6 Things I Would Have Done If I Had Known Divorce Was Coming

As I was slicing up a head of red cabbage this past weekend, I had a sudden craving for cabbage slaw. And not just any slaw, but the one my former mother in law used to make (and I used to devour).

Which made me realize that there were certain things I would have done towards the end if I known that my marriage was heading for a (by that time, inevitable) cliff:

1 – I would ask my mother in law for that cabbage recipe. And I would take her out to lunch to get it. And while there, I would thank her for being so kind to me, especially when I had such a rough year during my first term in college. And I would give her a letter to read when she was feeling timid or overwhelmed filled with words of empowerment and encouragement.

2 – I would have backed up our entire iTunes library onto CDs. I lost most of my music with my husband; the password to the account was changed and I no longer had access. It’s still such a tease when I go to play a favorite artist or album only to realize that it is among the lost songs. My dad gifted me some Amazon cards years ago that I used to replace the most important music. That was nice:)

3 – I would have talked to my then-husband’s friends. Two in particular. I would have let them know that I was concerned about him (assuming that I knew enough to be) and asked them to a) call him out on his BS and b) be there for him. He needed a support system. Instead of building it, he systematically disassembled it.

4 – I would have researched divorce laws in my state, especially as it relates to fault vs no fault. Because I really handled that poorly because of a lack of knowledge combined with panic. It’s a deadly combination. And I also would have asked friends for attorney recommendations; it’s not a time when you want to rely on Google.

5 – I would have said goodbye to him at the airport with the knowledge that it really was goodbye. I would have said a little more. Held on a minute longer.

6 – I would have posted the following on my bathroom mirror, on my computer, in my car and basically everywhere I would see it:

Everything is going to be okay. Breathe it. Believe it. And live it.


How about you? If you could do some things differently in those final weeks of your marriage, what would you change?


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34 Responses

  1. divorceshoes says:

    There are so many things I wish I would have done differently too! Hindsight is 20/20 I guess…

  2. I’m still hoping my marriage doesn’t end, but these are all good things for me to keep in mind, so thanks. Just in case…

  3. riri1124 says:

    I would have banked a lot more money and accepted offers of “walking around money”. I would’ve said “OK sure” to offers of buying me clothes, shoes, accessories, electronics, household stuff, and anything and everything else that I had said “No, that’s OK” to because I thought we shouldn’t spend the money on me. And I would’ve checked his car for CDs and jewelry that belonged to me before he drove away and I never saw (or heard, as the case may be . . .) them again.

  4. Jana says:

    I started saving money in my own account a few months prior to my husband leaving. At that point, I was just entertaining the idea that we may not stay together, but I didn’t really think we’d split (and I didn’t dream he would be the one who ended it). Had I know, I would have saved much more for much longer. One thing I wouldn’t change is the way I interacted with him after the split. I decided that I didn’t want to be bitter and angry and I always treated him with kindness and respect (even when he didn’t reciprocate). Of course I was heartbroken and I WAS angry often — I just didn’t base my interactions with him on those emotions. It helped me find peace and balance throughout that difficult time — and it also helped us to have a more friendly relationship.

  5. Before I knew of his affairs, I would have held him longer in my arms and in my ignorance. The truth changed me and I would hold him longer everyday. The trust I felt, I feel I will never have again for anyone. I miss that feeling.

  6. Christine says:

    I love this post. And, it is a timely one as I have not seen my ex since he left 9 years ago..not only me but two girls as well. He is now remarried, and just a few months ago, I got to meet with him, his new wife along with one of my children. What struck me most, how remorseful he seemed for all of it. His wife is a very nice person, and I do enjoy conversations with her. The point is, he changed. He lost a lot when he left, and I can see he is not the same person. So, while I spent many years wondering if we ever meant anything to him, it has become quite clear that a great change of heart has taken place with him. There really wasn’t much for me to say or do before he filed for divorce. But, I see very clearly now that the pain ushered in a great restoration.

    • What an amazing experience for you to have! From the perspective of the left, it often seems as though the leaver is unaffected. I’m glad you were able to learn otherwise. I hope that it was healing for you, your child and for him.

  7. giraffesmile says:

    I have never been married. But had I known a horrible break up was coming, I wish I had punched my ex in the face earlier . 😝

  8. Two things that I would have done…
    1). Had I known what the actual cause of the divorce was, I would have taken the steps to try to avoid the divorce. But unfortunately, I’m still learning 6 years later things that I could have and should have done to save my marriage.
    2). I would not have kept the house, but either insist that she take it, or insist that she help me to get it sold and split the proceeds.

  9. tracihalpin says:

    I would have slowed down and learned more about the process and my rights. Six years ago I was a teacher with a nice salary and now I can’t work due to disability. Our agreement was uncontested and we waived our rights to alimony and pensions,because at the time they were pretty equal. I called my lawyer today and she said I cannot now ask for alimony. I’m so depressed. I wish I would have thought about the possibilities of the future and not just thinking I was fine and I can take care of myself and my daughter. My lawyer tried to explain to me that I should not waive my rights, but I told her we get along; she said you may end up in court in the future. I had no idea I would be retired at 47 with a small disability pension, and I really had no idea that I wouldn’t be able to ask for alimony 6 years later. I am in a really bad place.

  10. I would have told my husband how I had really been feeling. I wouldn’t have tried to spare his feelings. I wouldn’t have let him off the hook for the way he treated me during our marriage. I would have told him that I loved Mike more. I would have told him that he loved Martin more than me. I would have told him that our marriage started to die years ago and that we simply kept it on life support. I would have told him that I was afraid to be on my own and that I was holding out hope that he would fight for me. Instead, I told him that I wasn’t leaving because of Mike. I told him I was leaving because we couldn’t resolve our issues, that we were too far gone for counseling to actually work. My fear made me believe I had made a mistake. I tried to save our marriage by begging him to work things out. But in the end, he had fallen in love with his boyfriend and I had fallen in love with my best friend and that was the end. What had been a polyamorous marriage turned into two people realizing they no longer loved each other. I would have told him that.

    • I have a feeling you’re not alone in wishing that you had spoken all the truths. We often try to protect feelings – others and our own- when the damage is only delayed.

  11. Lisa says:

    That totally blows bout the,music. I’m sorry bought that. Music helped me thru anything. Regardless, as,long as YOU. Are happy that’s what really matters ❤

  12. Anonymous says:

    My 6 things:
    1Put some money aside for kids needs and future lawyer
    2.Get health insurance for myself
    3. Recorded our conversations
    4. Child support
    5.Started working fulltime job instead of part time
    6. Told my mother law to stop thinking her son is an angel

  13. JoAnna says:

    I would have spent more time strengthening and valuing friendships. I’m thankful my friends were there for me anyway.

  14. Jen says:

    I would have made copies of all important documents – pay stubs, retirement accounts, bank accounts, tax returns, etc and I would have taken pictures in every room of my house before I moved out. Although we went through 6 Rounds of discovery, my ex refused to supply most of the requested documents related to our finances. And many of my personal
    Items and our marital property went “missing” after I moved out. Documentation is so very very important to have!

  15. Jen says:

    I would have made copies of all important documents – pay stubs, retirement accounts, bank accounts, tax returns, etc and I would have taken pictures in every room of my house before I moved out. Although we went through 6 Rounds of discovery, my ex refused to supply most of the requested documents related to our finances. And many of my personal
    Items and our marital property went “missing” after I moved out. Documentation is so very very important to have!

  16. Laura says:

    Most of us had the same Attorney mistakes. I would’ve moved faster with the divorce. Time killed me but I was waiting for the trauma to subside while he took advantage of hiding our money. I also would’ve laid low healing instead of reaching out to friends in my trauma. In our trauma, we look like the crazy woman our husband portrays us to be—I lost all my friends.

    • stilllearning2b says:

      It definitely makes us feel crazy! Sorry your friends turned out to be of the fair-weather variety. Hoping some true ones find you soon.

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