the grace of divorce – why we stay: fear

The thing about chaos is the longer it’s observed the odds are someone will find a pattern in it. Human behavior isn’t much different, especially in relationships, specifically in terminating them. There’s also a pattern in the chaos of why people stay together; reasons just as carcinogenic as causes to divorce.

Fear tops the list. Hands down, no-brainer, even odds on this one. Fear paralyzes. Fear constricts, it changes the speed of the rotation of this ol’ earth. It dulls senses, squelches the hunger of lust and melts away esteem. No one ever found themselves simultaneously beautiful and afraid.

There’s much of which to be afraid. No hierarchy withstanding, let’s start with yourself. Nothing compares to the hit your self-concept takes when terminating a relationship with a living being with whom you’ve invested deep intimate soul-arching disclosure. Throw pregnancies, births, and child-rearing on top and there seems to be so much invested that anything short of complete destitution would be recoverable in a divorce. All the blunt edges in your life, the songs shared, the stories, the holidays, the summers, the dinners, the sex, everything, every thing becomes a razor, and every cut they make make you second guess the critical decision to split.

Confidence wanes, inner beauty pales, and the value of your very soul goes on clearance. That’s pretty scary, enough for millions of women to endure a bad marriage.

Next in the lineup is family. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’ll all have something to say and feel they have some room to judge you. And the in-laws; ruthless reaches new levels in definition when one of their own has been seemingly betrayed. And there’s nothing you can do or say. In fact, it’s not even worth the energy. That’s enough to save face, put up with more of the same, day in, day out. At least you have your kids.

Don’t kid yourself. Kids are the wiser here because they haven’t learned to be afraid yet.

And then there’s everybody else. Some people around here call them “Church.” The judgment, the gossip, the pointing, the avoidance on the aisles at the grocery store, the clandestine lunch dates with the girls that you unwittingly crash. The clique is caustic and can burn away any modicum of self-confidence with a choral glance.

And if that’s not enough to scare you into enduring well to the end, there’s post-divorce dating.

No wonder you’re afraid. So you stay. You’ll stay right up until your body makes the move before you even think about it, until your mouth proclaims the words that can no longer be squelched in the ashes of your heart and the battlefield of your brain, “I want a divorce.”

It’s triumphant and chaos starts to disappear.

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