All the Single Ladies: Here’s the Answers to a Few of Your Questions
"Single File" - September 2023 Issue
by Susan Deitz
I'm contemplating divorce. I still have feelings for my husband, but they're not romantic or sexual. Next week I'll be talking with a lawyer to get legal answers, but what I need to know is: How do you know when a relationship is over? —Amanda A., Long Island, New York
Three cold showers later, I can pretty well answer your question. In one word, it is connection. When one partner (in this case, you) loses emotional connection with the partner (your husband), it's the beginning of the end of the relationship. The amount of time it takes to reach this stage isn't fixed or known; it's purely a feeling—a gut feeling—that puts distance between you and your former love. How it evolved and the reasons for it are subtle, but you probably have had some small inkling for a while now, hence your thoughts about divorce. But whatever they are right now, I urge you to proceed s-l-o-w-l-y in all things related to the finale of your marriage. Getting legal answers is a good idea, so that you have all your ducks in a row when and if the moment comes. You should know your rights and obligations pertaining to divorce in your state. It's a good idea to bring a list of questions to your attorney so you don't forget something in the heat of the moment. And a weekend away is a good idea at this point, some quietude and privacy where you can sit under a tree or on a lakeshore and think things through. Divorce is a huge step, disruptive and unsettling in the lives of everyone affected. (If you're a mom, you should plan a family council to explore your children's feelings about their home life. But don't burden them with your inner feelings toward their father; save that for a counselor.) Be gentle with yourself right now. Avoid making major decisions or commitments. Meditate in as much quiet time as you can give yourself. As you relinquish one connection, forge even stronger ties to your inner self. But no hasty moves, if you please.
Wired for Games—
One of your surveys makes me want to respond because my experience fits into your questions. My fiancé and I separated (still seeing each other occasionally) because I started to see he was losing interest in me. I wanted to work on our issues. I began seeing a therapist to deal with the stress of the situation and found out I was too nice and needed to be more "unavailable."
The fact of the matter is that women must play these games, as they're the only way to keep men interested. The chase is better than the catch, they say, so you have to keep them chasing you. If you give in to a last-minute invitation, you become less intriguing. To us women, it's a game. To men, it's the way they're wired. So I answer your questions:
(How late in the week can he call for a date?) If it's for Saturday night, the latest is Wednesday. Otherwise, I'm busy—even if it's laundry.
(Do you think he respects you more if you have a deadline?) I think he respects my time more, and it works like a charm. Men learn they must call you earlier in the week to capture your attention and set a date.
(Does your deadline change if you really want to see him?) No, as I stated before, if you drop everything at the last moment to see him, he'll know you were just waiting around for him to ask you out, and what's interesting about that?
(Do you respect yourself more if you have a set deadline?) Yes, because I know that I'm worth the wait and that if he agrees, he won't wait until the last minute. —Sallie W., Long Island, N.Y.
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