Carolyn Hax: In limbo over a big life change – The Washington Post

It’s been six days of radio silence. And since I’m the one who has always reached out after an argument to make up, I don’t want to do that now. It was his ask.

At what point do I get legally separated? Or just leave this limbo crap going?

It’s Only Me: You say, “limbo crap,” I say tomahto.

Something big just happened to you, enormous, life-rerouting. And it happened against a backdrop of an unrelated something else that’s drawn out and scary and stressful.

I understand your impatience for Answers — uncertainty alone can feel disorienting, without a breakup and a pandemic to round it out. It’s a terrible amount of stress, I’m sorry. However, in my experience at least, minds do a better job of processing and making sense of new and strange things when we give them time and space to do it.

Your husband, if nothing else, has handed you time and space in abundance. So instead of fighting him on that — instead of fighting to shorten the time and compress the space — please treat these as possibly the most useful things to have during this awful time. Accept that you can, at least for now, live with your new reality without external pressure to respond to it.

I don’t mean for you to clear your schedule and perseverate; quite the contrary. I’m suggesting that you settle into the work of figuring out who you are, what you have and what kind of life you want to build for yourself, with or without your husband — and, again, without weighing down the process with artificial deadlines.

When you insisted on a “plan” or else “this would be . . . the end,” it probably felt like a way to have some control over an outcome you didn’t ask for. But you actually gave power away to your husband, allowing him to decide what comes next and when.

So withdraw the ultimatum — ideally out loud, but you can also do it only in your mind, since it wasn’t a definitive “by Tuesday or else!!!” kind of ultimatum. Then take a day, then another, then another, to see how your own choices fill the husband-shaped space in your life. Then live a whole week like this, then another, then another, till it doesn’t feel new or strange to think of and for only yourself.

You say “limbo crap,” I say healing, grounding, acceptance. Whatever comes next will be better for your having embraced this restorative time.

Dear Carolyn: How can I shut down questions from siblings on when my son and his wife are going to start having kids? I find the questions intrusive and annoying and want them to stop! I’ve tried to politely rebuff the questioning but am getting nowhere.

Annoyed: You do realize you’re the only one trying to be polite here, yes?

Tell them it’s not your business and you won’t discuss this again. Then don’t. Sweet relief.