Divorce

When I was considering getting a divorce, I had an endless list of arguments against this decision. I was in a new country, and it was terrifying to be alone in a very strange new reality. Financially, it would be ruinous. I had grown up in a relationship with this guy (I was 16 when we met) and I had no identity outside of our relationship. I’d learned to think of myself in terms of “we” and the idea of becoming simply an “I” was terrifying. I felt ashamed of becoming a divorcee at the age of 22. Emotionally, I knew that it would be devastating.

There was, however, one very strong argument in favor of getting divorced. Every person deserves to be in a relationship where they feel joyously, ecstatically, overpoweringly happy, I thought. You never know whether you will find that relationship after you get divorced, of course. But at the very least, we all deserve the right, the chance and the freedom to look for it.

Life without love or the possibility of looking for love is a sad life, indeed.

So I got divorced and it was even more painful, ruinous, traumatic and devastating than I’d thought. If you haven’t been through a divorce, then you are not likely to understand how difficult it is. Even if the relationship was completely dead, even if you couldn’t wait to be out of it, even if it was 100% your choice to get divorced, even if there are no children involved, a divorce is always tragic.

I never regretted it, however. Even at the lowest points when it seemed that I was scarred for life and would never get over it, I felt extremely grateful to myself for having found the strength and the courage to leave. As painful as a divorce is, it is always better than the realization that you are doomed to spend the rest of your life – your one and only life! – in a relationship that brings you no joy.

43 thoughts on “Divorce

  1. It is a tragedy because it’s the end of something you dreamed / hoped and believed would be amazing, which is probably why you entered into it in the first place .. but being alone is heaps better than being unhappily coupled, that is for sure – well done you on such a big move 🙂

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  2. I thought this post was beautiful. I have never been divorced but your words really resonated with me. I agree. We all deserve joy and a life without joy is a life wrongly lived. I’m glad that you had the courage to find your joy. 🙂

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  3. So I’m the same age that you were when you got divorced. Reading this also gave me a bit of extra strength and resolution towards my promise to myself to put my well-being before the guilt-trippings of others, and not let poisonous people back into my life. Thanks!

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  4. You are a very powerful and courageous woman.Not many of us have the courage to divorce and they prefer to be unhappy but don’t divorce because they don’t have the strength to do this.You will be a happy woman because you deserve it and getting that divorce was the best thing you did!!

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  5. Divorce is still the worst thing I’ve endured and I’d do it all over again. My therapist said “do you want to be happy or do you want to be right” and that was all it took. I was gone.

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  6. People always tell me they are sorry that I am getting divorced, expressing sincere and well-meaning sympathy, but I have never been so happy in my life, despite the difficulty of going through the process itself.

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    1. I’m very glad you feel this way, Jonathan! You deserve to be happy.

      I was clapping and hugging my divorce lawyer when I finally got the divorce certificate 4 years after the actual separation. She was very shocked. 🙂

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    2. Reminds me of a Louis CK joke. Something to the effect of, ‘don’t be sad when someone divorces, because, you know what, no good marriage has ever ended in a divorce’.

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        1. It isn’t like anybody plans serious relationships or love. They just happen. When I met my current husband, I was completely sure that we were going to have a 3-week-long insignificant fling. And now look what happened. 🙂 🙂

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    1. @David

      The problem isnt marriage its the fact that most people dont fully understand the committment of what they are undertaking. This is true of all relationships that at one point are going to require trust, patience, understanding and the ability to say sorry. 🙂

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      1. “The problem isnt marriage its the fact that most people dont fully understand the committment of what they are undertaking. ”

        – I was 19 when I got married and in my culture, the word “commitment” does not exist. 🙂

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  7. It takes a lot of courage to get divorced. Most of the marriages I know of are hanging together from guilt, obligation, and fear. Oh, and kids. I’m guessing probably 1 in 10 of the married people I know are happy. It’s a depressing anecdotal statistic. The ironic thing to me is that the divorce rate would be loads higher if people were really honest about how they felt. I don’t know how anyone stays together for a lifetime.

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    1. “Most of the marriages I know of are hanging together from guilt, obligation, and fear. Oh, and kids. I’m guessing probably 1 in 10 of the married people I know are happy. It’s a depressing anecdotal statistic. The ironic thing to me is that the divorce rate would be loads higher if people were really honest about how they felt.”

      – I agree completely. I looked at such couples and asked myself, “Do I want to spend my entire life this way?” The idea horrified me, so I left.

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    2. When I see this (which I agree is a valid observation) it makes me very sad. I love my wife – I love being with her, talking to her, singing with her, living my life with her. I can’t imagine a more joyous existence. When I hear people complaining about their partners, it makes me wonder – what happened? Weren’t you infatuated with this person at one time? There were things you loved about them – did they (or you) really change that much? Or are you letting your frustrations with the rest of your life infect and destroy your marriage? Are you blaming your spouse for your own failings?

      People who got married for the wrong reasons (like Clarissa’s first marriage) are an obvious mismatch, and both are better off apart. For those giving up because it’s easier than working through minor problems (and in hindsight, most problems are minor), I find very few who are happier. Too many fall into a pattern of perpetual relationship -> breakup, consistently looking for instant gratification over a long period of time. Which is impossible, since instant and long term are not compatible terms.

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      1. In my case, the problem was that I didn’t love him for the simple reason that I was too young an immature to be capable of love. What I mistook for love was actually a great friendship. We could have been really good friends to each other. But as a romantic couple, it just wasn’t there.

        So now we are not spouses and not friends either.

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      2. I also wanted to agree with Patrick in that I definitely had this belief that the moment something even really minor went wrong in a relationship, the best strategy was to end it immediately. The idea that one can resolve issues and move ahead was alien to me. And that did not make me happy. It was quite a revelation to discover that every small fight didn’t mean that the relationship had to end right there.

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      3. What does ‘grow up’ look like though? Is it possible your frustration is misplaced? Do you have some idealized vision of what a husband ought to be, rather than what he is? I obviously don’t know you – so I’m asking rhetorical questions. What one person considers ‘immature’ is endearing to another. Thirteen years ago, his personality was appealing (I assume) – why isn’t it anymore?

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      4. I think I’m replying to the wrong thread, but I’m unsure of how to fix that. Anyway – without getting too specific and outing myself too much, there are financial attributes to being a grown up, behavior that indicates an ability to negotiate society without embarrassing everyone, and the ability to finish what you start. That, to me, is being a grown up – responsibility and all.

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    3. Kids are an awful reason to avoid divorce. If the couple is unhappy, the children are unhappy, too. My family would have been a lot better off had my parents not tried to “work it out for the kids.” It only meant more fighting, and a dramatic, drawn-out three year divorce.

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      1. True – staying in a fractured home is worse than a broken home, in my NBHO. But the goal shouldn’t be to stay together for the kids – it should be to stay together and fix the problems. As I noted before, I see too many people divorcing/breaking up for reasons that have little if anything to do with the marriage. And no one ends up happier as a result of that.

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        1. I don’t think that the problem has as much to do with people getting divorced too quick and without enough consideration. I think the real issues is that people get married without thinking things through and discussing their expectations, creating shared life goals, resolving issues with their baggage from the past, etc.

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      2. “Kids are an awful reason to avoid divorce. If the couple is unhappy, the children are unhappy, too. My family would have been a lot better off had my parents not tried to “work it out for the kids.”

        – YES. A hundred times YES. The burden of guilt that such children carry because they see their parents be miserable for their sake is very heavy. And I always feel like it is never really about the children. Children are just an excuse people use because they are afraid of change, the hassle, not being able to find a partner.

        Everything I said in the post can be applied to children: Your children deserve to see their parents in happy fulfilling relationships or free to look for such relationships if they want.

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      3. “I don’t think that the problem has as much to do with people getting divorced too quick and without enough consideration. I think the real issues is that people get married without thinking things through and discussing their expectations, creating shared life goals, resolving issues with their baggage from the past, etc.”

        You read my mind!!! This is exactly what I was trying to say, yet couldn’t find the right words. Thank you!

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  8. bloggerclarissa :
    Everything I said in the post can be applied to children: Your children deserve to see their parents in happy fulfilling relationships or free to look for such relationships if they want.

    Yes. It makes me very happy to see my father in a fulfilling relationship. It was so very healing for me to watch Dad meet someone, get ready for dates, buying presents for his partner, and watch the two of them together. (And it was so very cute when he excitedly showed me said gifts!)

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