Recently I was with a client having dinner with three other women. Obviously I’m divorced and my client is at the end stage of her divorce that started 3 years ago. My client is beautiful, generous, sweet, kind, educated, fun, articulate, thoughtful. Basically someone we’d all want as a daughter, sister, friend, mother, neighbor. But her husband had an affair and walked out after a 28 year marriage.
I know…you think he must be crazy! Everyone thinks that. When you meet her, you realize none of us is safe as a wife if a spouse could walk out on someone of this caliber. None of us is protected from a spouse who suddenly, or maybe not so suddenly, walks out on you because someone new walked into his life or someone from his past resurfaced. And there are those who say, with their engagement ring surrounded by wedding and anniversary bands wrapped around their left ring finger, that there must have been some trouble in the marriage or otherwise it wouldn’t have happened. As a society, we love to place blame and find a reason why something happened. It makes us feel better when we can identify why it happened just like when someone is diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma and the first question is, “did he spend a lot of time in the sun”?
Back to the three married women and the two divorced women having dinner. I had to sit back and chuckle at the questions. Is the other woman prettier than the gorgeous woman sitting at the table? No is the answer. Is the mistress younger? Again, the answer is no. What does your husband do for a living? He has his own company. Has had it for almost 20 years. Were either one of you married before? Yes, he was a long time ago. Remember, it was a 28 year marriage. How long did you date? How long did you wait to have children? Did you go on vacation together? Did you share similar activities? None of these questions or answers would begin to explain why this man would leave a beautiful, generous, sweet, kind, etc. woman.
When we begin our lives together, we don’t know what’s ahead of us, together and apart. We make plans and dream of our futures, but sometimes, life plays tricks on us, dirty tricks. We get married for all of the right reasons that we know of – but mostly because we love one another and want to be together for the rest of our lives. But what if one person changes her mind? What if one spouse meets the person who she thinks finally understands her and knows her like no one ever has? Sometimes, the spouses agree together that they would be better off apart. This is known as the good divorce. But that’s not usually the way it happens.
Engagement, weddings, marriage, pregnancies, babies, etc. are all celebrated in big ways! Divorce is still baffling to many of us. Why do some marriages end in divorce court while other marriages make it to until death do us part? I know the women sitting around the table didn’t come away with any answers but I know they all felt compelled to wrap a huge piece of bubble wrap around themselves and their spouse. Because in the end, it’s all a crapshoot if your marriage will be one of the ones that survives.