When you get married, you and your significant other have been on a journey, where you met, dated, got engaged, and said “I do” over the allotted amount of time. You have moments that you remember from the time you dated and the inside jokes that you shared. You have mutual friends and moments shared among each other’s families that you cherished. You enjoyed your story as a couple.
When cracks begin to form in the relationship and arguments begin to spiral out of control, the story begins to shift, and unless something significant occurs, you tend to hope that you will be able to recover as a couple. However, for many, it does not happen.
For those couples, the slow loss of a fun-loving relationship, coupled with the deterioration of trust and respect can make a relationship fragile and vulnerable to divorce.
When it becomes clear that a marriage in that state that is no longer salvageable, you need to contact a family law attorney who you can trust to represent your interests and who can help you write your own story after your divorce is finalized.
The narrative of the end of your marriage can influence your divorce in many ways. If infidelity was at all a factor, it can drive emotions and send otherwise rational individuals into a state of wanting to inflict the same amount of hurt in the divorce process as the spouse that committed the act first.
This can change the post-divorce narrative and how you proceed in post-divorce relationships. It can make it difficult to trust other potential new partners. You also may find yourself eager to enter a new relationship to prove to your ex-spouse that you are desirable and worth it without considering the feelings of your new partner.
In those circumstances, you suddenly become the man who is too afraid of getting hurt again to enter a new relationship or the one who moved on too quickly from your previous marriage.
Infidelity is not the only thing that can affect the narrative of your divorce and how it affects your post-divorce life. When you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse initially decide that you need some time apart, you or your soon-to-be ex-spouse may feel owed.
The marital home
You may be asked to leave the marital home, because your soon-to-be ex-spouse feels like it is hers and that she has every right to demand that you leave. For the sake of your post-divorce future, you should not leave the marital home.
Your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s family and friends may see you as someone who will not let go or will not give your soon-to-be ex-spouse the space that they need, which may be a negative narrative that occurs during the experience. However, you cannot afford to pay that narrative any mind.
From a legal perspective, desertion is grounds for divorce in some states, and regardless of whom was asked to leave and who did the asking, the act of leaving the marital home could be used against you when it comes to dividing marital property, debts, or other financial aspects of your divorce.
Additionally, if you have children and they stay in the marital residence after you leave, your access to them is restricted, causing your fight for primary or shared custody to become more difficult.
You may go from family and friends believing that you are the loving and doting parent that you actually are, to someone who abandoned their children at a time they needed you most.
These narratives surrounding the divorce process can be dangerous and can affect testimony if a family member or a friend is asked to describe your character, your relationship with your ex-spouse, or your relationship with your children.
It is important for your case and for your future that you have individuals in your life who believe that you did not abandon your marriage, just as they believe that you did not abandon your children. Not only will having character witnesses in your favor help fight some of the bad facts that may be used against you, but for your own emotional health, it will do you a wealth of good knowing there are people out there who believe in you.
After your divorce
After your divorce is finalized, you have a hand in deciding your recovery process. You get to decide if you want to focus on yourself and maintain a sense of wellness. You get to decide if you want to live the potential of post-divorce life and not let the fact that you got a divorce define your life.
What you should not do is allow your divorce to paralyze your progress. You should not allow the potential of whispers to stop you from living your life the way you want to live it. You should not remain secluded because of the narrative surrounding the end of your marriage, because the reality of your story is that the ending is unwritten.
You have the opportunity to live a full, healthy, and successful life, regardless of your marital status, and you should take full advantage of that opportunity, regardless of what stories may be floating around. The narrative of who others perceive you to be does not define you, because their words do not matter. You matter.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.