Saturday, 11 June 2011

If only I was the fountain of all knowledge…!

If only… 

Over the last couple of years, during the whole process of my divorce, I have noticed that people have been seeking me out, wanting to know what I’m going through and asking for my views on their own situations.

I’d love to be able to pass myself off as a modern day ‘oracle’, but sadly, all I can offer is my own experiences.  And I hope that my advice is of help – because
there isn’t a guide book. 

Whether they are at the receiving end of infidelity, emotional abuse or just neglect, the enormity of divorce is quite overwhelming for these people.

And they all have one thing in common.  Faced with the enormity of their situation and the disruption to themselves, their children, parents and siblings, they wonder whether it is better to stay and ‘put up with it’ or leave and face the emotional and possibly financial, hardships this may entail.

The only way I can describe the feelings I had during my own divorce proceedings is that it’s like falling.  You’ve reached terminal velocity and there is no sight of the ground yet. 

And to make matters worse, you don’t know whom you can trust.  It’s not that you don’t have friends who you know will be sympathetic and ‘on your team’, but they may have spouses who are on the other person’s ‘team’.  And even if they don’t mean to say anything inappropriate, you never know if they’re going to ‘slip up’ at the wrong moment.

I have no doubt that there are countless people ‘out there’ who are playing at ‘happy families’ whilst struggling with their inner turmoil.  But I have to admit I would never encourage anyone to get divorced – even though I know it was the right thing for me.

When a friend tells you that her husband has be screwing around with countless women for years, it is very easy to shriek “for god’s sake, just leave him”.  But it just isn’t that simple. 

There are countless issues that can have lead to the situation, which may have come from both parties.  And it may be that the wife has no wish to disclose them.  Alternatively, he could just be the shit of the century.

But the one thing I know for sure, is that no two situations are the same.  And what one person may be able to put up with, may be the one thing that is intolerable to another. 

I have also spoken to people who are going through such angst and taking so long to make up their minds, that their best friends are fed up with hearing about it and refusing to discuss it any further, unless their friend ‘gets on with it’ and leaves.  Very easy to say, when it’s not YOU!

Unfortunately, the only people who are ever going to understand are those that have been through the process themselves.  And that is, I’m sure, the reason that people have sought me out. 

So my advice is this.  Take your time.  Don’t rush into anything.  Go and see a lawyer, but make sure there is no paper trail that gives the game away.  Take your paperwork and find out exactly what you’re going to end up with if you do finally get divorced.  I have heard many women over the years claim that they wish they had stayed, because life has been so financially hard since the divorce. 

But don’t kid yourself either.  If infidelity has played a part, consider exactly how you’re going to feel every time they’re late home from work.  I could not live a life where I’m permanently in a state of angst, wondering whether an historically unfaithful husband is ‘playing away’ again.  It would eat me alive.

And finally, and most importantly, remember that in years to come you have to be sure that it was the right decision.  And by that I mean that it was YOUR decision.  Take lots of advice from everyone you know.  But ultimately, seek your own council. 

And be brave.  There is light at the end of the tunnel. 

And you never know, there may even be someone special….! 

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