When I started this blog, I was reluctantly coming to the realization that I was likely heading toward divorce, and I began following other blogs of people who were further along that road. When I would ask advice, both here and on their blogs, I knew that I was asking advice from a self-selected group of people who were already pre-disposed in favor of divorce (or break-up) as an option, because they’s already been through it.
Since then, as long-time readers already know, I’ve decided that yes, that is the direction my marriage is heading. I am doing my best to carefully navigate the Divorce White Water Rapids in the hopes that my children and I (and, for all that, my soon-to-be-ex-wife) will come out of this whole messy process as best as we possibly can.
Hmmm. I just mixed roads and white water rapids as metaphors. Go figure.
Well, in the meantime, a dear friend of mine is heading down the same tracks. (Trains, now!) She’s a little bit further behind me in the process, but she’s building up steam and catching up fast. While there is still reason to hope that my STBX and I are presumably heading toward an amicable split-up, the situation with my friend is a little more ambiguous — her husband is still expressing a desire to patch things up, and there’s reason to worry that he may react badly when he realizes this is a losing proposition.
My friend is desperately unhappy in her marriage, but she has said (as I have similarly said) that she could stay in her marriage if she had to… she could go on living like this, even though she’d be unhappy. And yes, kids are part of the situation. My friend has started talking to lawyers, and as such, the reality of divorce is starting to seep in. She’s worried: is she doing the right thing?
Of course, I’ve wrestled with this idea in my own situation, especially as it concerns my sons. They are blissfully ignorant of the troubles Penny and I are having. My boys have a “happy home.” Once we separate domiciles, they will have a much more complicated home life. Am I doing the right thing?
That said, despite my ongoing doubts, the decision to separate is made, and I recognize that while divorce is not ideal, staying together with Penny is not tenable. My friend has, I believe, come to the same conclusion in her case — that staying together with her husband isn’t really going to work — but she’s worried about the potential battle that may lie ahead.
And so, I ask you, dear readers: if you’ve gone through divorce (or separation from a serious relationship), with or without kids — and however amicable or nasty the process was — do you regret it? Do you feel you did the wrong thing?
I know I’ve asked some of you this question directly in private correspondence. I still remember your answers; they helped me to make my own decision. I may have even asked this question before here on the blog, but it’s a question that bears repeating. And besides, now I’m asking by way of trying to start a discussion that my friend can see.
[Yes, she reads this blog. And as a side note, she's expressed some curiosity as to what pseudonym I might assign her if I were to ever write about her. And now here I am, writing about her, and sidestepping the issue of a pseudonym for now. Picking fake names is a tricky business! Ain't that right, Kyle?]
I’m also going to ask the corollary question: if you were on the brink of divorce, and decided to stick it out, instead… do you regret that decision? Do you feel you did the right thing?
As for myself, I’m increasingly convinced that in my own situation, there is no *right* course of action. But there are various degrees of as-good-as-we-can-do-with-the-hand-we’re-dealt courses of action, as well as just-plain-wrong courses of action. I’m doing my best to do the best I can, but it’s difficult sometimes to admit that there is no real “right” answer that can be known ahead of time.
So, how about it? Divorce: regrets? Advice?