ARE YOU ADAPTING TO MISERY?

People have a powerful ability to adapt to adversity. Frequently, people come to my office and tell me stories about the deterioration of their marriages. As they tell their stories, I can sometimes see on their faces the realization of how bad it really has become for them and how much they have compromised over the years. It’s as if, until they made the decision to make an appointment with a lawyer, they had slowly adapted to less and less happiness. 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 can’t do it anymore. Sometimes, there is that one last thing that they just cannot accept. And sometimes, they are in my office because their spouse chose to end the marriage and when that happens, 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 the 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 afraid of divorce. We have all heard horror stories or seen The War of the Roses but divorce can be a lot better than that. Sure, it is scary to make a drastic change. Yes, it can be hard on your kids. But studies show that most children of divorce are just 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.”

You can have a better divorce if you educate yourself early on and make some sensible decisions and choices.  Collaborative Divorce and Mediation both offer supportive facilitation and can help you plan a new life direction without ever going to court. If you do choose to divorce, why not make that decision one that ends adversity, not one that begins it?