People whose spouses ask for a divorce may often claim that it came “out of the blue”. How could things have gone from happily married to divorce proceedings so quickly? As Marilyn Stowe explains in this extract from the second edition of her book Divorce and Splitting Up: Advice from a Top Divorce Lawyer, it is rarely that simple.
Nobody who gets married plans to divorce. When couples pledge “until death do us part”, they tend to mean it. But life brings unexpected temptations and unforeseen pressures. People change. Relationships wither.
A marriage that appears to be completely happy on the surface may be disrupted and destroyed by the intervention of a third party, even though such an event was neither sought nor anticipated by either spouse.
Even so, it is rare for marriages to collapse without warning. Instead they tend to crumble over a protracted period. Couples lose interest in each other. They take one another for granted. They stop trying. We’ve all seen such couples on the high street. One partner is immaculately groomed and looking smart; the other is slobbing alongside, in a scruffy tracksuit and trainers. There can grow feelings of resentment, isolation, anger and frustration. Boredom is likely to set in. Perhaps there is frustration at work as well. Perhaps a temptation will arise and will prove too difficult to resist.
I long ago concluded that divorce arises and is propelled by uncontrollable human instincts including self-preservation, protection and survival. A person going through divorce, whether they admit it or not, is forced to think almost exclusively of what is in his or her best interests. People are not perfect. Human instinct in a survival situation isn’t about continuing to hunt with the rest of the pack, meekly obeying society’s customs. It is about making private decisions to tackle lonely challenges.
Will you stay or will you go? Are you wavering, or have you made a firm decision? How can you know that your choice is the “right” one?
To get a digital copy of Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice from a Top Divorce Lawyer, you can download it here for just 99p with the profits from each sale donated to the Children’s Society.