I have been meaning to write this post for some time but have not felt I had the time needed to devote to covering it properly. Well, I still don’t but now I figure I am just going to write something and then I can always flesh it out more in another post because ladies I feel this really this needs to be said: Beware the greener grass.
By greener grass I mean the thinking that getting a divorce is the solution when a marriage struggles, or that struggle is some kind of a “sign” that it’s time to divorce. That life would be better if you got a divorce.
Now that said, I do believe there are some circumstances where divorce is *sometimes* the best option (mainly when there is abuse/addiction/adultery), but even in those cases I have known and seen couples overcome these challenges and end up with a stronger better marriage for it. So even these are not necessarily insurmountable.
But getting back to the greener grass, I would say that a fair amount of the 50% of couples who divorce probably COULD have worked through their issues and ended up in a better place and with the personal growth and knowledge doing so would have led to.
But in our society, what I see is that women are far more supported to leave a marriage than to work on one. The message that “When you aren’t happy, it’s time to move on” is just far too common. And guess what? A lot of time that “not-happy” has little to do with your spouse and a lot to do with your own inner self. In these cases, divorce is not going to solve the issue. It will be there again in the next relationship.
If there *is* a next relationship, that is. According to the statistics, for as many as six in ten divorced women over a certain age, they might end up single indefinitely. This post from a male blogger sums all that data up.
So if you are a lady considering a divorce, I hope you will pause and reconsider. I hope my encouraging you to stick it out will help counter all those “go girl!” voices saying divorce is the answer. (And if you are a man considering divorce, I hope you’ll do the same.)
Because I can tell you, seven years after my own divorce, the grass isn’t greener.
I’ll spare you the nitty gritty but in short, I had every reason to get divorced. My ex was an alcoholic, verbally abusive, emotionally abusive, cold, withdrawn. Then one night, during a stupid argument that was really about a lot more, he raised his hand like he was about to smack me, then instead he threw a beer in my face and shoved me out of the house without our then two-year-old daughter (luckily sleeping at the time) and would not let me back in. I slept at my girlfriend’s house. That night was, in my mind, after 10 years, the final straw.
Good choice, some would say. Heck even if someone told me that story, I might say, “You did all you could. Time to go, girl.”
But what I know now that I did not know then is that he was hurting, badly. For one, he was in deep grief. He had a son from a previous girlfriend and she abruptly moved out of state, breaking all contact with him and his son shortly after we married. (Another long story but because his name was not on the birth certificate, he had no legal rights, or so we thought at the time, but looking back, I am not so sure.) And he was stuck in a dead-end, soul sucking job that he hated. He was deeply, profoundly unhappy and I believe all that was a big part of the drinking and all the rest, not that it made any of that right.
However I will also admit (painfully) that I wasn’t there for him in that time of need, I was not empathetic to what he was going through nor did I offer him much support. Instead, I selfishly focused on what I wasn’t getting, how it was all affecting ME. I picked fights. I threw fits. I made demands. Me, me, me. By focusing on myself instead of on US, I missed the bigger picture. And that I believe was the mistake I made. Had I done differently, perhaps it all would have gone down differently. I’ll never know. And that not knowing haunts me.
He’s quit drinking since and has a new job where he is valued and respected for his skills. He recently remarried. He’s reconnected with his now grown son. He seems happy. And I hope that he is. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I had waited a little longer, been more understanding, been more constructive, built up my house rather than tear it down with my own hands.
Water the grass you’ve got. That would be my advice.
Let those who have ears hear.