Trying To Be Patient About His Divorce

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Dear Meredith,

I’ve been dating a divorcing man for two and a half years. We’re both over the age of 40 with previous divorce history. We met online and I was aware of his separation. He moved out of his marital home before we met but continues to pay the mortgage. His wife recently started the divorce paperwork, but because of COVID-19 there’s been a significant delay. His wife has decided to put the process on hold due to her inability to pay for legal fees. This has created a huge amount of distress to my boyfriend and myself.

He is actively seeking legal solutions to end his divorce and has realistic expectations for the divorce settlement so he can move on. Still, it has created tension in our relationship. It feels as though I am interfering by asking questions, and I can feel his frustration. We are both committed to this relationship long-term.

I still need to support my son to start university in September, and this man needs to finalize his divorce so we can buy a property together. So, right now is more of a waiting game. However, I am hoping you can advice me how not to intervene in such way that comes across as interfering. To set boundaries so we both don’t get hurt and end up going separate ways?

– Interfering


My advice is to put it to him just like you did in this letter. “I understand the divorce delay. I believe that you’re stuck with few options right now. I’m trying to make plans without making you feel like I’m asking too many questions your next steps to end the marriage. What’s the best way to talk about goals without frustrating us both? When would be a good time to check in about where everything stands?”

Sorry that’s a lot of scripting. Really, you could just show him this letter. You ask a very respectful and empathetic question about how to ask for what you want without stressing him out. He might not have an answer, but he’ll know you care.

I’m sure there’s a part of you that wants to find a lawyer or mediator … any professional who can move all of this along. The thing is, even if you find that kind of professional, you’ll have to accept that the timeline is already changing. September might come and go before you can make real plans for property. Perhaps it’s better to focus on prioritizing your son and work around that.

Also, if this man is overwhelmed by the first set of questions, talk about seeing a financial counselor (online) together. You’ll wind up working through the timeline with a better sense of what things will cost and how to prepare. Third parties can make these conversations a lot more comfortable.

– Meredith

Readers? The divorce has been delayed because of the pandemic, but it’s also been more than two years. How can the LW ask about progress without interfering?

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