Over the years of being a divorce lawyer, my clients have given me every reason under the sun to justify to me why they want a divorce. Some tell me they need divorce because their spouse ignores them or their relationship is not much different than two ships passing in the night. Others say their spouse smothers them, making it impossible for them to be their own person. In the morning, I’ll hear a husband tell me about how he wants out of the marriage because his wife sits at home all day refusing to get a “real job” and in the afternoon, another will tell me divorce is the only answer because his wife is a workaholic who neglects the family, or doesn’t want to have a family. Housewives tell me how they suspect an affair because their husband is ignoring them sexually while others complain their spouse is a sex addict.
Sometimes, I feel like I’ve heard it all when it comes to reasons for a breakdown of a marriage but I sleep soundly at night knowing there is always a new story out there for me to hear.
The funny thing about human nature is seldom do people to initially realize their role in problem creation. It is a rare day that a person tells me in a client interview how their arrival in my office was the culmination of their own personal, misguided decision-making over the preceding years or decades. Many people,understandably, blame the other person for the divorce, and are resistant to admitting their role in creating an unhappy marriage.
Is your life currently miserable? Do you feel like your spouse is stealing your happiness; sealing you off from the world; continuously putting you down; polluting your children or grandchildren; fracturing your family; or injecting toxicity into a relationship in ways you never thought possible? Guess what? You are part of the problem.
You might not like hearing this, but you are better off realizing reality now. Your life decisions are a great part of why you are in a marriage you think needs to end. Your choices led you to where you are right now. Believe it or not, if you are unhappy, miserable, beaten down, or [insert other description of your life] part of the reason is because you did it to yourself.
Before you throw this book or your reading device at the wall and take to vilifying me for being insensitive, chauvinistic, or inhuman, do yourself a favor and read the rest of this chapter. It will make your life better. I promise.
You are not to blame for your husband’s unfair and abusive behavior.You should not feel like you created your husband’s controlling behavior, inability to appreciate you, chronic addictions, or serial philandering. I especially stress towards the women reading this book who have been in long-term abusive relationships that they should not feel like they are responsible for making their husband into who he is now and now feel responsible to stay with him.
My point in telling you that “you did it to yourself” is to help you realize that you created the situation of being in a relationship that you are contemplating leaving (or maybe deep down wanting to fix). Rarely anyone in this day and age, in the western world, can say they were actually forced to get married.The bottom line is this: part of what led you to where you are today, a life you are not happy with, was a series of conscious decisions made by you. So, that’s why you need to realize that you are part of the problem. Part of why you are here is because, you did it to yourself.
The good news is you also have the ability to make choices that make your life better. Just like you – likely without knowing it – helped create your marital problems and unhappiness, you have the ability to create something better. Coming to the realization that you have the power to change your life is probably the most important thing you can do as part of the divorce process. Part of having the Best Divorce is learning that you have, and have always had the power to control your own destiny, and then using that knowledge to create the life you desire and deserve. This knowledge is especially empowering for those who have been beaten down over time by chronically selfish or abusive spouses.
Knowing that you, and only you, ultimately control your life going forward, helps you be in the driver’s seat when it comes to the divorce process. When you overcome your doubts that you could have a better life in the future, you will be in a much better mindset when it comes to determining what it is you really want out of the divorce. Further, in future relationships, you will be less prone to the desperate decision-making that can cause you to relapse into the same problems that plagued your first marriage.
Before you go any further, take the time to develop and cope with the understanding that your life decisions helped create the situation you want to fix. Then, do your best to get over what has happened in the past. Realize that you have the absolute ability to control your path to living a happy, healthy and prosperous life. Coming to this realization and understanding, with yourself, might just be the most transforming and worthwhile moment you’ve ever experienced.
If you felt like this chapter was too “touchy-feely” for you, or did not present any actionable advice, I’ll state things differently and in a language you might understand: You helped cause this mess. Get your head out of the sand, suck it up, and stop blaming others for your problems. Your divorce will be quicker, cost less money, and you’ll be better off afterward. Get it? Got it? Good.