“It is easier to endure than to change. But once one has changed, what was endured is hard to recall.” -Susan Sontag
My friend Kristen had it all. A handsome husband, three beautiful children, the right schools, neighborhood, and lake house.
Why, oh why would she give it all up for a divorce?
I invited her to lunch. She had an air of confidence I had not seen in a while. I thought she was having an affair. She was not.
“What is going on with you?”
“I’m ready for me.”
“It’s ready for me. I love my family, I love my husband, yet I am only living for him and his dreams. He cannot and will not make room for mine.”
“What are your dreams?”
“I have a master’s degree in Business and I am only using it to manage my home and family. I have told David for several years we need to plan for my return to the workforce. He has ignored this request as if by stalling I will just stay in my place supporting him and ignoring my own needs. He is incorrect. He just keeps moving up the success ladder and we are going deeper and deeper in debt.”
“What about give and take?”
“Give and take? Well, what about give give, give and someone else is taking, taking, taking? I want a mutual relationship with my husband. We are equally educated. We each have different gifts we enjoy and share in the family. Yet, he thinks his worth in the world requires that I do not express my worth in the world. He wants to move up in the company and that means he expects me to behave myself, stay at home and be frozen in time. I am not doing it. The children are fine. They are old enough for us to adjust to a new lifestyle. He just wants what he wants when he wants it. I keep telling him, “You cannot participate in this family like you are running the business. Adjust when you come home. He does not. “
“So why Divorce?”
“We have done the counseling; I have done the crying and he has continued the drinking. It is time to stop the imbalance since it takes two to find it. I think we can be better co-parents and thus I can have the option to use my abilities as I have been brought up to do—as I have been created to do. HE may wake up yet with the way he is behaving he will just look for a younger replacement if he has not already. I have spoken with a Collaborative Divorce Attorney and think we can use this approach to reach decisions and then we can do what is best for the children and each other. I am at a stage where I am a grown woman and will Take charge of my life like one. He is showing he is unable to make room for that part of me.”
At what point does endurance break the relationship?
Date your spouse, listen to needs, be creative to find a way, set timelines. Everyone has their limit. Are you pushing your spouse to theirs?
Avoid divorce, if possible. Yet if you cannot avoid divorce then call an attorney trained in Collaborative Divorce Practice. Work with attorneys who respect the best interests of the children, work with teams to minimize confrontation and share new skill sets going forward.
What are you enduring?