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The Woman Helping Her Ex Set Up Dating App Profiles

“I asked my husband for a divorce two weeks before the state of emergency was declared.”

Illustration: Simone Noronha
Illustration: Simone Noronha

Stephanie, 34, Dallas

I asked my husband for a divorce on March 2, about two weeks before the state of emergency was declared in Dallas. We’d just celebrated our six-year anniversary, but we’d had some issues come up in the months before. Originally, we were going to try being separated and to see other people first, but I didn’t want to feel possessiveness or jealousy. I wanted it to be definitive.

After that, we thought we’d have plenty of space from each other, since I work from home and he usually works in an office. We didn’t anticipate being on lockdown together in our loft, which has no doors or bedroom walls. The worst part is being isolated from our support systems, and having to tell people over the phone or in texts what we were hoping to tell in person — all while we’re in this apartment where we can hear everything the other is saying.

We also couldn’t go into court, so we had to e-file on OnlineDivorce.com. Still, we had to find a notary. Luckily we live in a building with businesses in it, including a lawyer who was still operating. So we went in to see him, and then just walked back down to our apartment afterwards.

I’ve been sleeping on a sofa bed in the office. I’m constantly scrambling to hide the mattress and pillows when I’m on my Zoom calls with clients. Our dogs are confused about why I’m sleeping here.

The weird silver lining is that this has given us a chance to get some closure. We’re both big into video games. I realized he was gonna get a PlayStation, so I had to get my own and set up an account. We play a lot of first-person shooter games. There could be a little bit of passive aggression coming out, I guess. I’m teaching him how to cook some basic things so he’s not just having peanut butter and jelly every night. And he’s a really talented graphic designer, so he’s been setting me up with all these files for my blog. They’re like parting gifts.

We’ve also started getting on dating apps together. I want to help him meet someone who would be good for him. I’m a photographer so I’ve been helping him pick out photos. I know it’s weird, but we’re getting a divorce in the middle of a global pandemic. The rules are different.

I’m moving into my own place soon. I never got to see the place in person, which was hard. You can’t go and look and envision your new life. There’s no housewarming party. But it’s also showing me that I’m strong enough to do this alone.

My husband is looking for a new apartment near mine. We have a bottle of wine from our wedding saved to drink together the night before I move out. I think it all could have gotten a lot uglier if we hadn’t been forced to work through this together. At the end of the day, he’s still my best friend. I’m close to his siblings, and he’s close with mine. We have our Alamo season pass, so we’ll keep seeing Marvel movies together like we always did. I’m taking one dog, and he’s taking the other. They’re super-attached, so we’re gonna try to do weekly dinners so they can see each other.

One show I forced him to get into while we were together was 90 Day Fiancé. There’s this one episode where an ex-wife officiates the wedding. We used to joke that if we ever split up, that would be us. So now, we’ve made a deal: Whenever we do settle down with someone else, a prerequisite is that they have to be okay with us being a part of each other’s lives.

Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

The Woman Helping Her Ex Set Up Dating App Profiles