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7 Divorce Alternatives When You Can't Stand the Spouse You Love

Frustration, anger, and fear normally drive us to either-or thinking. Too many of us who still love the person we married end up considering divorce because life with our spouse has become intolerable. Let me suggest a few alternatives that most of us never consider until it's too late:

1. You'll need two homes if you divorce. Why not get them now? You may find you really need only a few hours a week apart or a very small space for keeping your hobby gear always out to keep your love alive.

2. If part of the allure of divorce is the chance to go out with friends after work, go out with those friends. You two will need to figure out a way to avoid disappointing a spouse who gave up other opportunities to eat dinner with you or who has been in the kitchen cooking for you or who usually depends on you to do the cooking, but those are much easier problems to tackle than the ones divorce will hand you.

3. If divorce would mean 50-50 or 4 night - 3 night joint custody or full custody with visitation rights, implement it now. Stop the battles over responsible parenting or differences in parenting style. Stay under one roof with a custody schedule and let all that resentment go. You might rediscover the man or woman you loved in return.

4. Would you need to sell some of your share of your joint assets to get by after divorce? Sell them now. Put the cash in a bank account for following or protecting your dreams.

5. Would divorce protect you from your spouse's angry outbursts? Hire someone else to deal with them. Offer a college student from the local gym or the local psychology department free dinners to come spend 6 to 9 pm in your home and stand in for you when you simply walk away from these outbursts to a quieter part of the house or neighborhood. Treat them like symptoms of a disease you are not trained to cure.

6. Would divorce put an end to sloppiness in your home and yard? Make clean-ups your top priority. Work fewer hours on other things so you can. Or work more hours and pay someone else to handle the mess. Or redesign your living quarters to require a lot less care. Without the criticism, your spouse's loving side may surprise you again.

7. Would divorce free you to travel more, dance more, climb more mountains, or take more classes? Free yourself. Stop waiting for your spouse and go do them alone or with friends.

If you have stopped loving your spouse or don't feel safe around him or her, please ignore everything above. But if you are one of the millions saying "I love you, but I am no longer in love with you," then one of these might spare you the pain of divorcing someone you love.


Your remarkable insight into third alternatives are always interesting to read. I especially like #7 with regard to doing what you want now, instead of getting a divorce.

Thanks for helping us see some options.


Thank you, Beth!

I like your creative solutions!

Surprisingly, the separate residences solution seems to work for a lot of people. I know quite a few couples who do some version of this. In one case it is actual separate houses in different neighborhoods. They talk on the phone or see each other every day, and may sometimes spend the night at one or the other's house, but don't actually live together. That wouldn't work for me, but it's exactly what they need. In another case, they have a small house that is the main residence, and a boat that one of them uses part of the time when the one who works at home needs solitude. In fact, a lot of couples simply rent a small studio or office to be used for hobbies or work (as you mentioned in your article). This seems to be a great way to remove the clutter and not be under each other's feet all the time, while still maintaining a typical living arrangement. The point is to think outside the box, even when the box is your house.

Rosemary, that's worth a Tweet or a Pinterest Pin:
"Think outside the box, even when the box is your house."

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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