Divorce Is Not A Dishonourable Discharge Or A Demotion


I am currently going through a divorce. Very amicably. Which may seem surprising because every example I see in real life, or in movies, seems to suggest divorce should be an epic battle of hearts and minds.

Make sure you get your “fair share.”

Fight for custody of the children.

Make them suffer!

There’s a ton of dark side energies out of control in the world of divorce. The ego is leading anger, fear, and jealousy straight off of a cliff.

I am grateful that my marriage was not combative, but even if yours was, it is now coming to an end. The “sickness” is almost over. So why not be happy and positive? You will soon be free.

Too often, the complication is with what other people think. The language we use around divorce makes this more difficult, often implying we are at fault. If you are in a similar situation, you may have come across these statements:

Why didn’t you stay together for your daughter?

Many reasons, but how about — we didn’t want her growing up in a world where her parents did not romantically love one another, and teach her the lesson that that was acceptable?

You could have just slept in different rooms, why did you separate?

See answer above. Or just have a word with yourself! We are all entitled to love and happiness. How is living in the same place and sleeping separately going to help us find someone who does give us the love we deserve?

Did your marriage vows mean nothing to you?

Yes, they did. And I still stand by them. My “ex” was my best friend for over a decade and still is. We have a child together. I will stand by her in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. In order to do that we do not have to be in a sexual or romantic relationship. If anything, I can do more good going freelance.

The problem with a lot of this is that leaving a marriage is seen as a demotion.

A dishonourable discharge.

We failed.

Actually, we succeeded. We recognised that we had changed, that we felt differently, and that all of the strategies we tried to address that with, were not working.

So we separated.

And suddenly, as the father, my stock tumbled. I am now the ex-husband. With an ex-wife. Nowhere in movies and TV is this a good thing.

People seem surprised when I turn up at nursery to pick up my daughter, or see my ex and I getting on in public. We have actually been asked if we are back together — I assume because we were being nice to one another?

Our relationship should be over, or hostile. If I ever worry about my ex-wife people have actually said, “Oh, this is your EX right?” As though I have no right or responsibility to worry. Whereas the truth is we are more of a partnership now than many married couples.

It is better. She can disapprove of my clothes, and I can disapprove of the programmes she watches on TV. It means nothing now. There are no stakes. We smile with familiarity and mock each other. There is no pressure about spending the rest of our lives together and having to put up with it, because we are not married. Even though our child means we will be a constant presence in each other’s lives, we appreciate each other rather than judge.

My “ex”. The word fails to encapsulate the meaning. “Ex-wife” feels dramatic, in a negative way. We need a word that suggests two superheroes that fought side by side, and have now head out on their own, but still come together for the important life battles.

That is who we are.

Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.

Sip a little more:

Let’s Talk About The Stupid, Jerkface Language Of Divorce

Love As An Evolutionary Force & A Heart That Contains The Whole World

To My Husband, At The End Of Our 25-Year Marriage



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