The First Critical Step Towards Divorce

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

We are always amazed at the number of articles with steps to take in divorce.  These include things like getting familiar with the finances, timing events around a bonus or stock options, watching texts and emails and many other tactics that lead to the ultimate conflict.  It is encouraging the culture of conflict.

But we always look at how people got there in the first place.  What happened?  What is the story to this marriage?

Before anyone thinks that we are coming down on divorce, we fully understand there are plenty of reasons to end a relationship and many times it is simply because the other person has left or is leaving.  It just takes one.

On the other hand, there are plenty of examples of couples that arrive at the conclusion to divorce together.  We had a couple in our office for mediation and one opened up about how she shares this divorce with their children.  She said, paraphrasing, “Getting married was not a mistake and the years together are to be cherished.  Getting a divorce is a change to our relationship and not a comment on the time we had with each other and with you, our children.”  She went on to explain that this something different and pointed out how the children are now having more direct time with their dad than they did before.

But even in this case, when the divorce is amicable, what happened?

Separation is that first step on the path.  It is not the affair or other misdeed; those generally happen later.  It is the decline in interest and time spent with each other.  It is making “other” more important than “us.”  This includes electronic diversions and other forms of interaction that pull us away from each other.

We see it in children as they leave the real world to immerse themselves in the life of digital “reality.”  It goes so far as to foster some people to commit suicide from the online attacks they receive.  When the digital world takes hold, relationships suffer.

There are other distractions as well.  Hobbies, friendships outside the marriage, interests in work that supersede family and much more.  Even a good cause can be a bad thing when it dominates the relationship.

This is the real first step toward separation.  Divorce is simply the manifestation that the marriage is considered irreparable.  But is it really something that cannot be repaired?  That depends on the willingness and insights of the couple.  Tolkien once penned these words:

“How do you pick up the threads of an old life?  How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back?  There are some things that time cannot mend.  Some hurts that go too deep… that have taken hold.  It cannot be said, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.”

Something to consider when thinking about where you are in your relationship.

Armand & Robbin D’Alo