The first time I heard this from one of my kids, I went to my room and cried. Just writing it gives me a stomach ache. I’ve heard it since then and I recall saying it many times when I was a kid (my parents were divorced). I said to my now ex-husband. And, I meant it. But after almost 10 years of being together, waiting until we were in our 30’s to have kids, and being best friends, our marriage didn’t survive. Thankfully, we have remained friends and partners in raising our kids.

Why is it so difficult to stay together?

Relationships/marriage, being a two-party event from the word “go,” affords us the “convenience” of thinking that any problems reside in our partner. We focus—wrongly—on the characteristics of our partner rather than on the processes taking place in the relationship, which by definition involves two people.

Moreover, we allow ourselves to indulge in the unrealistic expectation that we’ll meet the “right” person and all will be great. Yet, the elephant in the room is this: no matter how many times we try marriage or a relationship, we will continue to trip over the same mistakes. And, those are the ones that are inside us: the expectation of bliss without conflict, the expectation of continued intimacy and excitement as it was at the “beginning,” and the idea that all the problems emanate from someone other than us.

Moving on to another relationship can sometimes make a huge difference. I totally grant you that. But, sometimes, it’s just that we are afraid to look internally, see what role we are playing and to make our own changes. The “looking outward”syndrome just follows us to all our next relationships.

Why write about this now … divorced more than 10 years? Maybe it’s the upcoming holiday. Or, maybe it’s that time in our lives where we are wondering about a change… life’s passing us by and we think, “Is my relationship right for me?” “Does _____ fill my bucket.” But, I think the real question is, “Am I the person I want to be in my relationship and toward my partner?” The look is internal, not external.

As for my kids and my divorce, I get where they are coming from. And, I hope they never get divorced. But, I’m not going to worry about it. Instead, I’ll make sure that they understand that sometimes, it just doesn’t work no matter how hard you try. But, before giving up (and afterwards), it’s critically important to take time to look inside and find your peace and happiness there. Only at that point can you truly make a decision on anything else. Likely the kind of advice we can use in all areas of our lives. Maybe I could have used it 10 years ago. 🙂

Have a wonderful day!