pressure just from your tenuous economic issues? I don’t recall if you mentioned what your knee is costing you (if you have, my apologies), but having sat on a civil trial jury involving a severed ACL, I know a little something about what such treatments cost. I’ve been ill myself this year, and while not as deeply indebted as I would be for an ACL operation, the amount does concern me.

    If you really insist on adding deadlines to your daily schedule, what about writing the next chapter of your novel? I’m almost to the point of having to re-read everything just so I can recover the thread of your story!!!! If I were your agent, I’d be most put out about your lack of literary discipline!!!

  14. I have a friend who is dating a married (separated, living in the same house, trying to end things amicably and consider the kids…sound familiar?) man. He and his wife have been in the process of divorce for a couple of years. My friend and he started dating, and while she has been incredibly understanding, it was the impetus he needed to get things moving along. He has finally moved out of he house, filed for divorce, and things are moving along.

    So, be like George Clooney, snap your fingers, and get yourself a girl! That should get things moving along! 🙂

  15. I must respectfully disagree with delightful. Starting a relationship with another women while still fully married and living with your wife is *horrifically disrespectful* to the new woman. I would never consider dating a man in that situation, and would tell any woman who does that she’s playing with fire. Perhaps this is one reason you haven’t found a “new girl” yet….because you are nothing but heartbreak material (being still so tied to the WIFE) and have an enormous amount of baggage right now. However as soon as you get your divorce taken care of you could be the man of their dreams. Please don’t do this to a woman…don’t drag her in when you are not yet free.

  16. One more thought…your “amicable” divorce may quickly become un-amicable once your wife (with whom you LIVE), discovers you’re out getting some tail. Even if she doesn’t love you anymore and you two haven’t been together in a long time, do not underestimate how a woman’s anger would suddenly arise in this kind of situation. It might might not bode well for your future financial situation to aggravate her in this manner.

  17. Thank you all for these excellent thoughts.

    There’ll be more news on this front Very Soon Now, I’m sure….

    But thank you. Sincerely. Words don’t express how much it’s helping.

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