Divorce Advice: Just Because It’s Officially Final Doesn’t Mean it’s Final

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

The e-mail below made me want to cry. I feel terrible for this young woman seeking divorce advice, obviously devastated by her upcoming divorce being finalized.
Hi Jackie, I am 26 years old and my husband left me a few months ago. We were
separated for 2 months (his decision not mine) and during those two months
he gave me the impression that we were working on building our marriage. He
even said there was hope when I asked him what his intentions are with the
separation. Long story short, he decided to move forward with the divorce.

He filed and I signed the papers. But this entire and for these past
months, I have called him regularly in tears begging him to change his
mind. Our court date is this coming week and I am devastated. I do not want
this divorce at all. I can’t believe this is happening. I don’t plan on
going to the court, because I am not contesting anything. But I so badly
want him to change his mind.

 I have called him this past week asking him to reconsider and all he tells me is that we have to move forward with the divorce for us to ever have a chance of getting back together. He keeps telling me that each of us needs to work on ourselves and that he would reach out to me every few weeks and that if he is able to overlook the pain he is in, then maybe we can “date” again. I told him that he knows I want the marriage to work and that any little hope he gives me is making me hold on. He said he is making no promises but that he can’t ask me to wait, that it is my choice.

Jackie, I am so sad. I try to keep myself busy, travel, go to the gym, eat
well, work on myself spiritually but I am so sad, all the time. I don’t
want to be with anyone else. I don’t want to date again. I don’t want to go
through this. I want my husband. I want my marriage. I feel like I
am not worth fighting for. It hurts so much to know he would rather divorce
me than be with me. I don’t think I am a bad person, nor were our marital
problems as awful as he made them seem. I am devastated and don’t know what
to do.

My divorce advice to her:

Since I received this e-mail a few weeks ago (sorry it took so long for me to respond!) I am sure you are officially divorced by now. And since I know you didn’t want that, I will say to you, I’m sorry. I’m sure you are in a lot of pain.

But, I wanted to share my thoughts with you regarding your divorce being “final.” Yes, you are officially divorced. You have a decree stating that you are no longer husband and wife. BUT, that doesn’t mean you will never get back together. Who cares about a piece of paper?

Women often say to me, “I would never date a guy who isn’t officially divorced,” and I wonder why. Someone can be separated and 100% sure they aren’t getting back together, but they are still in the divorce process. They might still even be living in the same house. On the flip side, there could be a couple who IS officially divorced, who could decide the divorce was a mistake, and end up getting back together. My point is, a legal document doesn’t have precedence over what’s in a person’s heart. So, the fact that you are officially divorced means nothing, as far as the potential of getting back together.

That said, I worry about you because your ex seems checked out. I’m sorry to be blunt, but as an outsider, that is how it appears to me. It hurts me to have to say this to you but I think it is time for you to let go. Stop reaching out to him and live life like he isn’t coming back. Don’t call him or text or email. Let him come to you, and make it known that if he does, you are willing to talk, but that’s it. No more trying to persuade him to get back together.

I have no idea why you got divorced, but in any case, I don’t feel a person should have to continually beg their spouse not to get divorced. Both people really have to want it to work out. Maybe he will, maybe he wont, but for now, he doesn’t.

Here’s the good news. You have so many things going for you! First, you are only 26 years old. Please read my blog on divorce advice for a younger woman with no kids. It applies to you.

Also, the fact that you are saying, “I try to keep myself busy, travel, go to the gym, eat well, work on myself spiritually,” speaks volumes about the kind of person you are! You are going to be just fine, whether you reconcile with your ex-husband or whether you go on to meet someone new who becomes the love of your life.

You probably don’t want to hear that right now and if you want to tell me to butt out, I get it. It’s ok. But I know what I’m talking about from what I’ve seen, which is countless brokenhearted women (and men) who didn’t want the divorce and then ended up with someone else, and 100 times happier than they ever thought they would be.

Just give it time and let life play itself out. Big hugs and best of luck.

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

    4 Responses to “Divorce Advice: Just Because It’s Officially Final Doesn’t Mean it’s Final”

    1. Kiki

      Hmmm…If it is to get back together, then what is the reason of getting a divorce in the first place and what is this all fuss about?
      The guy wanted to take a divorce from scratch and decided to make it smooth to his wife, by using this “2 month separation” as an excuse that Oh well this is not final and in any case I tried not to divorce” when he was determined from the beginning. I am not crying with this email, I am furious with him. Because I think that he laughed at his wife and that something tells me there is another person in his life. Someone who does not want to work on his marriage at all, usually has an affair. Hoping to be wrong but he is going to have his ex wife as a back up while looking for someone better.

    2. Eve

      I am sorry for your situation, I know how you feel, my husband left almost six months ago and the divorce was final two months ago, all his decision. It doesn’t matter the reason why he left you, I know it is very hard to have closure when you don’t know the truth but you have to learn to deal with it, is how you get some peace. Try not to hold on to the hope of getting back together, that thought won’t let you move on, trust me. Trust in God and trust in yourself also, sometimes you’ll be amazed of how strong you are.
      “Hope, but never expect. Look forward but never wait”.

    3. randy

      I agree with Keri. You would be better off letting go and understanding if he wanted the marriage he would have worked on it, not left it. It would bother me as it sounds like he believes he should date others while you should kind if wait for him to decide if he wants you back. I don’t believe you can get on with your life as long as you think there is a possibility of restarting your marriage. Go live your life and if make good things happen and be open for good things to happen and one day you will be happy again. Best wishes.


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