Sunday, September 30, 2007

Divorce Lessons

A friend was talking about her impending divorce and asking about my experience.

Yes, it's hell. Yes, it's devastating. I didn't know how I was going to manage, but...

Actually, after a while, being on my own started to suit me. It's nice to be able to call all the shots. It's nice not to have to answer to anyone. It's nice to be responsible for myself and my decisions. It's super nice not to have to feel responsible for another adult's happiness, satisfaction and general well-being.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a proponent of frequent and senseless marriages and divorces. Especially when there are kids involved.

I am an advocate of long-term monogamy and believe heartily in the sanctity of marriage. Hell, I'm even monogamous when it comes to hairstylists and physicians. According to, sanctity is defined as, I'm paraphrasing here, that which is inviolable, sacred. On inviolable, from the same source, not susceptible of being violated, corrupted or profaned. And sacred? Something inviolable.

Here's where it starts to get sticky. I believe that when the sanctity of marriage has been violated, there is no marriage. They don't call it a partnership for nothing. I think we can all come up with a dozen or so violations that would void the partnership.

Stickier yet, what if one partner is unhappy? It's not really a violation is it? But I also believe, as many if not most of us do, that we have an inalienable right to personal happiness. Yet how to define happiness. As I've said in an earlier blog, "when saying no is really saying yes," there's the quick fix happiness and the lasting, durable happiness.

I do not believe unhappy people should stay married for the kids. But in my opinion, working on the issues together is the way to get to lasting, meaningful happiness.

Check out "Grow up! how taking responsibility can make you a happy adult," by Frank Pittman. Lots of good ideas here about ways to think about relationships, needs, wants and happiness.

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