Maria and Don have been happily married for 26 years. They have two fantastic daughters who both have graduated from college and have moved out of the house. Don is delighted to finally have Maria all to himself, and to have the time (and finally the money) to travel and enjoy life even more!
Maria is despondent. She misses the noise in the house. She misses the girls chatter and the excitement of their lives that she used to share every day. Don still leaves in the morning for work, so his life hasn’t really changed that much. But, Maria has always been a happy stay-at-home mom, and now she asks herself, “what am I….WHO am I???”.
Don just doesn’t understand why Maria isn’t thrilled to be an empty nester. I mean, isn’t that what they both have been waiting for? They successfully raised two great children, and put them through college. The children have jobs, and one is engaged to someone they both adore. What could be better than this? The house is paid off, and they have money set aside for retirement, as well as quite a few dollars in their joint and individual savings accounts (they always kept individual savings accounts so that they could surprise the other with gifts for holidays). Maria was always frugal with gifts over the years, and she has saved over $53,000, which remains in her individual savings account. She doesn’t think about the money. It’s just there.
Her daughters have suggested that she get out more, maybe volunteer somewhere, but Maria would rather just be home. She’s pretty good at computer games, and she finds that she is spending more and more time in the den, on the computer, doing the New York Times Crossword puzzle (oh, boy ! That’s HARD!!), and Scrabble.
Lately, she downloaded the game WORDS WITH FRIENDS. She loves it and has been playing with strangers that she is “matched” with for the past week. She is really getting better at it, and has just started winning some games. More people are inviting her to play, and she clicks “accept” readily.
Then yesterday, she started playing with some gentleman named Tony Otto. His profile photo showed him to be a nice looking gentleman with a young son. After playing with him on an off during the day, he sends her a private message on the WORDS WITH FRIENDS site, “Hello beautiful. I hope you are having a nice day”. She is surprised! She knows that it is possible to press that little button on the top right of the screen and send a private message to an opponent player, but she has never done that and nobody has ever sent her a message before. She waits for a minute, and then another message pops up, “Hello. Are you there?”. Well, she can’t be rude, right? So she responds, “Hi”.
The private conversation continues as he tells her that he is a widower raising a son, and that he enjoys being a father. He asks her if she has children, and she tells him about her wonderful daughters. Maria feels a thrill. Sort of a tingling feeling that she used to feel when she was very young and dating. She feels that maybe this is wrong to continue to “talk” to Tony, so she says she’s busy and closes the game for the day.
The next day, she opens the game and finds herself looking to see if Tony has played his turn. He did. Then she plays her next turn, and with the monitor in front of her, as giddy as a school girl waiting for the phone to ring, she waits to see if he sends a private message. He does. He asks about her day, he asks her questions that make her feel WANTED. She is thrilled. But, she tells him she is married. He is fine with that, he says. He is not looking for romance, he just wants to be friends.
Then he tells her that his son is sick, and that he is concerned. She tells him to take him to the doctor immediately. He will, he says.
The next day he tells her that his son has a dangerous disease and that he is concerned that his health insurance will not cover what is needed. He asks her if they can talk on a site called What’s App because it is easier to chat. He tells her how to download this app, and how to sign in.
Over the past few more weeks, Maria’s heart is breaking for Tony. He simply cannot afford a certain test for his little boy, and doctor requires $10,000 to run this test. He hates to ask Maria for the help. He will pay her back, he swears. No, it’s too much to ask, never mind, he says. Maria insists, and using a link Tony downloaded in the most recent message, Maria transfers $10,000 to Tony.
Apparently, Tony has friends. All of a sudden more men from WORDS WITH FRIENDS are wanting to play with her and as soon as she accepts and starts playing with them, she gets a private message saying, “Hello beautiful. I hope you are having a wonderful day”.
Tony is gone. Long gone.
And now, Maria has some explaining to do with her husband. $10,000 worth of explaining.
Will Don be angry enough to terminate the marriage, or will he understand how Maria’s loneliness overpowered her?
The lawyers at Joseph & Joseph & Hanna, Co. LPA certainly hope that divorce is not in the future. Our lawyers are looking forward to meeting with you. Sometimes meeting with an excellent attorney actually saves a marriage.
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