Her Mentor Center: Divorce after Kids Go to College
Infidelity: My Kids Are in College, and I Want a Divorce from Unfaithful Husband
Q: My husband has been fooling around for years but I have stuck with the marriage because of our two daughters. Now they are in college and I would like to finally tell him to get out. What should I do to prepare myself for my future without him before I kick him out?
A: There are several areas you need to address as you begin to prepare for a life without your husband: practical matters such as your finances and living arrangements, focal ones such as how you will spend your time and energy as a single woman, and the emotional roller coaster that is likely to emerge once you begin divorce proceedings.
You don’t say whether or not you are currently working outside the home or have had a career in the past. Your job status will affect your finances, the structure of your day and your emotional stability after the divorce. Now is the time to consider a job that you can move into which will be stimulating and fulfilling while giving you a sense of independence. Try to build some flexibility into your work schedule to accommodate the bumps that are likely to appear in the road that lies ahead.
With both of your daughters now in college, you probably have already explored interests and activities outside of your family. In preparation for your new status as a single woman, begin to become more involved in some of these activities — both to give your life a creative edge and as a way to meet new people. You will find that a pleasurable outlet provides a bright spot for the focus of your day. In addition, consider volunteering to assist those who are in need — it will shift the center of attention away from your own difficulties.
As you move forward with your pre-divorce plans, talking to a professional counselor about your feelings can help you initiate a strategy for the future. Your anger at your husband for his past infidelities and the emotional impact on you need to be worked through. In therapy, you can bounce around ideas and consider the various results likely to occur before you act on them. Becoming single again after all of these years will bring to the surface issues of self-esteem that may threaten the self-confidence you took for granted in the past. Naturally, your friends will be supportive during this difficult time in your life, as long as you set boundaries for their advice giving.
Once you feel more prepared to initiate discussions about divorce, you will draw upon the strength you have gathered from your planning. It will not be an easy process, by any means, but you can rely on your preparations to help you along the way.