The Key To A Smooth Divorce: Accept That The Marriage Is O-V-E-R

Why are we so invested in hurting someone we are breaking ties with?

Family court, 12.30pm: I was witness to an ugly incident where a husband and wife got into an acrimonious argument in the seating area outside the courtroom. Their loud voices left no doubt in anybody's mind that they were definitely divorcing each other. The vitriolic and unprintable content of their argument also made clear—to those who cared to hear and even those who didn't—all the reasons for their divorce. Then the argument took an uglier turn, with the husband charging towards the wife and then trying to grab her hair and hit her. The entire crowd looked on in shock, too stunned to even react, till the cops jumped into action and pried the warring couple apart. But as soon as the cops walked away, the husband charged at the wife again—two cops had to restrain him, tackling him from behind.

Eventually both the husband and wife were led away from the court by the cops and as for the rest of us? Life carried on... or so it seemed.

My client after witnessing the incident called me up later in the evening and said, "I've changed my mind. I'd like to finish off the divorce proceedings as soon as possible." This from a woman who wanted to fight for a better financial settlement. When I asked her why she said, "I'll manage. Whatever happens, I don't want to become like that couple I saw in court in the morning."

Rehashing the faults of the spouse that led to the breakdown only end up harming you and getting you angrier at your ex.

Which got me thinking—what is it about divorce that brings out the worst in us? Why does divorce always feel like a ticking time bomb of hate and revenge? Even when the marriage has come to an end the overpowering need to hurt the soon-to-be-ex does not abate. With the help of the legal machinery, both the spouses bring on the heavy artillery and ammo. Various petitions and applications filed in court to harass and torment each other become the norm. The lawyer becomes the warrior to fell the spouse. She/he is apprised of each and every slight, insult, habit, character flaw that the spouse had which led to the breakdown of the marriage. And the lawyer is now supposed to take the ex to task.

The court becomes the arena, the lawyers the gladiators, and the judge the king to decide the final winner.

Although I can sympathise and empathise (I too have gone through a divorce) with the hurting spouses but at the end of the day it's the couple who has to face the entire force and the aftermath of the breakup.

It's because the couple did not get along or see a future together that they are headed for a divorce, so rehashing the faults of the spouse that led to the breakdown only end up harming you and getting you angrier at your ex. None of the emotions that you experience reliving the entire nightmare are positive and only contribute to a downward spiral.

The basic truth that no one wants to accept is that the marriage is O-V-E-R. If one accepts this reality then the divorce doesn't become as damaging and whatever the ex-spouse has done in the past doesn't rankle as much. The pain, hurt and humiliation doesn't completely disappear but life has a wonderful magic marker called time which does heal all wounds.

Till next time keep the cheer...

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