This quarantine just got so much harder. Last week, my wife told me she wanted a divorce. I wasn’t really shocked — she had two affairs in the last seven years. But, the last time was three years ago and I really did think it was over. We have been taking turns working from home and managing our son’s on-line schooling. Today was her turn to manage school.
I came up from the basement for lunch a bit earlier than usual to find my wife on her iPad doing FaceTime with our next-door neighbor while sitting next to our son who was completing his math work. I heard enough to realize (a) this is her latest affair; (b) she was openly making future plans with him with our first-grader sitting right there fully aware; and (c) her future plans include my being out of the house and our neighbor moving in to make his future parenting arrangement with his daughters that much easier.
After listening very quietly, I backed down the stairs. I came back up pretending to finish up a loud phone conversation on my way up so she would hear me coming. She quickly hurried out of the room and asked me to make lunch for our son. Now I can’t stop worrying about the details of her plan is to get me “out of the house.” What do I need to know for the next few weeks of this?
First you should assume if she really wants you out, she might make things up. Carry your charged cellphone on you at all times. If she starts an argument, don’t engage and back away. Keep your hands at your sides and retreat to the bathroom where you can lock yourself in. If she bangs on the door, stay put.
If you are concerned for your safety or that of your son, call the police and report what is going on. You need to be incredibly careful not to get into a situation where she is calling the police claiming to be afraid of you. Now is not the time to be on the wrong end of a vacate order because finding a place to stay could be quite tricky and a temporary parenting plan is unlikely to be seen as an emergency, especially if there is a restraining order in place.
Do your best to keep the peace but do your homework. Go on the court website and begin filling out the financial statement form and gathering the documents needed for self-disclosure.
Where she brought up the divorce at the outset, ask if she is open to trying mediation. Many mediators are offering video conference sessions and this could be a good time to start. With any luck, by the end of the quarantine you could have an agreement and be able to separate homes, making a smooth transition for your son, which may not include her fantasy of playing house with the neighbor.