Divorcing the Good Man

Laura Lifshitz writes about her amicable but difficult divorce from the man who’s a good person:

I am indeed, fortunate, to have made the choice–it’s not luck, it’s a choice you make when you marry–of marrying and now divorcing a man who is a good father and person.

She mostly wants people to shut up about it. She emphasizes that they made this choice together, but she says in How to Have a Peaceful Divorce:

My ex and I get along and even from time to time hug each other, but sometimes he makes me sad. If he didn’t, we’d still be living together.

It sure sounds like there are some issues on her side. She attributes the way she feels to him, something my own wife has done. I because the scapegoat for all of her problems and issues. Laura says that if her husband didn’t make her sad, she’d still be with him. It doesn’t sound like they made a joint decision. It sounds like the same thing that happened to me: at some point you have to accept that your partner isn’t going to try to stay together and accept their decision.

That you go along with it doesn’t mean you decided it together. It can mean that one person decided and the other person can stop fighting a futile fight. That’s not a joint decision. That’s one person being forced into something they don’t want but still handling it like a mensch. She says he’s a good person and that’s what a good person would do.

She also indicates in the same article that she has problems with conflict and perception:

For a long time when we first separated, I panicked if things got remotely tense, feeling this huge pressure for us to be the perfect divorced couple all the time.

Earlier, in The Things Unsaid in a Marriage, she says:

I remember all the times he never said I was beautiful or attractive. I remember all the times he didn’t say, “I’m proud of you.” I remember vividly the times in which I didn’t hear I love you or didn’t here, “It will be okay.”

and

Sometimes, I would say something to spark an interesting conversation or perhaps a sexual invitation and it seemed to go unheard.

Really? I don’t know the story behind this and only have her story, but it sure sounds like she had some co-dependence issues here. She’s not complaining about what bad things he said. She’s complaining that she didn’t get enough praise. In other articles she notes that he’s a good father and a good person. Maybe he’s not a verbal person. Maybe she should give him credit for providing for his family.

Maybe there were times he didn’t know that things would be okay. Women project the duality of expecting their men to be men, but at the same time want them to be vulnerable. You really can’t have both.

I like what the Daily Mail quotes from prominent UK Labour politician Shirley Williams:

You’ve got to come to terms with that single question – what did I contribute to this? And only when you have the answer to that can you actually then seriously think about why you broke up.

You mustn’t kid yourself that you’re the one who’s been badly treated – you just have to understand how it happened.

and

It’s about being taken seriously and not being treated as an ancillary figure.

She likes to say that two people are at fault in a divorce, but she never cops to what she did. Maybe her husband had the same problem that I did (and came out in the marriage counseling). The complaints my wife had were how I was dealing with her misbehavior and irresponsibilities. That’s only a symptom of the problem. If she had stepped up to handle her life, I wouldn’t have my issue, and she wouldn’t have her problem with my issue. I don’t know, but I’m sensing much evasion on her part.

How would I tell someone who’s lying and cheating “I’m proud of you”? And then deal with that person who complains that I don’t say that?

But beyond that, when I praised genuinely praiseworthy results and intents, it’s not enough. The way to get more praise is to be more praiseworthy, not to lower the standards to the point where your spouse has to become condescending and patronizing to deliver undeserved praise.

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