Some marriages end with shared sorrow. Others end with lasting longing by one partner and hardly a backward glance by the other. It’s comforting for people to believe that divorce is sought by a couple who fully agree that the marriage has failed. But often only one person wants out.
Take infidelity. Studies tell us that infidelity is the most frequent cause of divorce. Typically when infidelity is discovered it engenders outrage, intense pain and humiliation, and can lead to enduring suffering. The confrontation which follows discovery often brings pleas for forgiveness, and the promise to reform. The marriage may or may not continue. Sometimes the hurt is too deep and the trust that held the couple together has been lost beyond repair. Martha age 30, a mother with two preschool children, left for a few weeks to care for her ill parents. When she returned she learned that, during her absence, her husband had an affair with the teenage babysitter. She cried for days. But despite his devotion to the children and his pleas to continue the marriage, she filed for divorce. She was convinced that she could not trust him ever again. She never remarried. He remarried twice.
In some marriages, as more than one woman told me, “His having girlfriends were part of the deal.” Often this agreement was acceptable for several years, but did not survive the birth of children. Typically then, the wife called for fidelity. One woman said, “After our second child was born, he took a special apartment presumably so he would have privacy to write his music.
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