Over my many years mediating divorces, I’ve found that many of my clients arrive in my office just after sending their youngest off into the world. When I ask when their marriage became “irretrievably broken down,” a date required on the requisite court forms when filing for divorce, these empty-nesters often settle on a date years and years ago. And then, soon thereafter, they often concede that they “probably should have divorced long ago.”
Given all the horror stories of divorce portrayed in TV and movies, one might understand why putting off the inevitable is sometimes easier than making a brave decision to part ways when children are still residing at home.
Regardless of the timing, I believe (and I tell my clients) that their choice to divorce is the bravest of all decisions. To come to a place in one’s adult life where the decision has been made to end an unhappy marriage is profound. We live in a culture that honors marriage and makes a very big deal about bridal showers and bachelor parties and weddings. We have tax codes that endorse the financial benefit of marriage. We have an entire set of language that regards marriage as a special institution: tenants by the entirety, adultery, bastard, and espoused among other marriage-specific words and phrases.
When so much of our culture supports the institution of marriage, to choose to start a new chapter, which is really all about the hope that an unknown future may be better than a known present, is an endorsement that life is short and that continuing to live a life with someone who doesn’t bring out the best person in you is no longer wise.
I’m routinely humbled when working as a facilitator in this process, as it permits me to spend time with incredibly brave people. If you are ready to be brave in this way, please reach out. I’m here to help.
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