I once encountered a professional acquaintance after not seeing her for several months. Following the standard “hi-how-are-you” exchange, she told me she would soon be turning 65, but can’t afford to retire. She went on to state that she married a man who likes to spend, not save, money. She said she probably should have left him a long time ago….
…Wow, is she really telling me this? Why is she telling me this? She has no idea how I feel about this sort of thing… she’s not prepared for what I have to say….I don’t know her well enough to say what I have to say…. I need to be quiet.
I kept my mouth shut and listened as she vocalized her self-consolation, “Well, at least the kids still have one house to come home to.”
I refused to offer validation. Instead, I took the opportunity to steer the conversation back to where it originated. How could it have gone so far in the past few seconds? “At least you’re still able to work,” I told her.
“Yes,” she agreed, forcing a smile. “Look at the bright side.”
I left the meeting feeling heavy and sad. Did she mean that? I can’t believe she said that to someone she barely knows! How long has she been unhappy? She could’ve taken action a long time ago and changed everything… why? …why? Why…?
I don’t expect I’ll ever receive those answers. The woman will need to live with the choices she has made and conduct herself accordingly. I just hope that when she chose to remain married, she considered more than the number of residences her children will be obligated to visit during the holidays.
There are many professional resources out there (not to mention the free support offered by true friends) dedicated to helping individuals survive and thrive after a divorce. Why not give them a google?
Is a bad marriage worth forfeiting retirement to keep?