”This book is an exploration of love, of the divorce dilemma and of integrity.Bianca Best
Dear Potential Divorcee,
I’ve always been obsessed by love stories. Incorrigibly, I devour romantic fiction, films and fairy tales in abundance. I craved the Disney happy ending for myself from the first cartoon confetti prince and princess oxytocin surge. From lustful pubescent fantasies, to bemused bridesmaid duties at my father’s second wedding (in Salisbury Cathedral I’ll have you know), I voyaged into life determined to manifest a twinkling golden anniversary idyll of my own.
Meeting my husband at the exploratory age of 18, I was charmed by his wit, good looks, business success and, by way of icing on the matrimonial cake, the fact that his parents were happily married, still doting on each other after tender sweetheart beginnings decades prior. The stability, solidity and love they epitomised, sealed the deal for me. I had found my perfect candidate, someone who was equally devoted to loyalty, to becoming two parts of one whole and whom I trusted unequivocally to share my forever with.
Fast forward twenty six years, four children, numerous adventures and one dog later, we are now divorced. My dreams of eternal love sharp shards of tattered and battered hopes, crunching dirtily beneath my weary soul. After a decade of rows, counselling and tediously effortful attempts to salvage our relationship, we recently tore a jagged line down our marriage once and for all.
The decade of indecision is not unique to us. Multiple couples suffer the same quandary and endure that volatile journey to decisive action one way or the other. It’s no secret that divorce statistics are staggeringly high and marriage counselling a booming industry despite (indeed perhaps incensed by) economic stressors. What is secret however is the abounding adultery, the dark loneliness, the sex-less partnerships, the inner turmoil that so many couples hide behind their Farrow & Ball Eggshell Gloss doors. Both partners feel shame, guilt, fear and worry as they confront their marriage squarely on, years after the joyful honeymoon high has faded as starkly as the silver-framed sun-bleached mantlepiece photo.
In my pursuit of resources to help me step confidently and finitely into my decision I found an unexpected void in available material. As I researched everything from emotional resilience during divorce, to parental practicalities, to spiritual divorce, to financial advice, and so on, never once did I find familiarity in my tale – a woman initiating separation from a place of love, positive intention and without hurt, anger, resentment or bitterness. Conversely, I found tale after book after article after podcast on the victimised woman, fragile after her husband’s cliched mid-life crisis left her woefully single whilst her teeth-whitened-ex dazzled off into the sunset with their Peruvian au pair. I was bereft of heartening stories of empowered women considerately freeing their partner from an unhappy marriage, aware of the passage of time having evolved separate paths. There was a surprising dearth.
I am a successful global business leader. I work with a pleasing array of equally strong, confident and capable women. I mentor and teach many more powerful women my ESAPE™ model to obliterate burnout. I’m blessed with close friendships. Increasingly, I have found abundant private kinship in women similarly stepping into the divorce decision. They have outgrown their husbands. Sometimes outpaced, sometimes outdone, sometimes outshone. They simply feel the partnership doesn’t work any more. The commonality is that these women are foraying into their decision-making process with trepidation, terrified of the road less travelled.
Some deal with the anxious thoughts by burying them, suppressing unhappy urges through affairs, illicit liaisons sparking tantalizing thrill jolts. Others channel disquieting thoughts through work obsession or over focusing on the home or children. Others, tentatively begin counselling where deep and painful work commences and the route forwards becomes confused and exhausting.
In my experience, we attempted counselling three separate times over six years and in the final decisive moments we agreed not to bother again. We had discussed, surfaced, debated, rowed, analysed and reminisced to the extent there was nothing left to cover. We both acknowledged the pain of staying stuck in the marriage was worse than the pain of parting. And so began a tumultuous year of deconstructing the family entity we had lovingly created into a new form. It’s a journey that continues.
This book is an exploration of love, of the divorce dilemma and of integrity.
What is integrity? Keeping a family together for the sake of appearances, tradition or religion? Is integrity acknowledging that incompatibility can gradually occur as we evolve emotionally, intellectually and spiritually throughout our lifetimes? I fervently believe integrity is having the courage to honour your truth. If that truth, as was in my case, is a sad, solitary loneliness within a relationship, allowing it to be aired, explored and examined is integrity. And if that exploration leads to a path of divorce then that is integrity. If it leads to renewed connection, healthy and loving communication and respectful partnership, then that too is integrity.
The Divorce Decision is an almighty one and within these pages I impart the wisdom, experience and guidance I wish had been forthcoming to me when I commenced this journey.
Divorce is not failure, it is simply evolution.
Wishing integrity to all potential divorcees.
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