Q. My husband and I have been talking through the divorce process for a long time (years actually). He is a very sensitive guy and it took a long time for me to admit we really just need to be divorced. We are getting along well but he is easily upset. When he gets upset, forward progress in our discussion stops until he is feeling better. It has been almost two years of talking at this point and I am so ready to be done.
I’m having trouble getting this across the finish line and I need to move on. I want to buy my own house and begin dating. My lawyer keeps telling me to be patient that they will start drafting an agreement soon. She has been saying that for the last nine months.
I just can’t live like this any longer. What would happen if I am caught dating? I don’t want to be accused of adultery but I need to live a little here
A. You do not need to be concerned about adultery. Your marriage is over, your husband knows it and your lawyers are negotiating an agreement. Your lawyer is telling you to be patient because she is worried about your husband’s reaction if he learns you are dating. It sounds like he is easily triggered and having him slow the process even more because his feelings are hurt yet again won’t help you. That being said, there are ways to begin dating discretely. Do not date anyone he knows. Do not go anywhere you and your husband have ever been together. Do not go anywhere you will be seen by friends in common or family. And by all means, stay off social media.
If you do all of those things and he still finds out, gets sad and drags his feet even more, maybe it is time to file a complaint for divorce so his ability to control the pace of the process is minimized. While filing a divorce complaint may not set the tone you hope to maintain, certain timelines will start to apply.
Also, if you want to buy a house, you do not have to wait until the process is over. Assuming there are sufficient assets, ask your lawyer to propose each of you take an advance against your respective share of the marital assets. This means you agree on an amount, you each open new accounts in your individual names, fund them with equal sums and those accounts do not get divided again when you are finalizing the asset division. You can then use that money to buy yourself a house. If the two of you are still living together, this is a particularly good idea. Based on what you said about him, the longer you continue to live together the longer he will hold onto the belief that he can win you back.