ARE YOU ADAPTING TO MISERY?
People have a powerful ability to adapt to adversity. Frequently, people come to my office in Westchester and tell me stories about the deterioration of their marriages. As I they tell and I listen to their stories, I can sometimes see on their faces the realization of how bad it really is for them and how much they have adjusted to over the years. It’s as if, until something happened that precipitated their seeking a consultation with a divorce attorney, they had slowly adapted to less and less happiness over the years. Like the apocryphal frog slowly heated in a pot of water until he is boiled to death, the change happened slowly over the years and because it was incremental, the person adjusted bit by bit.
Sometimes people who fit this description are seeking a divorce because they finally reached a point where they realized that they just couldn’t do it anymore. Sometimes, there is that one last thing that they finally cannot adjust to or accept. And sometimes, they are in my office because their spouse chose to end the marriage. When they are seeking divorce advice because their husband or wife has decided to end the marriage, they often say, “I knew it was bad but I didn’t think it was that bad.”
Every marriage has ups and downs. There are always rough patches and they marriage should probably not be tossed away with the first serious argument or disagreement. On the other hand, a marriage should not be on such a downward spiral that one or both partners are increasingly miserable over the years. If the thought of spending your retirement years with your spouse fills you with dread, it may be time to consider a change.
Many people are also afraid of divorce. We have all heard horror stories or seen The War of the Roses. Divorce can be better than that. Sure, it is scary to make such a drastic change. Yes, it can be hard on your kids. But statistics show that most children of divorce are as successful and happy as their peers whose parents stayed together. it’s hard work to co-parent from separate households but if you are adjusting to misery in an unfulfilling or unhappy marriage, it might be worth investigating your options.
Most divorce horror stories involve either the court system or very inflamed emotions. Frankly, the court system can fan the flames of rage and hurt simply by the way it is set up. That is certainly true for New York Divorces! Elizabeth Gilbert writes in her bestselling book Eat, Pray Love ” . . . I pause to offer a prayer for my gentle reader: May you never, ever, have to get a divorce in New York.”
The divorce process can be better than that. You can have a better divorce if you choose to.Collaborative Divorce and Mediation both offer supportive facilitation of the settlement discussions and can help you plan a new life direction. If you do chose to divorce, why not make that decision one that ends adversity not one that begins it?