He is in the middle of a divorce
Here is the situation. I’m dating a man who is in the middle of a divorce and custody situation. It is causing a tremendous amount of stress on our relationship.
I am not asking what to DO – meaning, I don’t need advice to leave the relationship until his divorce is over (conventional wisdom.)
My problem is that when I stew over the situation, I get snappy, neurotic and hard to be with. I lately have been telling him how badly I feel that we can’t be rid of this divorce/custody situation – in other words, HOW BETTER CAN I BE A SUPPORT but still express my needs?
He is trying his best and the lawyers are doing what they can. But I feel horrible as I’ve been not as supportive lately as I was about 3 months ago. Tuesday I was told another 6 months of legal battling is on the horizon (its already been over 6 months) and we started to argue (again) and I provoked him to break up with me. (We are not going to do that though.)
How can I SHUT UP and be more supportive? How can I get past what I feel I need and let life simply take its course?
We love each other and I don’t want to lose him. Any suggestions?
I’ll be direct with you, okay?
This divorce is about his life. It’s not your life.
The risk with this type of situation, is to get more involved than you should.
Don’t take responsibility for is situation. When you get involved, you try to influence the outcome of things which are mainly out of your hands anyway. You soon realize that you have little control. On the long term, it can immensely frustrate you and drain your energy.
You can be supportive as a friend. On the other hand when it comes to solve problems and situations related with his divorce, there are professionals for that. You are not his lawyer or his therapist. You are his lover and new partner.
Right now, you have a relationship with that man. The goal is to empower what you and him share by protecting and preserving the time you two spend together. In fact the time he spends with you could be used to clear his mind from all his court case rather than talking even more about it.
It’s okay to be supportive. I don’t think it’s okay to let the space you spend together be invaded by his divorce situation, problems with his ex and so on.
There is a simple way to go, which is to stop talking about this when you are together. You can set a simple boundary about that. It’s okay and I don’t find it offensive from you side.
You can set special time aside if you two need to talk about his situation. For instance, you can say something like: “Look let’s take a moment on Thursday evening to talk about it, right now, I want to enjoy the movie (or the sunset, or…)”
You feel you are betraying him if you put a boundary there? You are not. What you are doing is protecting the new and fresh relationship space you two are building.
Does this make sense?
Good luck and stay in touch