What is marriage purgatory? Marriage purgatory is when you know your marriage is done but still live in the same house.
For many many practical reasons, couples get stuck in marriage purgatory. I actually have two clients who are divorced and still live in the same house. Since the Great Recession, there is a lot more marriage purgatory going on than there used to be.
Marriage purgatory is lonely. You are separated and, in many ways, more lonely than you have ever been in your life. You can’t very well dump on your friends, because they are your spouse’s friends too. And yet you are shunned by potential new friends because you are still married.
It is even easy to argue that you aren’t “separated” at all, even if you do sleep in separate bedrooms, use separate bathrooms, and have not so much as kissed in 20 months. Even if you do openly and honesty discuss it with each other and call it a “separation”. Even if you both agree in defining what separation is, namely, taking time-out away from each other to make damn sure divorce is the right thing to do.
But online dating being what it is, the prudent thing for a single woman to do is assume that the man stuck in marriage purgatory is really a liar trying to get laid. Therefore the smart woman shuns the man stuck in marriage purgatory.
The bottom line is marriage purgatory sucks. It sucks for the wife. It sucks for the husband. It sucks for would-be girlfriends and boyfriends. It sucks. It is not fair to anyone.
How does one escape marriage purgatory?–Escaping is not an easy task. Divorce is not for the middle class it seems. Sure, you can say to hell with all the world’s practical considerations–to hell with effects on your children, your finances, health, professional credibility, and so on–fuck all that and just get divorced. Ready, aim, fire.
(Fellow Bloggers: should affects or effects be used in sentence above?)
I chose not to take the damn the torpedoes route. I went to a counselor. Read books. Tried to make sure I wasn’t reneging on my “til death do us part” vow while I was in a drunk or panicked state…and it has been hard.
Anyway, sometime in the next few weeks I will be escaping marriage purgatory. I will be transitioning to “separated” status in its purest form with no asterisks required. Our house is under contract with closing date TBD. My new house will close on Nov 30 or sooner. My wife has a new house she is closing on about the same time.
Today I added a countdown widget for “Purgatory Escape”. That is when this weird, lonely, trapped two year phase of my life will change. Then I will enter the next phase that I’m told is filled will a whole different set of emotional landmines. But the contracts are signed. It’s coming…