Who Says Divorce Means Failure?

I am divorced but my marriage did not fail.  I did not fail.  My marriage merely ended.  Why is this phrase so common in our society?  Why don’t we question statements that heap guilt on us?   Women have enough guilt to deal with.  Life is a never ending process of beginnings and endings. Endings are opportunities.  As a therapist, I realize that marriages and relationships end for many different reasons and it’s not for us to place judgment on others or to have others place judgment on us.  It is our responsibility to understand our relationships—especially why they end.  It is possible to do this without placing blame on someone but rather seeking understanding.  I am not saying that we should take marriage lightly.  It is a serious commitment but we should not feel chained to it or to another person.

I’ll admit that it was difficult for me to get divorced.  I struggled with issues around responsibility for keeping my family together, guilt and failure.  As a culture we tend to get caught up in the idea of failure versus success.  We buy into the idea that you are one or the other—black or while.  Where is the gray?  We need to look for the gray in life.  It does exist.

Eventually I came to the realization that marriages only fail if you failed to learn from the experience.  For many women it is extremely difficult to end any relationship much less a marriage.  The reality is things happen, people change, circumstances change and relationships either bend or break. This may or may not result in an ending or a divorce.  I have spent years processing and using what I learned throughout my marriage and subsequent divorce.  I could never see that as a failure.  You don’t need to see it as a failure either.

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