What to do about “good riddance” attitudes

A widow stands by herself overlooking a beach and watching the ocean.

Hello everyone:

I talk to a lot of folks in my travels and the “good riddance” attitude is one of the hardest some of my gals tell me about.

You know how that goes, perhaps. He simply doesn’t want you anymore – he wants “some space.” Sadly, that usually means he has found someone else to fill it. So how do you even respond to that? Perchance you have been married longer than you have been single, and now you find yourself “at a certain age” where the only person you are liable to attract is someone old enough to be your father. Yes, gentlemen usually want cute young things. If a guy is 85 or 90, that may mean you, my 60s-something friend. (Or there is the possibility that he wants someone in her 20s- he may even get her, if his portfolio is large enough.)

So what do you do? First, understand that he is going to play the sympathy card. He will try very hard to make you out to be the bad guy in this whole divorce scenario. Then, after a few months, he will start to introduce around the sweet young thing that took your place. She will be the “wonderful friend who has helped me through such a difficult time since I was deserted by Matilda.” (If that’s not your name, feel free to insert your correct name.) He probably met her at work and has been involved with her much longer than you suspected. She’s the good guy, not you, depending on how he plays his cards. Watch your reactions here, my friends.

Next, he’s going to want all of your joint friends (and your joint bank accounts). He may approach them asap, so that he tells his side of the sad tale before you do. Expect this; don’t be blindsided by it. This applies to family members on both sides of your family, as well. If he paints your picture dark enough, some of your relatives may actually believe his tale. (I am assuming here that you are the innocent bystander, and that you aren’t an adulterous creep in your own right.)

Finally, he may want the blessing of your church. This is a tangled mess, depending on the denomination you have been a member of and how they view divorce.  Please respond with class to any inquiries you face. Do not be dragged into a discussion that you are uncomfortable with but do answer with as much information as you feel comfortable sharing, depending on who you are talking to. Contact your attorney if there are any legal ramifications here. I am not an attorney but I don’t want you to get sued.

Friends, you can get through this. You may be estranged from your family for a season, if they believe his nonsense. You may need to find new friends, if they buy the “this is the wonderful woman who supported me after Hortense said “aloha” garbage. But you can get through this, with God’s help, and you can find peace and happiness again. Be encouraged, my friends.

If you would like to share your story, I would be happy to hear it.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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