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The pain of divorce

Divorce hasn’t exactly played a big part in my life but recently divorce has played an unwitting role in dictating my short-term future. So today I was interested in a piece in The Independent entitled Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Why breaking up should be much harder to do. It is a very interesting read and poses some interesting questions.

Divorce has become all too common. The rise of the internet generation has played a role in that but more importantly the stigma of getting a divorce has all but evaporated. People fail at marriage all the time. Things don’t work out for whatever reason but it is easy enough to move on. Well legally it is anyway. Emotionally it must be far harder to swallow.

I come from the viewpoint of ‘if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it’ and I stick by that mentality. I personally feel that people get married because they often feel that is what they are meant to do. Being happy and cohabiting is not enough. A big day and a piece of paper is needed to validate the relationship but often that only leads to one side getting the itch. When things are legally binding people tend to feel more trapped and when people feel more trapped they tend to try to leave.

Maybe it is the case that people are hoodwinked into believing that marriage is easy. Marriage will solve all ills in a relationship when in fact marriage will only exacerbate the problems and bring them into more sharp focus.

The author says this in the piece:

In this Pollyanna world, inspirational divorcee role models are Prince Andrew and Fergie, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, Jude Law and Sadie Frost. Those who can’t join this merry train are judged to be immature, selfish, manipulative, uncaring, backward. As one distraught mum said to me: “He leaves me, broke and broken-hearted and I am just to take it, give him his share of the babies I carried and gave birth to, treat him well, never cry, never tell him I want to die.”

I have bolded the piece that piece that I find most apt. People do often tend to believe that you should just move on. Get your head down and work on through it. He/she doesn’t know what they’ve lost. You are better off without him/her etc… but these are just words and words to not equate to feelings. Words are just that – words whereas feelings reverberate around your very being and soul. Words go in one ear and out of the other but feelings never escape. They only reduce and get more bearable to the point where you feel that life can move on.

To describe people who are hurting over losing something so special as immature, selfish, manipulative, uncaring and backward is surely not right. Would you say that to someone who lost a close friend or family member? I know death and divorce are two different kettles of fish but you still need to grieve for both. Both situations result in loss whether it be of a loved one or a loved relationship.

People heel in different ways and at different paces but I find it hard to ever have a problems when someone has feelings. You can’t help but have them. So why do some people get stigmatised by society for not moving on with their lives in an orderly fashion?

Personally I think the divorce rate and marriage as a concept is rooted in the past. Marriage is like a millstone around the neck for so many couples that it can tear them apart. You can be committed without being married but still society sees marriage as the ultimate commitment to the world that you love your partner. Just because a man hasn’t asked you to marry him it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you.

I wish I knew the answer. Wouldn’t it be easy if we could all control our feelings and emotions? However if that was the case then living would be a very different experience. People have feelings and no-one should ever be told off for having them.

As a footnote it is February 29 in a couple of days, the day when women can traditionally ask men to marry them. I would suggest that no-one is going down on one-knee in front of me on Wednesday and if they would then I’d just shake my head. Marriage is right for many people but for just as many it is not right but they feel compelled to do so.

So my parting words on this subject are always do what you want and never be forced into anything you aren’t comfortable with because if you do then things may well not work out how you hoped and dreamed that they would. Always be true to yourself and getting married because that is what your partner craves might not be best for you both in the long run. The same regarding children. Sometimes giving in to what your partner wants isn’t healthy for either of you in the long term.

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  1. Nice piece. Where we stand affects our view and it is easy for people in the media to give an opinion to judge. Life is more complex than that. Perhaps the Independent should advertise the fact that this government has increased the funding for counsellors, which I think is a good think for people in the pain of a difficult relationship.

    • neilmonnery neilmonnery

      It would be good if the piece had that in it. Divorce – like so many things in life – is far more complex than people want to believe. We all react in different ways to many things so why wouldn’t divorce be any different?

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