January 9, 2007

Happy New Year, I Want a Divorce

I'm aware that the Sun is a really lousy paper (I'm tagging the British one here, but I'm not particularly enamoured of any of them), but this story about divorce tapped a nerve. I was having a discussion with a friend about this very subject. Come to think of it, I seem to be having this discussion with SOMEONE every year around this time.

It's regarding the timing of divorce proceedings. Yesterday was D-Day for more people than any other. The reasoning seems quite sound, actually. We'll get through the Christmas season, not freak out the kids with talk of visitation and Daddy buying a futon while they're on holiday, but as soon as it's back to normal, it's back to the face-off circle.

Seems sound, but is actually really, really stupid. Christmas is stressful to endure when you're all happy. It's hell on earth when everyone knows this whole matching-sweaters thing is a charade. And you think your kids don't know? Your kids knew before you did. Kids are like animals that feel an earthquake coming by sensing a change in the earth through their feet. They know before anyone - their antennae pick up the slightest changes because they have less on their plates.

And of course, the participants walk around dropping clues like rose petals at a wedding. As you look at your father-in-law drinking all your good scotch again, you get to think 'well, that's the last damn time he does that'. As your husband's sister turns her nose up at the gift you spend ages agonizing over for her, you realize he's on his own next year - you never have to spend good money on the witch again.

I don't know that there is a great time to divorce. In fact, I know there isn't. It all stinks. But people that think they can plan their emotions around a calendar are crazy. Some people think they should wait until their kids are teenagers. Wrong. Terrible time to put them through that, especially if you've known for years. Teenagers want things to be all about them. It's irritating, but it's normal.

I also think if the D word has crossed your mind, you should realize your babymaking activities with this person are done. Forever. I know of no babies that have saved a marriage, but I know of many where the stress has blown them apart.
But if you have people around you that seem to be ramping up for something, this could be it. Cut them a little slack, give them a little space, and understand they'll eventually return to some kind of normal. It may take 3 years, but it'll happen. And keep an eye out for the kids. They're usually the last to be told what's going on, though they're often the first to know.


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