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Understanding divorce: a first person perspective

Posted May 07 2013 6:32am

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Divorce is a subject which many of us encounter but few of us are ever prepared for. When it comes to understanding this difficult transitional stage of our lives, examining the situation from a first person perspective can prove incredibly beneficial. To help you get to grips with some of things you might encounter, here is an overview of divorce – written as if by a real person.

Divorce for me came about as the result of many years, not of fighting, screaming, shouting or violence, but simply the result of marital indifference and the slow realisation that things were not going to get better.

Of course we did argue, I challenge any married couple to say on oath that they have never argued but over the course of eight years we became almost strangers. He worked very long hours, often away for a week or ten days at a time and I suppose I got used to him not being there. His ten days working away would culminate in a six hour drive home to be confronted by me expecting him to give me a break from the housework and childcare. Neither of us felt we had two minutes to relax and neither one of us felt able to help one another, the tension was bubbling away for years and never really found an escape.

Eighteen months ago we organised a weekend away together, something we had not done since before the children were born but even preparing for that was hard work. After a two hour drive back from Portsmouth he had to pick the kids up and drive them another hour away to my parents house, drive back and then drive to the hotel we had booked in Brighton.

By the time we got to the hotel he was (understandably) very tired and wanted to lie down. He lay down on the hotel bed and fell asleep for nine hours. I was not in the best frame of mind the next morning and as a result neither was he. We went downstairs and had breakfast at the hotel and at one point after we had finished eating our eyes met. Not in the way they did all those years ago, there was no glint of excitement or lust but instead they met in mutual sympathy. What had we become?

We arranged for marriage counselling. The counsellor was used to angry people making angry and emotional accusations at one another and was rather surprised to find that the two of us were not like that. We still got on, we didn’t have any major issues that needed resolving but at one point having established that we liked each other he asked us whether we loved each other. We gave the only answer we honestly could; no we didn’t.

Instead of hanging on until we did have major problems we decided not to undergo further counselling and jointly filed for divorce. It sounds terribly sad but it honestly wasn’t – we were both holding each other back. We made a pact to put the children first and they have responded very well. I’m not sure if there is a lesson in all this, other than perhaps not every divorce needs to begin or end in misery.”

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