IT’S 1:05am and I just walked in, but I had to put pen to paper or is it fingers to keyboard? I just came from a divorce party. My friend Tracey signed her divorce papers today and we had a party. It was lit!
I was sad, a bit. I also had fun. There were guys with abs I could touch and drinks – like all the time.
I have known Tracey and Tonderai since undergraduate. We were 19 when they met. They came from Zimbabwe. He went to St. George’s, she went to Arundel. They were my friends. Yes, I was the cock-blocking friend who encouraged her to say yes to the date only the next week.
At 19, I had travelled the world a bit. I had lived in Zimbabwe, Canada, visited Europe and was planning my trip to Asia. Tonderai was the reason I wasn’t going to Thailand that summer with Tracey. Go figure why I didn’t like him. But she fell in-love and I did get to see the world anyway. They were my favourite married couple. The one where you double date and also are the third wheeler but are family. They were the example of a perfect marriage and today, we celebrated imperfection. Almost 20 years in, they threw in the towel (yes keep guessing my age).
I remember dating this guy and I asked, “If you are going to die today, who would you call?” The idiot said, “My son.” Arghhh! Lie to the girl, just lie at least. That was the day I stopped dating a guy with kids, who just didn’t get it. As a divorce attorney, I found myself questioning what people do in relationships and the lengths they won’t go to keep the person. Yes, we know you’d call your son. I’d call my dad, or my brother. But how romantic is that? Suffice it to say, I refuse to acknowledge even dating him today. When asked, I say I met a man once who was not so smart – Group 10, not Group 1 (If you know, you know).
But I digress, not because I have negative things to say, but just venting because I’m writing this, and you’re not. But you are reading so… divorce right?
I spent the last month with Tracey and Tonde separately, asking what the issue was. She was over it. She was done! Tonde, same. How do soulmates walk away from each other? My parents were married for 40 years you know.
Tonde said in an honest conversation: “I didn’t want to stop being the perfect man in her movie, so I lied. She broke me and I didn’t know how to move on.” That was real and my heart broke for him. So, was it real love? Are you being unreal in your marriage? Tonde didn’t know, or maybe he knew where his love story fell apart. He fought hard. She was worth it.
“You can give up on love, marriage and all the sappy stuff. You just have to know going into it that it’s going to hurt sometimes, and you can’t be selfish. But that is life and love, it’s our whole existence,” that was Tonde, circa 2007. Same guy who pretended the whole time. Was he not taught how to be in love (is there in-love school)?
I don’t want to lie. I’m grieving for this third-party marriage I was in. Yes, I was in it till the end. I meet with couples and individuals who oftentimes come to me to “kindly” break their marriages. They find themselves stuck — unable to improve the marriage and unable to leave. These folks usually find themselves not wanting to leave because they fear, understandably, the uncertainty of change. What’s out there? What will happen, will I be labeled a divorcee? How will that change my life?
What I can safely say is, if you find yourself stuck in the same old depressing patterns, you may wish to tackle your fear of change. Get a divorce!
Here are four reasons why, in some cases, divorce may be the right decision.
Not good for the kids
It is heart wrenching for many who are chronically unhappy in their marriages to even consider the idea of divorce because of fear that it will forever harm their children. It is important to take children’s feelings about divorce seriously, to empathize and help them to talk about how it impacts them (not you). However, the notion that staying in a bad marriage is somehow better for kids is dubious. What is more harmful and even traumatizing to children is spending a great deal of time in a home filled with negative emotion, tension and chronic conflict. Teach them to love and do the right thing.
Good for your health
Healthy couples are able to resolve disagreements, where both people feel better about the issue at hand and sometimes the couple can even feel closer and more understood as a result of the disagreement. But toxic relationships cause resentment. Before you know it, anything becomes a fight.
They may have difficulty sleeping, eating healthily, trouble with short-term memory, gain weight, anger and emotional outbursts. There is some research to suggest that chronically negative or abusive relationships can shorten lifespan. Ending a toxic union is the first step in a chain of events that lead to taking better care of one’s self. Find real life again. A good night’s sleep or laugh is worth it.
You’ll love again
Sometimes working through a difficult marriage and developing greater self-awareness around what your role may have been in the demise can open the door to a path that leads to a happier union. Fear of being alone is not an adequate reason to stay in a marriage and actually increases the misery, as one feels trapped and powerless. Find yourself and find love again, you are worth it.
Giving up the lies you tell yourself
Many have lived for years with a hope and expectation that things will improve in their marriage. If you have been in a long-term relationship that has been filled with discontent for a long period of time, you have probably tried to tell yourself “things will get better.” Although in the moment this thought can be relieving, in the long run it sets people up for defeat and disappointment when things never do get better. Stop lying and be real.
So, get a divorce, don’t get one, it’s up to you. The truth is, it’s your life. Not your neighbour’s, who also has issues, or whose husband actually has a ‘small house’ and is never home. They will always talk right? Just do you. If the cap fits, get a divorce.
I’m having dinner with Tonde on Saturday and brunch with Tracey on Sunday. We are still friends after divorce, but they are happier apart. (I’ll talk about Tracey and Tonde’s marriage more intimately next time). Next time!