Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Divorce 2011-Style

I have a friend who is divorcing her husband after many years of struggling to make things work.  He's an alcoholic, and apparently gets mean and sometimes violent when he drinks.  They've been separated for a couple years now, but have put off the formal divorce proceedings for practical reasons -- the difficulty in splitting assets since the one big thing they own is their house -- and perhaps also because of fear of the final split and all that means emotionally for the couple and their two kids.

Knowing that their marriage has been rocky for quite some time, I was surprised at the depth of emotion that arose as we talked about their situation.  She expressed a sense of personal failure, real regret that somehow she was unable to make the marriage succeed, the idea that she was to blame.  I was amazed.  And it broke my heart.

After all these years of easy, no-fault divorce, I thought that the stigma was gone.  But apparently my friend isn't the only one who's experienced these feelings.  There was an article in Sunday's NY Times entitled "How Divorce Lost Its Groove" which explores the new social and emotional landscape of upper middle class divorce.  Once again women are being blamed when relationships don't work, despite all the evidence that a good divorce is almost always better for everyone involved than a bad marriage.  So depressing...

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