When I mention the divorce situation the usual reply is I’m sorry. There were two exceptions until now, one was “Finally, thank god” and the other one was “I’m sorry or congratulations depends on your situation”.
If famous people get a divorce, the media reports it as a failed marriage. Take for example the recent (well it was recent when I started writing this) divorce of Melinda and Bill Gates. Their official statement was that they “don’t think they can grow any further together”.
Why is this considered a failure? Why is the fact that two adults come to a peaceful agreement considered a failure? Nobody was harmed in this process, both people came to a decision and acted on that decision. If not getting a divorce is the only path considered as not being a failure, what is it then when two people live together, fighting, not enjoying each other, or worse. Why is this considered as not being a failure?
Until death due us part
“But what about the until death due as a part thing you promised?” Things happen in life, things change, people change (to some extent, not radically), circumstances change. Forcibly sticking to a phrase being forced upon us by religion is bullshit. The whole soul mate thing is bullshit, and especially the Disney-fied version of romance and happily ever after is bullshit.
This talk from Alain de Botton kind of says it all.
Yes, I get it, nobody plans for this, nobody imagines that there is an expiry date on your relation and people live with this idea of getting old together. But sometimes it doesn’t work that way and I do not see this as a failure but the way one reacts and responds to this change can be seen as a failure.
Nothing is wrong with trying to work it out, nothing is wrong about living happily ever after but the same goes for getting separated if things don’t work out. It might be painful, emotional, and complicated because it involves change and we humans don’t like change. From a bureaucratic point of view, there is nothing complicated about it. Fill out 3 sheets of paper, sign, go to the court appointment, and you are done. “Easy as pie” as Pepa Pig viewers might say.
Persona non grata
I never understood divorced couples turning into enemies and even worse, hating each other through their children. You have been with this person together for a long time. How do you change from partner to enemy just because the relationship is no more?
This reminds me of episode 6 of the “Absolutely Mental” Podcast, where Sam Harris tells about when he was debating Rick Warren who is a pastor and runs a megachurch. At one point Rick Warren allegedly says:
If there were no god, I would be raping and killing people.
I have no words to comment on this except "what the fuck?"
But back to the subject at hand,
Did you, in fact, hate this person all along and you stuck together just because it’s expected of you and now that you are divorced you can let your real feelings show? How would sticking together in such a case be considered as not being a failure?
Of course, this wasn’t something you have planned when you got married, nobody expects you to be best buddies with your ex but for fucks sake, life goes on, deal with it without being a jerk.
I have been asked how I’m not angry, but why should I be angry? Let’s be clear, it wasn’t a happy cheerful period, I won’t pretend otherwise. But this part passes and even during this time, you can choose what your reaction to the situation will be. Some emotions are beyond your control, but again, you can choose to be a fucking prick about it or get your shit together and start adapting to the new situation.
Once something has lost its spell and longer in chance no amount of force can bring it back to life — I forget where I tot this quote from. I think it’s from the book “The laws of human nature”
So, why waste energy on something that’s not going to change when instead you can invest your energy in adapting to the new situation and start working on yourself and making the best of whatever situation you have now. Why waste your energy in hate when again, you can put it to use for something that will help you along the way.
I have also been told that it’s not normal to be in such a good mood. Again, there was a fucked up time where I was everything else then in a good mood, one or two things I wrote in the past is a good example of that. But I wasn’t intending to remain like this forever. Also, my hard time most likely was related to some other things that came up, but my childhood is a completely different story I won’t dig into right now or probably never in do public form.
I have this picture in my office saying something like
For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness
From my point of view, accepting that things can’t get better together or as the Gates put it: “can’t grow any further together“, treating each other with respect is under no circumstances a failure! Everything other than this is a failure.
But what about the kids
Here is where I have to disagree with “Button”, I don’t think sticking together just for the kids is a solution. Kids can deal with a lot more than we think, we can deal with a lot more than we think. Yes, this will affect the children, but you have to decide which path will affect the children worse, sticking together, being unhappy, and projecting this unhappiness to the children? What will this do to the children if they grow up and realize you stuck together just for them and lived an unhappy life? They will blame themselves for it and can’t turn back time to change it, they will forever try to deal with this and probably choose to stick with a partner they don’t want to be with anymore in an attempt to fix what they think was their fault. Is this any better?
Yes, it is hard for children to understand, it takes time, patience, and a lot of cuddles. There will be questions, the same questions over and over again. Be fucking honest, but in a child-appropriate way. Don’t give them bullshit, they will either see through it or worse, believe it and think that things will sometimes go back to what they were, which, they won’t.
As long as both parents treat each other with respect and don’t badmouth each other through their children, kids will be fine. They will be better of as parents forced to stick together by some bullshit idea, be it religion, Disney, or some other fuck. Yeah, I swear a lot, deal with it!
Actually, in my case, my kids got a lot more of me than they ever had. Being forced to restructure my life led to a huge improvement in my life and thereby an improvement of the time I spent with my kids. There is no backup, when Kids come home from School / Kindergarten, I have to be there for them no matter what. This has improved the amount of time and quality of time I spent with the kids. It dragged me out of my hamster wheel of constantly trying to be productive and do something, which in fact was burnout that I didn’t acknowledge, until to the point where leaving work late became a habit. But this is slightly getting off-topic, so let me wrap things up.
Let’s wrap this up
To put it short, be a fucking decent human to yourself and others. Just because everyone else by default thinks of it being a failure, draw your own conclusions and move on with your life. Treating others with respect doesn't mean you are weak and is, in my point of view, the only right way to move forward.