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Women who want a divorce but don't want to lose the lifestyle

(88 Posts)
MaryTheBookeeper Fri 03-Jul-20 20:47:35

I feel very sorry for women in this position. I have 3 friends in this position & another one told me the same last night. She wants to divorce because there's no love left & they've been living separately under the same roof for the last two years, but she won't go through with it because she still wants to keep full access to the holiday cottage & not have to think about the bills being paid.

It seems like such a common theme, women wanting divorce but often the man has the higher earning power & the woman is left looking at a step-down in quality of life. So they stay stuck in dead marriages for the financial security. It would be different if pay was equal, I still believe there's a long way to go there.

I just feel sad. 4 of my closest friends, stuck married to insensitive, controlling or disinterested men & no way out of it because they don't want to lose the financial quality of life.

SueDonim Fri 03-Jul-20 20:55:08

Assuming they are not being coerced into staying in their marriages, if that’s the decision they’ve taken they’ll have to live with it, I suppose.

I have a friend who has left her marriage during the pandemic and is so glad to get away from her ex that she’s prepared to live in a hovel and eat beans on toast for the foreseeable, it had become so intolerable.

Chewbacca Fri 03-Jul-20 21:14:00

I was like your friend SueDonim; life was so miserable that I left a very comfortable home and lifestyle with just some clothes and a hairdryer and I went into a grotty little rented house for 3 yearswhilst I got back on my feet. I suppose it depends on what is more important; lifestyle and money or peace of mind and happiness.

Doodledog Fri 03-Jul-20 21:32:21

Both partners will lose financially after a divorce. It is inevitable, as one set of assets is being divided between two people.

I agree that often it is men who end up with more, if the divorce happens after the children have grown up (before then, they often have to leave the family home so that there is continuity for the children), but that is changing as more women earn decent salaries in their own right, and only applies if the man is still working and the woman has been living off his earnings during the marriage and can't continue to do so when the marriage is over. Otherwise, assets tend to be split 50/50, regardless of contribution.

It is a luxury to be able to choose between divorce and a life where the bills are paid and there is access to a holiday cottage etc. I feel more sympathy for those who are stuck in poverty in a bad marriage.

In the case you describe there is clearly property (2 houses?) to be sold and divided, plus income or capital to which the woman would be entitled to a share, notwithstanding her own salary (or pension if she is older),so she is presumably in a position to make a fresh start, even though it might not be on as grand a scale as she is used to. Her husband will have to do likewise, so I'm not sure of the point you are making, really. Yes, it is sad when relationships break up, but the financial impact (which seems to be what the post is all about) will be shared between the two of them.

sodapop Fri 03-Jul-20 21:38:29

Exactly Chewbacca what is important, possessions or peace of mind. I know which I chose.

Lucca Fri 03-Jul-20 22:00:48

Why would you stay in a horrible marriage just for the holidays etc? Surely you would not be enjoying them if the marriage was bad. Sorry but I think that’s a bit odd to be so attached to “ money”

JuneRose Fri 03-Jul-20 22:20:12

I think it's also the fear of making the change, of being the one to make the decision. The main thing I'd want to be sure of is some degree of financial security rather than luxuries like holidays and second homes.

SueDonim Fri 03-Jul-20 23:24:21

I’m sorry, Chewbacca, that must have been so miserable. flowers

Doodledog Fri 03-Jul-20 23:47:27

I think it's a bit odd that 4 of the OP's friends have admitted to her that they stay with horrible husbands for the financial 'security' it gives them. There is nothing secure about living with a controlling partner, and TBH I think that most women I know would be embarrassed to admit that they were staying in a marriage for that reason.

Someone like Chewbacca who leaves with very little is very brave, and people who are leaving to live a life of certain poverty must be facing a very difficult choice; but in the case the OP describes there would probably be a settlement that would at least give a reasonable standard of living when supplemented with the woman's own salary or pension. She wouldn't have to leave with nothing, or if she did her lawyer would get a settlement down the line.

OceanMama Fri 03-Jul-20 23:57:00

They will leave when the discomfort of staying in the marriage is greater than the discomfort of leaving it.

welbeck Sat 04-Jul-20 00:03:53

it does sound a little odd.
as if they can't bear to contemplate life without access to the holiday cottage.
shows how riches can drag you down, i guess
if she prefers it, maybe she could ask for that house in any settlement. presumable there are two houses.
and doesn't it cut both ways.
the husbands are probably not feeling ecstatic either. may even feel used, trapped, with someone they have to support but whom they feel no closeness with.

paddyanne Sat 04-Jul-20 00:18:24

Why didn't they work throughout their marriages to provide for themselves? I dont understand any woman who wants to be kept unless there are health reasons she cant work .SAHM 's included in that ,once children are at school theres no excuse to sit on your bum and hold your hand out for cash .I do know a few like that and have no respect for them

OceanMama Sat 04-Jul-20 07:35:23

paddyanne, I don't know any SAHM's who sat on their bum when their children were at school. These SAHM's are the ones that make school trips possible, who are classroom helpers, who raise extra funds while the other parents are at work. I'm not going to get into SAHM vs. Working Mum battles because everyone has to do what works for them best, but I've never known a SAHM that wasn't busy doing for her family in some way, even if all the kids were at school. It's a pity it's such an undervalued role. I do think it is good for a woman to keep herself employable because life is unpredictable. In my work I come in contact with a lot of mothers and always make sure I affirm the value of the work they do with their children and families.

NannyDa Sat 04-Jul-20 08:05:24

I once made a list of all the part time, piece meal jobs I’d had whilst the children were of school age, and I was classed as a SAHM. It ran to two A4 pages.

eazybee Sat 04-Jul-20 09:11:30

I don't feel much sympathy for women who profess not to love their husbands but stay because they enjoy the affluent lifestyle he provides. If the feeling is mutual I doubt if the husbands will be around for long; then these wives might begin to appreciate what they have lost.

Janetashbolt Sat 04-Jul-20 09:12:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Applegran Sat 04-Jul-20 09:16:55

in an oppressive marriange where the husband is controlling, the wife may lose her sense of self and not be able to see herself on her own making a new life . She can 'disappear' as an independent person psychologically. I believe for instance where the husband is physically abusive, it takes wives on average something like 7 years to leave him. It may not be the holiday home and comfortable life style these wives are really afraid of losing, but they may be fearful of the life they would or will have once they leave. Its a big step. I wonder how many of them are in marriages which are not as bad as those I've described here and which could come back to a good shared life, if they sought counselling. Whatever way it is for them, I hope they can find a better and happier way ahead. My own experience of leaving an oppressive husband was very hard and painful - but worth it and now I am re-married and living happily. I know I have been lucky and wish that for others too.

b1zzle Sat 04-Jul-20 09:21:06

Snap, Chewbacca, but instead of my hairdryer, I left with my cat.

Happygirl79 Sat 04-Jul-20 09:22:51

It really is down to what is more important to you in the end.
I chose independence over material gains and I am so happy I did
If you feel more unhappy than happy in the marriage you choose what feels best to you
I am much happier without all those surplus material things in my life anyway
The more you have the more you have to worry about

TwiceAsNice Sat 04-Jul-20 09:23:21

My divorce cost me thousands because ex kept refusing to go to court and when he did he hadn’t yet done what was asked of him and no punishment for him for doing so.

In the endI was so stressed ( and out of pocket) that I negotiated a lump sum and gave up on pension sharing etc as I couldn’t stand it any longer. I’m convinced he had an extra Account full of money too that he didn’t declare but I didn’t have enough evidence to prove it. He definitely was much better off I left the house with a tiny amount of personal stuff and nothing else . I re- equipped a house from scratch BUT the freedom from a controlling horrible man was priceless I just realised one day I couldn’t live like it anymore. I don’t have much money now but I am SO much happier. Money doesn’t but you any happiness in my opinion

geekesse Sat 04-Jul-20 09:23:49

Are not such women using their husbands? I can see why an unhappy woman might wish to leave her husband, but what about the poor chap whose wife publicly humiliates him by telling all her friends that she no longer wants to be married to him, but continues to live in luxury at his expense? I see no cause to pity a woman in such circumstances.

I should stress that I do absolutely sympathise with those women who are desperate or abused, but for whom leaving the family home would put them at risk or make them homeless. That’s quite a different scenario.

Beanie654321 Sat 04-Jul-20 09:34:46

I'm sorry but what does this say? Financial gain is more important than happiness? Maybe because I have been happily married for 40 years I really get mad when people say they are feeling sorry for some one who remains in an unhappy marriage for financial gain. A family member of my family walked away from her marriage due to unhappiness without a penny, both had worked hard to provide a good quality of life and she was earning more. For her happiness outweighed financial gain and guess what she has remarried and is so much happier. Money isn't every thing, but peace of mind and happiness are. If people decide to remain in an unhappy marriage then that is upto them, but I would not feel sorry for them as it is their choice. I worked full time until I retired last year, so maybe your friends if not working could. I'm sorry for my outburst and if I have upset anyone, but I have nursed many women who ended up hurt because of remaining in dysfunctional marriage.

Coco51 Sat 04-Jul-20 09:51:15

Seems to me a very selfish way to behave - they are using their husbands in a most exploitative way.

harrysgran Sat 04-Jul-20 09:57:55

I don't feel any sympathy towards them I left with much the same as chewbacca to a very different lifestyle I've had one holiday in ten years however compared to how I felt then everyday is a holiday peace of mind and freedom bring more happiness

annsixty Sat 04-Jul-20 10:08:14

My friend didn’t want a divorce but she “ignored/denied” his infidelities because she wanted to keep her very good lifestyle.
The fact that most people in both families and their social circle knew all this would have humiliated me but she just carried on regardless.
They have moved on so much now I think no one remembers or new contacts never knew.