Despite my choice of profession and the fact that I have been through many of these with clients, divorce is not easy. It is not pretty, it is not fun and it is not cheap. In addition to hurt feelings, bruised egos and feelings of betrayal (sometimes) there is a deep and profound sense of loss. Loss that accompanies any other type of grief. I have seen many deaths of marriages and each time it is still just as sad. Through the years, our move and new friends, I have seen more than a few of those friends also struggle with the death of their marriage.
A recent post by another friend about the death of her marriage renewed this feeling of sadness. You think that this would be something that I would be used to and numb to, kind of similar to the way a doctor has to learn to steel himself or herself from death and dying or they would most likely go crazy, dealing with it –day in and day out. For a good part of my 23 years as a lawyer I spent a great deal of time dealing with deaths of marriages. Most of them, however were people that I didn’t know, the other half of the relationship was a faceless name for most of the proceeding with no emotional attachment on my part. My job was to sever the end of their marriage quickly, economically and hopefully to everyone’s tolerance since no one in a divorce can say they are happy with the results. Nonetheless, dealing with strangers and their problems is always easier than dealing with names that carry faces with them and memories — both good and bad.
For me, it is always difficult to understand how things can deteriorate between two people. Sometimes that deterioration is to such a hateful level. People who once gazed at each other with the proverbial stars in their eyes, now have daggers and would rather die than be in the same room, house or sometimes even state as the other. It always baffles me, but people change and sometimes they grow apart. Most times, those friends do seem happier now which is good for them and the other people in their lives. Sometimes the “one” really wasn’t the “one” and no matter how many times you try, the square peg just won’t fit in the round hole. For others, it may be a matter of giving up.
One of the things that comes from seeing these experiences, whether they be personal or professional, is to take stock of your own relationship. Doing divorce work or seeing others go through their own marital problems makes one reassess one’s own situation. It makes you wonder if either of you is capable of pulling the plug on a relationship that, in our case, has lasted much more than half my life. Hopefully, when you take stock you realize that you’re not capable and neither is your spouse. That is always a good thing.