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I have problem that I’m sure you heard before yet feels very unique to me. I am a late-30’s lesbian married to a late-30’s lesbian and we have a child together (elementary-aged). My wife and I are both good, kind people, we get along well, we both love each other (even if we don’t always like each other), and yet… we are not a good match. We both agree that we got married to young (25) and too soon. We have had therapy, individual and together, and come to a place where it is pretty clear that we are not a good “fit.” My wife has asked for a separation, which I agreed to. We are doing an in-house separation, which essentially entails splitting our bedroom down the middle, splitting finances, and setting a pretty concrete responsibility schedule. Two weeks in, and she says that she “doesn’t want to rip the bandaid off, but probably should," i.e., divorce. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what will happen.

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So here’s the question: I agree that we would be better off apart from each other, as individuals. But we have a daughter. I would be fine on my own with our kid, but am horrified at the thought of doing one-week-on, one-week-off, or really anything similar, with this child whom I adore. I want to be a daily part of my daughter’s life. My wife wants 50-50 time, but doesn’t care as much about specifics. She (my wife) likes the idea of living together as “family,” moving to a 3 bed-room house, until the kid is older. In theory, I like this idea. It makes sense. Wife also says she can’t imagine life without me in it. However, I am fine without my wife, but a mess when she’s around. All of this just hurts too much. We’ve discussed opening the relationship (she has a much higher libido than I do), but she doesn’t want that. So, essentially, I am stuck with… I can (a) see my daughter daily and live with my potentially-soon-to-be-former-wife/new-housemate (probably better for kid) and be an emotional wreck, or (b) split custody, be better emotionally re: wife, but miss out on half my daughter’s life and be upset about that. Or are there a (c) I’m not seeing? (a) and (b) both break my heart, albeit in different ways.

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(c) Instead of a three-bedroom house, DUMRN, get two apartments in the same building. The kid can freely bounced back and forth, allowing you to be in the kid’s life every day while also making it possible for you to go days—maybe even whole weeks—without having to interact with your future ex-wife face-to-face.

Don't go way the hell out of your way not to see the ex, of course, as the effort and strain of that would definitely make things awkward for your kid. But even if you were run into your ex-wife three or four days in a row, or even three or four times in one day, just knowing you have your own apartment with its own door—a door you can shut and lock from the inside—should do wonders for your peace of mind.


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