The problem is that for a large part of our marriage I was a stay-at-home mom, and then only worked part time to remain available as the primary caregiver as the kids grew up. Therefore, I have no retirement of my own built up. If we were to divorce, my fear is being financially unstable and unable to support myself. It would be wonderful to have the chance to meet someone to share my life with in a healthy, happy, loving relationship, but it’s not a given that would ever happen even if we were to divorce. My question is: Do I stay in an unsatisfying marriage where I’m financially secure and really able to spend my time with family and friends as I wish, or do I divorce and start a new life with no promise of financial stability?
If I were younger it would be a different story, but at this age it’s really scary to make such a big change. (It should be noted that my husband does not seem to be unhappy, and yes we have tried marriage counseling multiple times with no real improvement.)
– Unhappily Ever After
A. Talk to a divorce lawyer or mediator about how this works in your state. You’d probably be entitled to retirement money. That’s kind of how it works; usually things get split.
A divorce would change how you live, even if you wind up with support. You’re right to assume you’d be sacrificing comfort, at least for a while. This might require you to find more than part-time work and live in a smaller place. Also, the process of getting to an agreement with your husband might be very difficult.
But based on your letter, it’s clear you’re focused on what you’re missing — which includes seeing friends and family as a happier person on your own. Being single — even if you’re not dating — might be a lot of fun. It would bring new experiences and, perhaps, a lot of joy.
I’m imagining what letter you might write in your 60s if you stay. Another 10 years with the same question on your mind doesn’t sound appealing.
Finally you’re in counseling for yourself. I also hope there are a few friends you can talk to about this.
Many lawyers and mediators will do a free first consultation. There’s also public information from your state. Find out more before you decide you’re stuck.
You may feel bad for taking half of everything but that’s the payment for a life’s worth of raising the family. JONRUNSGRAFTON
If you don’t go the divorce route then get counseling now and see if maybe you can infuse some life back into your marriage. I would not keep the status quo. SUNALSORISES
Take that leap of faith. In the long run, this huge step [could be] one of the best things you have done for yourself. MHOUSTON1
Find the new season of the Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show. Meredith Goldstein wants your letters! Send your relationship quandaries and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.