Ask Dr. Sherry: ‘I Want Out Of My Marriage, But I Can’t Afford to Leave!’

What do you do when you’ve made up your mind that you want to leave your marriage, but feel you can’t survive on your own financially? Dr. Sherry has answers.

You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...

Dr. Sherry,

I've decided that I no longer want to be in my marriage of 10 years. I've thought long and hard about this decision to the point that I haven't been able to sleep for years. I have no feelings left for my husband and I'm ready to move on. Staying in this loveless marriage has taken its toll on me physically and psychologically. Unfortunately, for financial reasons, I can't just leave right now. It could take up to a year for us to be financially independent of one another. I've considered asking my husband if we could just live in the same house, but lead two separate lives. I'm afraid that as soon as I bring this up he will try to leave immediately and not hang on and take care of our financial responsibilities. What would be the best way to deal with the fact that we need to live together for the next 9 to 12 months, but need to start transitioning our lives from being married to single? Is this even possible? Any advice would be appreciated.

Signed,

Anonymous

Dear Sis,

News alert: You are already living separate lives! Other than sharing physical space and financial responsibilities, what do you share?  You have a good roommate that you happen to be married to. You checked out and emotionally divorced your husband a long time ago but failed to file the paperwork to make it a legally divorce. If it is clear that you are in a "loveless" marriage and there is no hope for change, why stay?  Your financial excuse is only an excuse that continues to bind you to your husband. Rather than deal with the real issue of being honest and asking yourself if you truly want legal divorce, you are dealing with excuses that keep you together. Yes, most divorces result in a need to adjust financially and give up some of the material "stuff".  This can create a financial hardship but when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of a marriage or any relationship, this only becomes a temporary inconvenience.

When you are ready to accept the discomfort of this transition, you are ready for a legal divorce. As long as you are trying to hold on to the financial security of your marriage while having the freedom of a single lifestyle, you are not ready. When you truly are ready to be legally divorced, you will welcome and happily deal with the financial struggle in exchange for your freedom of being single and independent. Until then, you will continue to moan and groan and have sleepless nights while you remain legally married.

Yes, your husband may physically leave the marriage if you propose that you remain married and  "play house" until you are financial ready to leave. If you are concerned about him not dealing with his financial responsibilities, make sure his responsibilities are spelled out clearly in your divorce papers. Once a divorce occurs, both of your financial issues will become your separate issues. There is an emotional and financial cost for most things including a divorce. You must decide it it is worth the price. I recommend that you seek some individual therapy to process your issues before you make a decision. You must be ready for the temporary inconvenience of becoming single and independent. If you want something different in your life, you must do something different.  – Dr. Sherry

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Filed under: Love & Sex