He’s a 40-year-old father of two pre-teens who is getting ready to end a 15-year marriage. He’s looking for books and guidance to help him through the process of leaving his marriage and setting up a new home for himself and his kids when they come to visit. He hasn’t told his wife he wants a divorce yet and already is considering going into debt to comfortably outfit his new home.

I’m not sure that what I said in response to his email was what he wanted to hear. Much of my reply was based on the experience I’ve gained by going through two divorces of my own.

I said:

I’ve been trying to come up with a helpful reply but I don’t think I can give you the “complete” answer you want so let me just toss out some thoughts and suggestions.

Here are a few books I found at Amazon.com that you might want to consider. Most have used copies available which makes for a better buy:

The Divorce Recovery Source Book,
Always Dad: Being a Great Father During & After Divorce,
Divorce Rules For Men: A Man to Man Guide for Managing Your Split and Saving Thousands,
The Man’s Guide to the Art of Divorce, and
Man’s Guide to a Civilized Divorce: How to Divorce with Grace, a Little Class, and a Lot of Common Sense.

There were more books, but these came up at the top of the search list.

As far as setting up a new home… the period between marriage and a new life after divorce is one that is primarily a transitional one. In my opinion, you shouldn’t consider that home to be a permanent one. I think you should shop with “thrift” in mind so that your future home, the one that you make for yourself and possibly a new person, won’t have to be the one you set up for yourself while you are in the midst of a divorce struggle.

In other words, don’t go deeply into debt for this transitional space. Buy cheap and, if you find furniture that could be refinished or repaired, do the work in those quiet times when you need something to keep yourself busy. There are quite a few places to check for used furnishings… hospice stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army, yard sales, eBay, etc.

It can take some time to search for the right “stuff” but spending time now is better than maxing out credit cards and having a debt that could put a crimp in your future life. Same thing for the actual “space” you decide to move in to.

To make a major expenditure for a new place to live to fit this transitional time will cause problems should you decide to stay in your marriage. What do you do with everything? And what about the new debt? Same thing if/when you move through divorce and meet that new “perfect person” who may already have her own home and “stuff.” It’s difficult to work two complete households into one that suits both but not so difficult if one or both can let go and move into something new to them both that suits their new life together.

That’s the best I can do at this point other than to point you to a couple forums that might be of support. The first is Midlife Club forum, the second is the forum at About Divorce Support . Forums on both sites have extremely active members of both genders who can offer excellent advice.

© Pat Gaudette. All rights reserved.