Growing up, all my friends came from intact families. I had every expectation that when I got married, it would be forever. Even when I began practicing family law and saw people’s relationships fall apart on a daily basis, I still never dreamed it would happen to me. No one I have ever met has ever said they thought it might not work out, but they gave marriage a shot anyway. Understanding that the expectation was that something would last forever, is exactly what helps explain why is it such a devastating blow to someone when things don’t work out.
Whether you are the one leaving or the one left behind, there is always pain, regret and sorrow. People cope with feelings differently, however, and some lack the skills to work through their emotions effectively. Some will misuse/abuse the legal system to get their pound of flesh, and the consequences of all the games can be devastating beyond belief. I guess I should be grateful that I got to see this first hand for so many years before my own divorce, because that is exactly how I realized that is not what I wanted for my own family, and it is not what I want for any of my clients.
The other day, after reading Mr. & Mrs. Twit by Roald Dahl to my son, he asked me “why would anyone stayed married if they hate each other so much?” Excellent question- I ask myself that every day. I suppose for some there is a major economic dilemma with respect to creating two separate households and dividing assets; for others it may be the fear of the unknown or being alone that keeps them in an unhappy situation. At least Mr. & Mrs. Twit did not have any children that had to witness their dysfunctional relationship, but for those with young children, I do wonder what message they are getting seeing their parents under one roof, sticking to their vows, but miserable. While I regret that my son does not get to see both his parents living happily together, I have to admit I was relieved to learn that he understands it is okay if together forever does not work out.