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How Can We Approach a Necessary Divorce Wisely and Well

Aug 17, 2007
One of the things none of us ever expected to have to face when we were young adults wearing custom-fitted, rose-colored glasses was leaving a marriage. We've had no training in how to do it although most of us have had the misfortune to observe how not to do it, up close and personal.

When our children are still at home the process becomes a great deal harder. Divorce already looms as nearly impossible without our having to face the fact that we don't know how to cope with our offspring's present and future trauma, brought about by our mistakes.

What brings each person to the point of no return in a marriage is too complicated to accept generalization. We all have different tolerances for despair and even abuse. Long ago I read a book, whose title and author have both since dimmed, that involved a study of how individuals define a good marriage. The incredibly varying answers stretched from a description of what most of us would see as terminal co-dependency to the candid response that it is when no one cares any longer and peace reigns. That said, now that we have come to The End, what do we do next?

One of the greatest deterrents to being able to face the music is the loss of self-esteem. The person who has lost identity in a non-supportive marriage, or who entered marriage already in that state only to have it go from bad to worse, often has no idea how to move to higher, safer ground. All too often, lack of self-worth in one or both partners keeps a pathological union in place.

If a crutch is needed to be able to move on and that crutch is a new "romance" for one of the partners, we are looking at double-trouble. It may be a way to leave but it comes with baggage galore and usually takes things into a war zone. A triangle is formed. The spouse and children who are being left behind will feel doubly abandoned and have an "enemy" to focus on. That's not a wise way to approach dissolution when it's an eventuality.

In the triangle situation, the person leaving has reduced all future options to an either/or choice...while at the same time being in no condition, emotionally, to know what could or should come next. How often have we seen the disastrous results of an "out of the frying pan into the fire" solution?

However, the need for a crutch may be very real and even necessary. When that happens...it's time to seek-out wise, unbiased friends, (which may be hard to find), and/or a good counselor to provide some much needed support and direction. If things have gone way past reconciliation, then someone to help steer the ship through troubled waters could make all the difference.
About the Author
Luise Volta's life has included careers in nursing, teaching pre-school, interior design, Real Estate sales, insurance adjusting, and dairy herd testing. Visit for Marriage & Divorce.
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