The minute she found out he has a girlfriend.
Here is a phone call I had this week with a new client. We’ll call him Burt.
Burt: I need a new lawyer. The one I have been using ruined my divorce.
Me: That’s terrible! What happened?
Burt: I have no idea. My wife threw me out 6 months ago, but we were planning to have an amicable divorce. Minimal fighting, shared custody, lots of agreements. Then, out of nowhere it is bitterly acrimonious. She doesn’t want me to see my kids, she keeps threatening to call the police if I call the house, it’s just a nightmare.
Me: How is it the lawyer’s fault? What caused the change?
Burt: I can’t figure out what made it all go so bad. I haven’t changed, so it must be the way the lawyer is handling the case. I even asked my girlfriend if she thought it was the lawyer’s fault.
Me: Wait. What girlfriend?
Burt: Well, after my Wife threw me out, I met someone new. Now, my Wife won’t even let the kids meet my girlfriend. She doesn’t want them sleeping at my apartment anymore. It is just a mess.
Me: Get rid of the girlfriend.
Burt: No. That’s not what’s making problems. My wife had already kicked me out. She doesn’t care if I have a girlfriend.
ATTENTION: All divorcing men. New or old, girlfriends make your divorce cost more, take longer, and destroy any good will. Honest. They do. No matter what was wrong in the marriage, you just made it much worse by getting a girlfriend.
Things that can get worse: Suddenly, she wants alimony, because it turns out that YOU are the only reason the marriage went wrong. Visitation decreases, because she doesn’t want her kids hanging around with you and “that slut.” With less visitation, she will want higher child support, because she suddenly feels even more like a single parent. Legal fees increase exponentially as you try to fight all of this craziness. And, worst of all – she has a mean story to tell everyone about how you had already moved on while she was still struggling to try and save your marriage. Everyone in this case likely includes your mutual friends, her family, your family, your boss, and especially your children.
ATTENTION: All women dating divorcing (i.e. married) men – you are doing yourself a disservice. His divorce, and therefore his life – your life together – will be negatively impacted by your relationship.
PLEASE let the divorce conclude quickly and amicably first. Then begin your lifetime of new-found happiness.
I have absolutely no evidence that this works both ways. I can’t be sure if a divorcing woman’s new boyfriend has any impact at all on her divorce. But I am certain that girlfriends ruin perfectly good divorces. I have never seen it fail.
What We Love: Love. Love will find you again when this mess is all over. But men who rush into the next relationship frequently leave deep scars in the old one.