Divorced In Name Only
When the couple gets divorced but then continue to live together, do yardwork/errands/favors, etc
I've seen this happen many times, most recently reading "Murder With Peacocks." A couple, usually one married for many years, divorces, but one or both continue to act as if they're married. They still live together, perhaps claiming it's cheaper or too much hassle to move out. He's moved out but still comes over to mow the lawn, trim the bushes, fix the leaky sink -- not just once in a while, he's there pretty much every day. He stays for lunch and/or dinner and sits in his usual seat just like when they were married. And she usually seems to take this for granted as the natural way for them to behave. She may come up with an unlikely number of things she needs him to come help her with, or he may be stopping by every day just to see if there's anything she needs. One or the other, or even both, may be dating, committed, or engaged, and the other is amazingly supportive, offering any help needed (babysitting, loaning a boat or cabin, cooking a fancy dinner, even arranging a fancy and expensive setting for a proposal) with no apparent ulterior motive. They really do seem to have their ex's best interests at heart and want to see them happy, even if it's with someone else. To their kids, friends and neighbors, the divorce usually seems to have come out of left field, and they'll often wonder why on earth they did it, yet the idea of remarriage is seldom if ever brought up. Sometimes one or the other of the couple will eventually voice a secret hope that if they just continued to be supportive and "there for" their ex, they would have come to their senses and come back to them for good, but this is by no means necessary or even a majority, and it's definitely not obvious or frequent. The Ex may express amazement at how understanding and helpful they continue to be, or it may go completely unspoken, either taken for granted or cynically taken advantage of. This may eventually lead to a happy remarriage, often after the fiance has been revealed to be a cad, already married, too boring to love, a murderer, or otherwise unsuitable. Sometimes involves a last-minute rescue or an interrupted wedding. It may all have been a ploy to get the attention of a spouse who had become too complacent.
- In Murder With Peacocks Meg's parents had "the world's most amiable divorce," apparently all her mother's idea, "and five years of so-called single life during which my father happily continued to do all her yard work and run errands for her." Her father cheerfully helps with all the wedding plans for her mother's remarriage, including arranging for all the trees to be draped with spanish moss from her mother's Southern home.
Hello, Unknown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here.