Relationships

Nine Women Talk About Their Divorces

Best Divorce Advice

Have you ever ended things with a serious partner? We asked nine women about their divorces and separations — the pros, cons and how they made it through. Here are their honest, thoughtful answers (and if you’re up for sharing, we’d love to hear your experiences, too)…

On knowing it was the right decision:

“Our relationship had been going downhill for a while, and we thought a baby was the solution. We tried to conceive naturally, but I was always secretly relieved when my period arrived. We even saw a reproductive endocrinologist, but when the time came to take the medication and schedule the procedure, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Admitting to myself that I didn’t want him to be the father of my child was the final straw.” — Maria, 37, marriage of six years

“At some point I didn’t feel I had a choice — I was so deeply unhappy. We went to therapy for a year, but it only made things seem more hopeless, since so many of our differences were laid bare, and we were unable to surmount them. During this time, we had bought a weekend house, and I was busy furnishing it, finding antiques and picking wallpaper. But then the house was ready, and I realized I didn’t want to actually be there with my husband. That was a wakeup call. My feeling is that if you’re getting divorced, you need to feel that you’d rather be alone than in that relationship.” — Grace, 39, marriage of six years

“I was visiting my mother and had terrible stomach pains after a night out with my kids. I figured I had food poisoning, but my mother insisted I go to the ER. They did a cat scan that was ONLY looking at my belly, but it caught the very bottom of my lungs. There was a three-centimeter mass in the base of my left lung. The cancer was back. I had a lobectomy and five rounds of debilitating chemo. I was blown away, destroyed. I decided that if I lived, I was going to live 100% my way. I didn’t want to work somewhere, live somewhere, or find myself in any situation that didn’t feel spot on. That’s when I knew I had to leave my marriage.” — Casey, 44, marriage of 15 years

On experiencing grief:

“When our marriage was ending, my mind felt like a movie reel of the best and worst times. On days where I missed him, I thought of the good moments — trying to get to the hospital on time for the birth of our children. Or when we’d get breakfast at the diner and we would put our firstborn in a hook-on high chair attached to the gingham table, and we all just laughed and laughed together. You want to shout, ‘Remember when?! Remember when we had these times?!’ The flashbacks are overwhelming. But, then on the days where I was angry or hurt, I thought of the other moments, the times it wasn’t working and would think, ‘Oh, I should have known then’ or ‘How did I not see that?'” — Robin, 50, marriage of 25 years

“The hardest part was letting go of the future we had imagined. We had bought a home and planned to have kids. Ending that dream, and not knowing if I would ever find love again or have children, was in some ways harder than the breakup itself.” — Maria, 37, marriage of six years

“When she left, I was on the verge of tears every single moment of the day. But time passed, and it got to a point where the sadness was every other day. Then it was four or five days. Then it was weeks. You truly never think this relief will happen, but it does, even if it’s in waves. On an especially hard day, my friend who had gone through a divorce told me, ‘Well, now that’s one less breakdown you’ll have. You’ll have only so many breakdowns, and look, you’re one step ahead.’” — Amy, 43, relationship of 15 years

On navigating financial freedom:

“My separation required a lot of strategy, because it was an abusive relationship. Even financially, the split was really difficult to plan because my ex had full control of where the money went — even my paycheck’s direct deposit went to his account. I didn’t have a penny to my name. I work in the service industry so I started stashing my tips away a little at a time, so that I could have a cushion for when the time came. One day, I came home from work to find the cash in a neat pile on the coffee table in front of him. I made up an excuse for what I was saving for, and had to start the whole process over again with a better hiding spot. I had $800 when we finally separated. The day after he moved out, I applied for a credit card, and got approved with a $500 limit. I opened a checking account that he didn’t have access to, and to my shock I was able to afford the rent and bills on my own. I was excited to find I was making a lot more money than I even knew, but also devastated because I had allowed him to convince me that I wasn’t responsible or smart enough to have any control of my finances for so long. I finally recognized myself for the first time in seven years.” — Rachel, 34, marriage of seven years

On newfound independence:

“There’s this scene in Home Alone where the kid Kevin McCallister wakes up after his entire family has left for their vacation without him. And, at first he panics and tears through the house in distress, realizing he is all alone. ‘I made my family disappear,’ he sulks. But then, there’s this moment where he pauses, and really takes in the empty house. ‘I MADE MY FAMILY DISAPPEAR!’ He shouts again, but this time with the widest grin you’ve ever seen as he runs through the house jumping on beds with a bucket of popcorn. That series of emotions is how I feel every morning when I wake up and remember what I’m going through.” — Robin, 50, marriage of 25 years

“The first thing I did was redecorate my entire apartment. I hunted antiques on Craigslist and wallpapered my bedroom. We agreed that he would take the TV and I never replaced it. Instead I did yoga in the spare room and listened to podcasts and audiobooks. Changing the space felt therapeutic and necessary for moving on.” — Rachel, 34, marriage of seven years

“One of my favorite parts of my marriage was holding hands at night after a long day. We would lie there, silent and exhausted, and my partner would place her hand on mine. When I told my sister how THAT was what I missed most, she said, ‘What if you hold your own hand?’ And she exaggeratedly gestured her right hand reaching over and grabbing her nervous left hand. We sat there laughing until tears were streaming down our faces. If that’s not a metaphor for a breakup, I don’t know what is.” — Amy, 43, relationship of 15 years

On talking to kids:

“That moment we told our children? That. Was. Hard. I did a lot of research and wrote a draft of what we would say, which started with, ‘Your dad and I are a really good team when it comes to being your parents, but we are not a good team when it comes to being a couple.’ The minute I said this, my nine-year-old daughter started crying. My heart shattered. Then, not even an hour later, she asked me if she could dye her hair purple. I said yes. On our walk to the salon, I told her, ‘You know that there is probably no other day ever I would have said yes to purple hair?’ With a big smirk on her face she said, ‘Oh, Mom, I know!'” — Tina, 44, marriage of 13 years

“A family therapist helped us strategize how to tell our daughter, and she gave us the great advice that little kids just need to hear the concrete, logistical details about who is living where and where they are going to be, and that we didn’t need to explain our feelings or the decision. Sure enough, our daughter was totally focused on having two apartments, and how exciting that was. We made her a clear physical calendar showing her the weekly schedule so she knew when she’d be at each place. Then, as she grew older, we answered her deeper questions as they came up.” — Grace, 39, marriage of six years

“It’s the time to create new traditions. I started taking my kids on road trips, just the three of us. We would get in the car together, and I would say, ‘Left or right?’ And we would have no idea where we would end up. One time we ended up at The Alamo in Texas. One time we ended up at Mall of America. One time we saw a billboard for a place that said, ‘We have 100 pies,’ and we went and got five pies each. Those trips feel like a lesson for our family: Life doesn’t go according to our plans, but you make the best of it together.” — Stacie, 50, marriage of 15 years

On splitting time with kids:

“The hardest part is that I don’t get to be with my daughter all the time, since my ex and I share joint custody. That has stayed hard. It’s been eight years and I can still get teary when it’s time for her to go to his place.” — Grace, 39, marriage of six years

“To my surprise, what I was most of afraid of turned out to be the biggest perk of this 50/50 co-parenting set up. I was terrified of the weekends where I wouldn’t have the kids. I thought I would be miserable, sitting depressed in my apartment second guessing my life’s decisions. But while I do miss the kids, I am excited to have weekends to myself, to recharge, spend time with friends or simply sit on my couch and read. I had completely forgotten what it felt like to be just me. It’s glorious!” — Tina, 44, marriage of 13 years

On taking a step forward:

“My husband of fifteen years told me he didn’t want to be married any more. I was turning 40, and I had two young kids and a law practice, and it felt like so much change at once. I needed to remind myself what I was made of. So, I started training for a marathon. Who knows why that’s the thing that I chose! I haven’t even ran a half marathon! But, I trained and trained, and when the race came, I ran the entire thing. During those last four miles, my legs didn’t want to run anymore, and there was this disconnect between my body and mind. Every step I told myself, ‘Just pick your leg up.’ I said it over and over, ‘Just pick your leg up.’ It took that moment to realize how much control my mind has over everything else. I finished the race, smiling ear to ear. People were collapsing and crying around me, and I was like, ‘Time for some chicken-fried steak!’ It was a triumphant turning point in my life.” — Stacie, 50, marriage of 15 years

On advice for others:

“This sounds so corny, but this is what you do: you wake up with the sun, you make yourself a spinach omelette for breakfast, you drink a lot of coffee, you put your head down and work, you take a lot of walks, you watch your alcohol intake, you go to bed early. You talk to people. You ask for help. It takes all of what you’ve got to keep going, but you’ll make it through.” — Robin, 50, marriage of 25 years

“When someone tells me they are getting a divorce, I say, ‘CONGRATULATIONS!’ If you’re doing it, you need to be. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. The best thing that could have happened for my kids. And the best thing that could have happened to my ex. Everyone in my family became who they needed to be from this situation. We all became the heroes of our own journey.” — Stacie, 50, marriage of 15 years

Have you gone through a separation? What was your experience? Any advice you’d share for someone going through it?

P.S. A seven-step guide to heartbreak.

(Illustration by Julia Rothman for Cup of Jo. Some names have been changed for the privacy of the people interviewed. And a big thanks to Megan Cahn for her interviews of Maria and Grace.)

  1. Bernadette says...

    I know this post happened long ago, but my boyfriend recently broke up with me, and I found myself perusing CoJ’s breakup posts. Our relationship had been rocky (we’re both in law school…amidst other things). Anyway, it was still such a shock, and I’ve been feeling so abandoned and jaded lately.

    Anyway, I just needed to know that this deep ache of sadness would end and that such heart wrenching pain was normal. I was so taken with Robin’s list of what you do. I copy-pasted it to my sticky-notes on my computer, and whenever I feel like I am about to burst or I start feeling that pre-deep cry breathing coming on or I just feel so deeply sad that someone I loved so much didn’t have it in them or I feel confused by the answers that just can’t be answered, I read her words. Each time I focus in on a different motion or action she lists, and I remember that the heart heals and the growth and pain is a sign of the beauty of being vulnerable and willing to take a risk and love. But her clear list of steps to get through the day and allow time pass is such a needed reminder.

    I find myself re-reading the comments and break-up posts, and sometimes I feel like I’m wallowing, but then they also feel like the most supportive shoulders. Thank you!

  2. Eva says...

    I am currently just filing for separation. My husband lied to me for many years due to gambling and I had to a take control of the finances. Even though I definitely stopped loving him around that time, we had 2 babies already, so I figured he would get help, we would pay off debt and move forward. Cut to a few years later. We now have a 3 and 6 year old. He was just dx with bipolar. He is on his own journey with taking meds, not taking them, being delusional and angry. I want to be free so badly but I worry about my kids all the time. And I also enjoy where we currrently live because it’s our home and easy for me to get to work. Sadly, I cannot support home on my own. So lately I’ve been completely in a miserable funk of 1. Divorce 2. Bipolar stuff and worrying about if my kids will inherit 3. Moving. 4. Realizing that I’ve focused so much on my young kids and my husband these last 6 years, I don’t have many friends. We just got out of debt and I was looking forward to travel but now have to pay lawyers for a separation. I’m scared always. Crying always. My family is a bit sick of me really, and I don’t blame them. Everyone says I will be happy again once we are separated and I’m on my own with kids. But I don’t know if that is true. I will be 40 in 1 year and feel like everything I’ve worked for is either going away or will be Constantly tainted by my husband and his diagnosis. Everyone is giving me tons of advice but I wish I had someone to hug me and tell me that no matter what, it will be better. I will do well. I really need encouragement right now more than advice.

  3. Audrey says...

    I came back here today, after commenting on the original post because, well, I’m having a bad day. I managed to do some positive things over the weekend: painted the rooms in our house that felt the most “his” or “ours”; rearranged furniture … and was feeling ok about that. Then, the lure of social media, and posts from friends catching him on tour, having a meal before a show … and I feel it all over again: sad/lonely/unable to accept that after 25 years he just up and walked out with no real explanation — just left. truth is, I’m painting and rearranging furniture because I’ll probably have to sell the house. He got a fair amount of money out of me and my years of hard work. and I got … left behind

    • Meredith Ketts says...

      I hope that in time, you don’t feel left behind. Maybe this is a gift to find your own feet firm on the ground, on your own path. I am grateful for my divorce 8 years ago, I wasn’t expecting it either. I love my life even more now and I don’t think anyone could make me feel abandoned again because I found that everything I need for happiness is within. Good love to you.

    • Erika says...

      I’m so sorry. After 11 years of marriage and 5 years of divorce, I still have bad days, too. And I always will. But let me say this: don’t give away your power. Own it. Own your good days and own your bad days. And then fix them, if you can. If you can’t, then just get to the next day.

      And it is okay to sell the house. I had to, and that fresh start was the best thing I ever did to move my life forward. It doesn’t have to be a negative.

  4. My husband left me nearly 2 1/2 years ago and our divorce is finally in sight. While the huge waving red flags began during our less than one-year dating period before we married, I was attracted to my mind, he to my body, mind and spirit, and I thought the kinks would work themselves out after we married. The second red flag was on our wedding night and the day after. He somewhat coldly said we couldn’t go to breakfast at this quaint inn in the heart of a scenic tourist area. We needed to return home so we could go to work the next day and he could also attend his college class as part of finishing his bachelor’s degree. No time for breakfast after our disappointing, slam-bam, go to sleep after his satisfaction wedding night?! The dissatisfaction not only increased, we chose to have two children — our happiest, smartest project together — and although I realized he was an extreme introvert who excluded me from most of his activities, we stayed together until he became a drunk-at-night, executive-by-day, drunk-all-weekend alcoholic, which he blames the marriage for. Our divorce decree will be three moths before our 40th anniversary. I’m okay most days, wouldn’t want him back. I don’t work, so he pays my rent, health insurance, car payment and car insurance until I am 65 around the date of our divorce. Life is improving, onward!

  5. saranis says...

    When my heart was broken, and by broken I mean hit-by-a-truck devastation, I ‘happened’ (I believe it was divine intervention, I really do), to see an article somewhere like the NYT’s that said science had proven that heartache/grief/emotional pain, etc, was a legitimate form of measurable physical pain that was greatly helped by pain killers even if just two aspirin. So I would go as far through the day as I could and when I was too overcome to continue, I’d give myself permission to take two aspirin and go to bed. And it helped so much.

  6. Anne says...

    I am in the midst of a divorce from my husband of almost 8 years. We were together for about 6 years prior to that. No kids. It has been the most awful experience of my life. Our relationship had been bad for a long time, with lots of emotional abuse — but then it got worse with physical abuse starting in 2015. He convinced me that I was trying to sabotage his success even though I’d dedicated myself to helping him and had financially supported him for years as he tried various business ideas. He came into the relationship telling me that he has suffered from depression since childhood, and then decided that I suffered from anxiety/OCD and pressured me into agreeing and going to therapy. He tried to leave me a few times and I begged him to stay, promising him that I’d work harder to be less anxious. Things got better for a few years but by late 2017, we were hardly talking and I knew he had to be sleeping with other women because of the way he’d told me I’d ruined his life and we basically weren’t married anymore. While he was out of town, a male friend of mine confronted me about his feelings for me and how he could tell I was miserable. I hesitated but then began to see him romantically, an affair which lasted maybe a week or two until my husband found out. Shortly thereafter, I discovered troves of evidence of my husband’s two, months-long affairs (2015 and 2018) as well as evidence that he’d slept with another woman just prior to our wedding. This was vindicating and devastating. I moved out so that he could stay in the house and try to sort out his next steps, since he’s financially insecure. He spent the next many weeks tormenting, harassing, and being downright evil to me, my family, and my friends. He also went into a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide multiple times and laid all the blame on me. I’ve spent a ton of time examining my role in all this, because I don’t want to fall into the emotionally lazy “what a cheating jerk!” mindset, which lets me skip over the full range of personal growth I deserve. What has been most powerful in my journey is the realization that he has Borderline Personality Disorder, something I’d barely heard about until recently. It explains how he was so passionate and charming but also so abusive and hurtful. I feel guilty for leaving him, silly as that might sound, because he’s sick and no one is stepping up to take care of him. I took care of him for so long and couldn’t figure out how to ‘fix’ him — but now that I know what’s wrong, I feel bad for leaving him even though all of my intuition says that I have to save myself. I can’t even guess how long it would take him to accept this diagnosis, much less get treatment for it. And it’s not my fault that he has this. That took me weeks to say. It’s not my fault. It can’t be my job to be his caretaker any longer, I’m so tired and he’s been really awful to me. But I want him to get help and still care about him. Some of the thoughts shared here have been so helpful to me — around trusting your body (my gut ALWAYS told me I deserved better), having faith it’ll get better, and knowing that I’m not alone. I hope CoJ addresses this topic more soon, because it’s not discussed with this degree of nuance and grace in hardly any public forum. There are a lot of us out here dealing with not only infidelity but also mental illness, which adds such a complex layer of emotion to marriage.

    That male friend of mine is an incredible empath who has spent countless hours supporting me through this, and I’m very much in love with him. He is the kind of person I now accept that I deserve.

    P.S. Another shout out to Esther Perel, whose State of Affairs book is groundbreaking. She is a visionary.

  7. Courtney Andresen says...

    I recently helped my best friend through a divorce. Like AH said, managing her family’s reactions was incredibly challenging for her. I felt like she had experienced a death. It is awful to see someone I love hurt so intensely.

    She found an app called Mend, which is a self care app for heartache, very helpful. It held her accountable to take care of herself. I’m glad she had a daily helper to get through the difficult time. I only share because what a crazy world we live in that there is an app for everything! Hopefully others will find it helpful during difficult times and prioritize healing themselves.

  8. Lori Marie says...

    When I was in my late 20s, I lived with someone for 4 years. I always assumed that he was going to be my life partner. One morning while reading the news, without looking up, he said, “I don’t want to live with you anymore.” I thought the world had ended. Really I did. I was ill with anguish.
    About 20 years later, I was having lunch, catching up with a couple friends from that era. Their conversation turned to him/what he may be doing now. I COULD NOT EVEN REMEMBER HIS LAST NAME. One foot had gone in front of the other until when I looked back over my shoulder, I had truly moved on. We had a good laugh.

    • H says...

      Hi Lori,
      I have to tell you something…I keep coming back to this post to re-read your comment often. Having experienced something similar recently (late 20s, long-term relationship ending, me devastated), I take great comfort in your words. Right now it feels like the world is collapsing, but I know with time it will just be part of my journey. Thank you for sharing xx

  9. Anon says...

    I am so sorry to hear this…
    It seems to me that many times this happens…
    Families sometimes react like it was all your fault and that you should have never let this happen. Especially when they appreciated your partner.
    It seems to me that it can be rough on them because they too are losing a son in law or a brother in law and they too have shared some love and life expectations with your partner.
    But there must be a way to show appreciation to the ex and still support to you.
    They shouldn’t have to choose, love is love. It’s not because your relationship with him was over, that they would stop love and be caring for him.
    But they should be able to support you, respect your choices and your grief and really be there for you.
    Sometimes wonderful people do not get along.
    I find that when it’s best for both partners to separate, it’s not a failure of love, it’s still love in it’s the best expression (wishing the best to the other).

    • AH says...

      I love this: “I find that when it’s best for both partners to separate, it’s not a failure of love, it’s still love in it’s the best expression (wishing the best to the other).”

  10. Cindy says...

    1.5 years after my almost 12 year relationship ended (and truly broke me), I finally ventured out into the dating world at 47 years old. After meeting Mike on Match.com (after a few other meet-ups with men I didn’t consider partner material) I thought “yes! I found him!”. And he felt the same way. We became exclusive, vacationed together, loved spending time with each other. After almost a year of dating, I moved in with him. Last year, he bought a house and we moved into that together. I had surgery and he helped me recuperate. I thought I could finally trust him after holding back for so long. Then, on May 12, 2018, I found a picture…and it wasn’t me. I found more pictures, hundreds of texts, proof of phone calls made and received, picture/video messages sent. I found out he was planning on seeing her at the end of May when he travelled to Charlotte NC on business; actually he was extending his trip to see her. I found out he had booked a flight to Charlotte for March 2-5, changed it 40 minutes later to Raleigh/Durham (that’s where she lived closest to) and then reserved a one-bedroom lakeview balcony suite at the Umstead Resort Spa close to RD. He was spending almost $3000 on the room alone. For 3 nights with another woman. I found out he had met her on October 20, 2017 when away on another business trip in Alabama. Claims it was totally innocent; nothing physical happened; he was simply helping her out. Then he admitted it made him feel good that a younger woman was interested in him and valued his opinions. He can’t understand that she saw $$ when meeting him. He isn’t shy about telling people what he makes and that he is very successful. She has a fiancé and an 8-year old son (whose father is in prison). Of course she wanted a savior, a financial benefactor. She did in fact get money out of him and tried to get him to buy a “vacation home” in her area. She tried to get him to extend his trip even longer to spend more time with him. She is still trying to contact him by email, phone, text, IM, etc. What hurts me the most is the time he took away from me and us by giving it to her. To this person that meant nothing; that he had no history with; that did not value him at all. Also, that he had these communications with her while he was sitting next to me in our home; while we were on vacations together; while i was trusting him and never thinking he would ever EVER do anything like this (his ex-wife cheated on him and he swore he would never do that to anyone).
    I am in the process of deciding what to do: stay or go. If I stay, I have to accept that he may do this again. When someone shows you who they are, believe them. BELIEVE THEM. He has shown me he is a betrayer, a liar, a dishonest and dishonorable man. I deserve better, I know. If I go, I have to start again, at 50 years old. I don’t know if I have it in me right now. I don’t know if I can do either right now. I feel so lost. I feel so defeated. I feel like such a fool.
    He is still lying to me; I believe in my gut he is still communicating with her. He refuses to call her and tell her IT’S OVER; LEAVE ME ALONE; I LOVE MY GIRLFRIEND; WHAT I DID WAS A MISTAKE AND SO VERY WRONG. But if he loves me like he says he does, shouldn’t he do that willingly?

    • Sam says...

      Oh I am so sorry to hear. I was in exactly the same situation a bit over one year ago. Found pictures, airplane tickets and all the prove. I confronted him and still he kept lying that nothing physical happened. Did not know what to do and wanted to have a time out for a bit. During that time out the decision was made for me since he bought an expensive house for his mistress where they still live together. I am still struggling putting the pieces together but when time goes by it gets better and better and there are some days that I feel happy again. Eventually it is their loss because he is missing out on time with our little kid and she is with a liar and betrayer. They deserve each other and they will get their karma and hopefully one day I will find someone who respects me because I deserve better and so do you.

    • Sam says...

      Hug

    • Lesa says...

      RUN RUN RUN as far away from that horrible snake as you can. He is still lying to you and will keep cheating. Of course he is still communicating with her and sleeping with her, and probably other women too. I’m so sorry for your pain. You only have this one life. Spend all your energy taking care of your heart!!!!!! RUN!!!!

    • Mica says...

      I don’t make a difference between physical and emotional. So what if nothing physical happened? If you are thinking, dreaming, wanting another person, that is betrayal nonetheless.

  11. beth says...

    I am in the midst of a separation/divorce right now. It’s not my choice, and it’s very painful for me and my 5 year old son. I’m realizing how much I have put up with the last 7 years with my husband, his disrespect and minimizing of my work and time has become toxic. I think I will emerge better and stronger, but right now it’s just a lot of sadness and anger. The worst part is that it’s affecting my ability to be the best mother I can be, because I am constantly disappointed and hurt by someone I thought was my partner.

    I’m mostly commenting so that I can follow along on this topic in the coming weeks/months/years. Thank you xo

    • I haven’t started the separation process but I really empathize with what you wrote. I also worry about how divorce will affect my daughter, but I feel strongly that in the long run, it will be much better for her not to witness the ways my husband shows his disrespect and antagonism for me. Internet hugs to you if you want them.

    • KW says...

      I was you.
      My son was 6. We had been married 15 years and my husband at the time decided he no longer wanted Our Life.
      It was difficult but I/we survived.
      My son is now 16. He and I have a very strong bond. His dad and I went back to being friends…..like in the beginning. Lots of people don’t understand this. But, I see it as evolution. The reasons for walking away are perhaps easier than if there’d been an affair.
      My son gets a first hand look at how separations can work. This is important because, statistically, he will probably not stay married. Yes, I think he’s a bit wary of relationships. However, I’m not entirely certain that’s not a bad thing. Lack of privacy, too much trust, over sharing are all issues young people seem to experience these days.
      Look at this as a New Chapter. An opportunity for a life you can craft for yourself and your daughter.

  12. AH says...

    One of the hardest things about divorce can be how your family reacts. You hope that your parents/siblings/extended family support you no matter what, but that doesn’t always happen. My divorce brought out the best in some people, and the worst in others. I was extremely disappointed in my parents during my divorce, and I felt alienated and worthless for a long time after. They loved my ex, and they often made me feel like they wished he was their child instead of me. I knew I was losing my spouse when I divorced, but not the relationship with my parents. My relationship with my parents has improved, but I have realized that their love is not unconditional. I know that my divorce was hard on them too, but to me, they forgot their role as my parents. Anyway, I just think that for some people, the family dynamic can be one of, if not the worst part about a divorce. It definitely was for me.

  13. Lesa says...

    I have been a divorce attorney for 20+ years and I have so much compassion for what people go through when they decide to get a divorce. I’m divorced myself and know how painful it is to make that decision. I have watched countless people grow and blossom through the process though, and the mature ones learn to be good co-parents (it takes both of them!). Kids do best when their parents can sit together in the stands watching them play ball (or whatever), acting like friends, especially when the new partners come along and they all sit together. It takes real maturity to put the kids first.
    We also try and find the humor in every divorce case we handle – it is so good to laugh through the tears. I’ve had many clients say they had no idea they would laugh so much going through a divorce. I’m happy I can bring a little sunshine to a tragic situation. The bottom line is that we only have one life – being in an unhappy marriage is such a waste of precious time. You can be happy again. Take care out there!

  14. Jess says...

    I was with my ex-fiance for 10 years from the age of 20. We broke up nearly 4 years ago and remain friends.
    We had always been best of friends. But we stopped growing together and didn’t “do the work” when things became stunted. Companionship just wasn’t enough, not at such a young age. I had began my Masters, changed careers and had less time for the relationship. We had always worked around his schedule and overseas trips as he was from the other side of the world. We stopped working through things together and the pendulum swung too far to the independent and separate side.
    When he told me he didn’t want to have kids anymore I said we needed to talk about it and I needed to think about it and whether we could really have a future together. Deciding to end the relationship was HARD. I took a week overseas to process things and whilst I’d made my decision I still had many doubts. I even suggested getting back together about 4 months later. I partied a bit in the months that followed and ended up in a bad, short-term relationship. But eventually I picked myself back up, invested in myself, my health and career and things turned around. Now my life really is on track for what I wanted for my future. It was a process, definitely, but I learned sooo much and it was the right thing to do.
    Be courageous, true and remember that this too shall pass. Listen to your gut instinct. And you CAN end a relationship in a way that means you don’t destroy all ties with the person. Whilst we weren’t the right life partners and parents of each other’s children, he is my friend and that is all I could have hoped for.