Does Divorce Take A Holiday?

Divorce_HolidaysEach year I hear that sentiment and each year I have to ask why.  If the marriage is truly “irretrievably broken”why are these folks wanting to keep up appearances and stay together even though the decision has already been made to no longer continue the marriage.

Divorce is facing the unknown and can be unsettling.  Many people have their “Hallmark”image of the holidays.  Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving turkey.  Pictures of the family in front of the tree.  Change can be fearful and it is only natural to want to maintain a semblance of  normalcy.  But there is a different way to look at it; Consider the idea of starting new traditions —now.

I have seen clients really tickled with establishing new traditions to replace worn out ones.  One woman had fun decorating her new apartment and inviting her close friends to an intimate dinner.  She chose only those friends who made her feel supported.  She realized she had been spending her holidays trying to please everyone else.

Another client,whose children were all grown and with their own holiday plans,chose to go to a ski resort instead of staying home with a spouse with whom he no longer had anything in common.  The stay at home spouse went to visit her parents.  Both of them were much relieved and felt free from traditions that were no longer serving them.

Even couples with small children have been able to find calmer, more fulfilling holidays.  Instead of the parents gritting their teeth, or worse yet, slipping into an alcoholic haze as they endured in-laws whose company they did not enjoy, each parent chose a day to spend alone with the children.  One started a new Christmas eve outing and the other spent Christmas day with family of their choosing.  The children had the best Christmas ever.

To be clear, I am not advocating divorce.  I never do and always encourage couples to explore counseling and seek ways to restore the vitality to their marriage.  But I do wonder why people who truly are miserable in their marriage feel they need to maintain a facade just to look good.

The Hallmark family is a myth and you do not need to buy into it if the image does not fit.

My suggestion is to at least consider an alternative holiday this year.

 About The Author

Karin E. Quirk
Attorney at Law, Kirkland,WA

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