I was talking with a friend who has been struggling in her marriage for some time, and as we talked about it, I had an ah-ha moment. What I realized is she was repeating a mistake I made myself, and have seen others make as well.
The mistake was that once she started considering the possibility of a divorce, she can’t seem to stop thinking about it. Like a tumor, this thought keeps growing and festering. Every time something goes wrong between her and her husband, she now jumps right this this thought rather than to more constructive ones focused on understanding or fixing the issues.
I have heard it said this is how suicidal thought work, they grow and grow, almost becoming an obsession. The person eventually talks themselves into believing suicide is the *only* solution and that they must act on the thought.
As my friend and I talked, I noticed she was rejecting any constructive advice about steps she might take to turn her marriage around. Over and over she said, “That won’t work…” or “I tried that…” or some other such excuse. This is another thing that happens when thoughts of divorce take hold. The person starts to only focus on information and advice that confirms that path as the solution, literally shutting out all of the other options.
So why does my friend want a divorce? Because she thinks she would be happier and that life would be easier if she wasn’t married. And I think that frankly, she’s bored and in a rut herself. Instead of owning or recognizing that, she projects it onto her spouse. He’s the reason her life isn’t all she wants it to be, when actually the person who is really holding her back is herself.
Don’t get me wrong, in some cases divorce may be the best option. Some people aren’t good together and are drawn to each other for all the wrong reasons. Some marriages truly are toxic. If her husband was unfaithful, or abusive, or an addict I might understand where she is coming from. But I have asked and probed to see if it’s the case and nope. It truly seems to be simple boredom.
Her husband isn’t a bad guy, he’s just an average guy. It’s true he’s not terribly exciting but then again, guys who are terribly exciting rarely make good husbands. Her husband is predictable, and reliable, and stable. He’s average looking, average height, makes average money, and enjoys average guy things. Maybe she could do better, but she also could do a lot worse. And not to be unkind, but she’s pretty average as well. And I think that’s really what’s bothering her, she isn’t happy with herself. A divorce (or as some in the manosphere have nicknamed this type of divorce, a frivorce) won’t fix that.
Another thing I have noticed as we talk about her thoughts of divorce, she pictures life on her own as some sort of utopian fantasy land where nothing ever goes wrong, everything is suddenly perfect, she can do and have whatever she wants, and there is no downside. In her mind, the grass is unrealistically, almost psychedelically green on the other side of the divorce fence.
But as a divorced person, I know that’s not true. It’s totally unrealistic. Life continues to have it’s ups and down after a divorce, just like it does when someone is married. And a lot of the “problems” I thought would go away after I divorced, didn’t. They are still there. And in some cases they are even bigger now.
So I gently and with love pointed all this out to my friend, and told her I knew what she was doing because I had done it too, then reminded her to beware the power of her thoughts. I hope the next time her mind turns to thoughts of divorce, she will remember if she’s not careful, she’s going to talk herself right into it. And I hope that thought will help shift her thoughts away from this divorce fantasy and back onto actually fixing the problems.
Let those who have ears hear.