Don’t let spouse call all the shots

Penticton Herald - - HOMES - EL­LIE TESHER

QUES­TION: My hus­band of 15 years re­cently said that he’s no longer in love with me and needed time to fig­ure things out.

He’s stay­ing with his brother. Our two sons and I are in the fam­ily home which is now for sale.

He rarely vis­its and only talks about the kids or the house. Now, he’s more con­vinced that it’s over for good.

He said that it’s be­cause I keep bring­ing it up and never gave him space. He’s de­tached and wants to move on.

Is there any chance if I stop talk­ing about us and give it some time?

He doesn’t want a di­vorce, just to sep­a­rate legally, pre­sum­ably be­cause it’s cheaper.

How should I pro­ceed? I’ve told him that I love him and don’t want to lose our fam­ily.

AN­SWER: Red flags — he’s call­ing all the shots: To sep­a­rate in­stead of di­vorce, and to not al­low you to even talk about your re­la­tion­ship.

I can’t help but think he may’ve al­ready moved on, and there’s an­other fu­ture part­ner wait­ing in the wings.

Even if not so, you must talk to a lawyer, and learn your rights and what suits your needs.

It’s shock­ing that the house where his and your chil­dren live, is al­ready for sale. Get your own le­gal ad­vice about that im­me­di­ately to re­view if that’s the right thing for you and the kids.

See your bank man­ager, and an ac­coun­tant or fi­nan­cial ad­viser (not one work­ing with him), and ask about your joint bank ac­counts and any as­sets/in­vest­ments.

By him not al­low­ing dis­cus­sion, the ab­sence of mar­i­tal coun­selling, and you fo­cus­ing only on want­ing him back, you’ve so far ig­nored all the prac­ti­cal con­sid­er­a­tions that’ll af­fect your fu­ture and that of your chil­dren.

Don’t be afraid to con­front him with strength of pur­pose and in­formed knowl­edge about what’s in­volved.

Even if you still love him, he needs to know that he’s deal­ing with an equal whose fu­ture is also at stake, not just his.

QUES­TION: I’ve been dat­ing a woman for three years, both in our 50s.We met when she was go­ing through a di­vorce (still pro­cess­ing).

Our re­la­tion­ship was ini­tially beau­ti­ful, then she ex­pe­ri­enced crashes of in­tense de­pres­sion, which I faced with great pa­tience (some­times won­der­ing if the nu­mer­ous med­i­ca­tions were re­ally help­ing).

Last sum­mer, I had to work else­where for a month and she wouldn’t keep con­tact. When I re­turned, I was re­stricted to see­ing her only on spe­cific days.

She said, I need a break in or­der to make our union strong. And, I’d like to put you in the freezer and take you out when I’m ready.

She wants no com­mit­ment, with me wait­ing un­til she’s ready to be my girl­friend. What should I do? — Go­ing Through Hell AN­SWER: Like a mir­ror op­po­site to the above ques­tion, this time it’s the woman be­ing the con­troller and you kept hop­ing.

While chil­dren and prop­erty aren’t in­volved here, the ef­fect is the same. You’re left in the dark about what’s re­ally go­ing on:

Has she met an­other man? Have any of the peo­ple treat­ing her de­pres­sion (doc­tor? ther­a­pist?) said she’s not ca­pa­ble now of mak­ing a long-term con­nec­tion?

What­ever the an­swer, she should be shar­ing it with you. In­stead, she’s is­su­ing or­ders, putting up road blocks, in­sult­ing you with her freezer com­ment.

I’m in­clined to say, walk away. But if you still love her, and have com­pas­sion for her de­pres­sion, tell her so. Then set a time­line for the break, one that feels rea­son­able for you. You have a life to set­tle, too.

QUES­TION: My 26-year-old son is a great, well­liked, lov­ing, per­son who’s con­tin­u­ally afraid of be­ing hurt by me.

I’m a reg­u­lar mom with a sharp tongue. He told me that he dreads any text or com­mu­ni­ca­tion from me be­cause it’ll hurt him.

He’s now afraid of his girl­friend, whom he loves and wants in his life. I can see the dam­age I’ve done to his psy­che but don’t know what to do.

AN­SWER: First: apol­o­gize to him. Tell him that you rec­og­nize now that your sharp tongue was/is harsher than you re­al­ized, and you want to cor­rect the dam­age you caused that has him fear­ing you and his girl­friend.

Then, get to coun­selling soon, and gain un­der­stand­ing of why you were so sharp-spo­ken to your child, and are ap­par­ently still too harsh.

Later, ask him to join you in ther­apy to get help for your on­go­ing re­la­tion­ship, and for his fu­ture one. EL­LIE’S TIP OF THE DAY When a spouse de­cides uni­lat­er­ally to sep­a­rate, get legally and fi­nan­cially in­formed, fast.

Email el­lie@thes­

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