Saturday, 22 September 2012


21 September 2012

Divorce is a nasty business, I tell you.  And I am extremely grateful that I have not gone through one myself.  But I have witnessed more than one at close range.  There is always collateral damage – and the casualties of war are more often than not, the children.  Dreadfully sad.  But are they the only ones affected?  Of course not – it has a huge ripple effect.

In my very early twenties, very good friends of ours got divorced.  It was such a shocker, completely unexpected and no one had seen it coming.  And perhaps, due to our age and inexperience, it divided our friendship group into two camps – his side and her side.  And sadly no one was able to bridge the gap and belong to both sides at the same time.  It was hugely divisive and left a lasting impression on me.  I could understand both parties.  Both had had wrong done onto them, yet both had also done wrong themselves. 

In my middle thirties, another good friend got divorced – actually she’s still in the process.  This one was not a shocker at all.  My friend’s husband had not been a nice fellow.  None of us ever warmed up to him and he didn’t like her group of friends (that would be the Twisted’s), one little bit.  He tried to keep us apart – and we’re actually quite nice people, I promise.  He made my friend miserably unhappy.  He was mean and controlling.  A big, bad, bully.  The divorce has been dragging on for years and years and years now and has still not been resolved.  He claims poverty and actually forego working, so that he wouldn’t have to pay her any money.  Not showing any great concern for his three beautiful daughters.  He’s left her with millions in debt as she had stood surety for him and his various businesses.  And him?  He’s happy as Larry.  Carrying on.  Life as usual.  She’s now working herself to the bone and has for the last few years.  Raising three kids on her own, with a Kilimanjaro sized mountain of debt in front of her.  The kids have been traumatised and are working through issues of their own.  As said before – not a very nice man.

It appears that marriages can break down in the blink of an eye.  Words once spoken in anger can never be taken back and can cause irreparable damage.  But who are we, the outsiders, to judge?  No one really knows the path another is walking or what is happening in their marriage.  And truth be told, few want to know.  I certainly don’t.  Keeping my marriage rock solid, is hard enough, without getting too concerned and involved in the marriages of others.

And sadly in my closest family, I have witnessed three divorces.  The first one happened ages ago.  It was terrible to see the pain that was caused, not only to my uncle, but also to his kids and my grandparents.  However, he was no victim – it takes two to tango.  Sadly it wasn’t very amicable, and relations are strained to this day.  I love my aunt and enjoy her company, but sadly don’t get to see much of her, because of the past history.

The second divorce, though painful was amazingly amicable.  Well, I suppose, not at the time, but now.  I adore my aunt and see her whenever I can at family gatherings and at music gigs.  She is still very much a part of our family.  She often spends Xmas with us, comes away on Holiday, is a wonderful help to my grandparents and is just so there.  And her and my uncle have truly buried the past.  She’s befriended my uncle’s girlfriends, with no animosity.  There is no jealousy on either side.  No one is uncomfortable.  The romantic feelings they had for each other died, but years later, the friendship has remained.  It is not a hardship for them to spend time together, and they’re not doing it for their kids either.  The fact of the matter is, that even though my uncle divorced my aunt – we didn’t.  We love her and always will.  She’s a Lombard after all.

The third divorce, was excruciatingly painful to witness.  My uncle was broken.  No mutual kids were involved this time, but his heart was shattered.  And I’m not entirely convinced that it’s healed since - years and years later.  We don’t mention her name, and have removed her photos.  They’re still there, but we don’t have to display them.  She is a lovely person, but sometimes, these things just don’t work out.

But there are more divorces than just the marital kind.  The end of a longstanding relationship is just as painful.  Perhaps even more so on some levels, as there is no paperwork to go through.  There is no legal frame of reference.  It’s just a case of pack up and go and move on?  Maybe so, unless you have kids together.  Then it gets very messy indeed.  Especially if ego’s are bruised and hearts are broken.  I’ve heard that they say that breaking up a relationship and separating two individuals, is like trying to remove the cheese from a pizza.  Just about impossible.  The person that you’ve left will always be a part of your life.  As long as you live.  You have to try and get to a place where you can stop hurting each other, and put your kids first.  But this surely takes ages and ages.  When you stop hurting on the inside.  Perhaps lashing out at your former partner is a way of easing your own pain.  Personally, I’ve found that raising kids within a marriage is challenging enough.  I can’t imagine doing it with someone I’m really, really, really angry at.

My grandmother always says that you celebrate a birthday, by the grace of God.  But by God you have to work hard to celebrate a wedding anniversary.  I think part of the trick in making a marriage work, is in liking the person you’re married to.  I know this sounds very basic and obvious, but sometimes, I think people marry based on hormones and infatuation alone.  Friendship makes an awesome base.  It is true that partners will annoy and irritate at times – just as we do the same to them.  Maybe one should try to not sweat the small stuff.  There will be times in a marriage, where you’re less enchanted with your spouse and perhaps even fall out of love for a bit.  I suppose a golden rule would be to ensure that both partners don’t fall prey to this at the same time.  So this is what I’d like to do.  I’d like to stay married.  I’d like to work at my marriage, because everyone has to.  I have been blessed with an awesome man, whom I love and respect.  Personally, I’m looking forward to celebrating a whole lot more wedding anniversaries, and I will be sure to appreciate each and every one. 

1 comment:

  1. Damn!! I so agree! Whether its divorce or the split of a long-time couple, its TOUGH! Ive been there, after 10 years!! My 'friends' chose him, but I still love them! I know it couldnt have been easy to pick, but as 'they' say...'thats how the cookie crumbles'