Divorce is always on my mind because I got a divorce four years ago. Not that I wanted to. In fact, when I thought we were going to a couples therapist we were actually going to a divorce mediator. And then, when it was clear that we were going to have to get a divorce, and I had all the money to fund it, my lawyer finally said to me, “If you drag your feet any longer, you’re going to have to get a new lawyer because I’m retiring.”

So we got a divorce. I hated it. (And of course, I blogged about it the whole time.) Subsequently I have become a vocal critic of divorce. I think it’s an incredibly lame and selfish route to take. Here are five reasons why:

1. Divorce is a cliche among people in denial. 
I see divorce in every story. For example, as soon as I heard about the school shootings in Chardon, OH, I got stuck on the fact that the kid’s parents had just gotten a divorce and left him with his grandparents. I blame the parents.

Heather Armstrong is a great blogger who I have followed for years. But I’m really stuck on the news that she just announced a separation from her husband.

Armstrong supports her family with her blog, dooce.com, which is about herself, so of course, I watch her really closely. In her post announcing that she had asked her husband to leave, she said the two common, and delusional things we hear from divorced parents all the time:

“I can’t be a good parent if I’m not happy and I’ll never be happy in this marriage.”


“The kids are doing so well. Kids are really resilient.”

I’ve heard those things so many times. From parents who are getting a divorce who are full of shit.

The dad who tells everyone he got a divorce because his wife is crazy and then leaves his kids with the mom. Newsflash: if your wife is really crazy, then you are crazy for leaving your kids alone with her. In fact, you are not crazy, you’re willfully negligent. And if your wife is not really crazy then get your butt back to the house and raise your kids like an adult.

The mom who says the kids are fine. What does that mean? Do you know that if you ask kids who are living with a crack addict mom if they are fine, they’ll say yes. They’ll say they want to stay. Because kids are trying to survive.

2. Divorce is nearly always terrible for kids. Your case is not the exception.
Kids do not break down during a divorce because they see their parents breaking down. The kids see that one parent just abandoned them. Of course the kid is not going to have a compete fit and push another parent away in anger. Read The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, which is Judith Wallerstein’s 25-year study of children of divorce. It’s the only study that covers such a long period of time, and she concludes that divorce is absolutely terrible for kids over the long-term. And a wide range of studies have concurred.

It’s completely obvious how Wallerstein gets to her conclusion. Think of it this way: Two parents decide they don’t like living together and they want to start over. They can’t meet their needs by simply living together and making the best of it. They want a new chance, in a new household.

Where does this leave the kids? They don’t get a new chance until they grow up. So now they have to shuttle back and forth between two homes so that their parents can get another chance. Meanwhile, the kids don’t get a second chance at their childhood. And the most damaging thing about divorce is that the kids don’t have a home; to say a kid has two homes is the same as saying the kid has no home. Because a home is your basecamp. If you have two basecamps you don’t have a home.

And anyway, if having two homes really worked, then the parents who are so upset about living together can each have a different home during the day, while the kids are at school, and then come back to their other home. But no one would do that, right? Because having two homes sucks.

3. Divorce is for dumb people.
In case you are thinking that divorce is normal among smart, educated parents, you would be wrong. The divorce rate is plummeting among educated women. For example, among Asian women with a college degree the divorce rate is one percent. Divorce is for people who can’t think ahead enough to realize that the cost to the kids is so high that it’s not worth the benefits the parents get.

4. Divorce reflects mental illness.
I have been reading tons of books about borderline personality disorder and parenting, and I’m surprised that no one has pointed out that the decision to divorce is similar to the decision making process that you get with borderline personality disorder.

For example, a parent with BPD is often unable to separate their own wellbeing from their child’s. The person with BPD is afraid of not being loved and makes all their decisions based on that fear.

So, the person decides they are not receiving proper love in their marriage and then decides that the children would be better off if the marriage were over. The marriage being over is not good for the children. But that is not the issue.

Why do we treat people with BPD as mentally ill and people getting a divorce as adults making adult decisions?

5. Divorce is often a career issue. I can help with that.
So many times I have been coaching someone who thought they need a divorce, but really, the marriage has a career issue. So, look, when there are no kids, I don’t think there’s a lot of collateral damage when two people want a divorce. But maybe I can save a few children’s childhoods by telling you some common problems and how to solve them:

The woman is pissed that her husband hasn’t gotten a good paying job in years.
This type of woman feels overly responsible for taking care of the family. And she feels taken advantage of by the guy because she thinks he could get a job if he wanted to. (This is probably where Heather is coming from since her husband, who has been working on her blog for years, announced he is looking for a job.)

The problem, though, is that the woman married a guy who doesn’t want to have a big career. She knew this before they got married, but she chose to ignore it. There was probably something she liked about him, something she needed from him, that he provided. Now she wants something different.

The solution is to stop being angry at the guy for not getting a job. Remember that the kids love him and remind yourself the reasons you loved him when you married him. Those things are still there. If you get a divorce you are not going to be able to miraculously stop working. So bite the bullet and accept where you are and finish raising the kids.

Bonus: If you start loving your husband again you will probably love your job again because you’ll feel good that the job allows you to create a happy family.

The guy who thinks his wife is holding back his career.
Oh, god, I hear this so many times. The guy is not where he wants to be in his career. He has so many ideas, so many dreams, and he is really unhappy where his is.

The answer here is: tough shit. You had kids before you fulfilled all your career dreams. Unless you are independently wealthy, you have to scale back your dreams when you have kids because you can’t take wild financial risks with your family’s wellbeing.

So you have kids and a wife, and you have to get a reality check that you are not going to be Mark Zuckerberg. It’s okay. Just focus on being a good father and a good husband and stay with your wife and kids.

It is incredibly selfish and immature to decide your kids should have to shuttle between two families so you can take another swing at a home run. It’s time for you to be a good dad. That’s your job now. You owe it to your kids.

Bonus: Once you start taking pride in being a good parent and a good husband, you will have better self-esteem and your career will get better as a result of that.

The person who is bored and wants out.
So many people get divorced because they are bored. This blows my mind. Your kids are not bored with your marriage. Your kids need boring at home in order to have the necessary foundation to fly outside the home. If your kids are focused on creating their own stability bouncing between two parents then the kids can’t focus on figuring out who they are while they grow up. They have to spend their time figuring out who their family is. And that’s not fair to your kids.

A job absolutely 100% cannot make you happy. A happy family can make you happy and it’s possible that nothing else really even comes close to making a person happy.

So instead of messing up your family in order to make yourself happy, keep your family together and use your job to address your boredom problem. A fun job can make your life more interesting. Your spouse is not in your life to make you feel interesting. Your spouse is there to love you and raise your kids with you. Don’t ask for anything else.

If you want to feel more interesting then go do something more interesting. And come home for dinner.

The person who says they are a victim of violence.
Two-thirds of divorces take place in low-conflict homes, and in those cases, the kids are much better off if the parent just stick it out.

So let’s look at high-conflict homes: It takes two people to fight. And there’s great research to show that if you picked an asshole the first time, you’ll pick the same type of asshole the second time. (Which is why divorce rates for second marriages are so much higher than first marriages.) So instead of getting rid of your kids’ parent, figure out why you picked a person like this, and then get good at drawing boundaries.

Really, good boundaries can save even the worse marriages. Taking care of your own contribution to the mess can single-handedly stop the mess.

This is especially true of violence. At this point in the history, where women have so much earning power, women are equally as responsible for men for the violence in a household. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control reports that most domestic violence today is a 50/50 thing. Both parties are responsible. Which means that even if you have one of the worst marriages, you have the power to fix it.

And if you don’t use that power—if you don’t fundamentally change how you are in the marriage in order to stop the craziness, then you will not only recreate it in your next relationship, but you will continue to model it for your kids.

So look, I don’t see any reason left that makes divorce ok when there are kids. Personal responsibility always trumps running away. And yes, here are the links to my own marital violence and my decison to stay and fix it. I’m practicing what I preach. I’m working really hard at keeping my own marriage together. It’s a cold, lonely place to be in life. But it’s better than the alternative.

Because divorce is the ultimate example of just running away. And, while your kids probably will not pull out a gun in the school cafeteria, long-term sadness and a lingering inability to connect to other people is an irrefutable result of divorce. It’s something that you can prevent.

725 replies
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  1. susan pagor
    susan pagor says:

    Interesting viewpoint, I think a better post might be marry the right person the first time. I married young after college my husband was unemployed and frankly too young to be married. After carrying the financial burden for the family I decided to move on. I was young in my 20’s but, had graduated from college and had a good job. My ex and I remained friends I have been remarried for 12 years and been with my husband for 15 years. Honestly I do not see the point in staying in something if it will ruin your life.

  2. Thomas
    Thomas says:

    As a child of a divorce that helped me realize you don’t have to live with someone being abusive emotionally and ridiculous, I couldn’t disagree more with this post. My mother was the one creating problems, as everything was about her. that has continued throughout my life, and it is only because my father is a standup human being that I know that marriage can work and be happy. If they had stayed together, I would have no idea how things were supposed to be. I guess the point is both adults need to be mature and they can make the marriage work. If one adult refuses to act like one, divorce is best for everyone else involved, especially children.

  3. A. Nonymous
    A. Nonymous says:

    My parents divorced after 23 years when I was 21. I honestly can say that I wish they’d done so far sooner. As a (very young) adult, I was privy to details that they’d not have shared. Also, I knew how very, very, very unhappy they had been for years. There was no verbal or physical abuse, but there was also no love or teamwork. They’d been to counselors, tried communicating in various ways, and both had even tried to stop being who they were to meet the other’s needs. Honestly, they’re better people when they aren’t together.

    The environment in which I was raised made me feel that, as the woman, I should completely subjugate myself to the needs of the family. It made me feel that marriage was something that caused pain and misery to all parties involved. I had (and still have) issues connecting with people, mostly because of the complete disconnection I saw between my parents.

    You want to know what my rebellion was, as a 20-something? I got married. I had doubts, but I was determined to follow through with my promise to stay with him for the rest of my life.

    Six months into the marriage, he was unfaithful. He may have been before that, but I that was the first time I was certain. Still, I stayed my course. He refused to work, expecting me to support us both financially. He would then constantly belittle me for not making enough money to support the insanely large lifestyle he wanted(though we were doing better than 90% of our peers) and his newly-developed drug habit, then he cut me off from all of my friends. But I was NOT going to divorce him, because I was “better” than my parents. He became verbally abusive and threatening. I became meek, trying to keep it together. I’d been open from the moment I met him about not wanting children, but he decided to sabatoge our contraceptives. Still, I stayed. I got a different job, having lost the one that was providing for us when my physical health deteriorated from stress, but it wasn’t earning enough to allow him to stay at home. He asked for a divorce, thinking I’d beg him to stay and do whatever he wanted.

    And a light came on in my head.

    I am pretty religious. I believed then, as I do now, that marriage is a sacred vow to be taken very seriously. But there was no way that this could be part of any loving deity’s plan for the rest of my life.

    The marriage was hell: threats and abuse, infidelity, and destructive behaviors…all on his behalf. Not mine. These weren’t my fault. The only changes I’d made from the girl he’d married were ones that he’d requested.

    The divorce made the marriage look like a cake walk, but it’s done. We didn’t have kids, so I never have to deal with him again.

    I’m now married to a man who loves me and wants comfort and security for both of us. We’re a team. It isn’t always fun, but I know he’s as committed to our life together as I am.

    That’s marriage. It’s taken me a decade to re-arrange my thinking after watching my parents for twenty years. I’m not better than my parents, but I did learn from their mistakes(even if it took me a while). I’m still dealing with some of the other issues that I acquired from my childhood.

    I feel you might be over-generalizing when you state that divorce is immature or selfish. My grandmother used to say “There’s an exception to every rule”. I’ve found that to be especially true in this case.

  4. Been There
    Been There says:

    I pity your children who will probably continue to suffer because of you and your abusive husband. I should know.. my parents probably should have divorced when I was small, before I was damaged by their so-called marriage. Domestic abuse is NEVER the victim’s fault, but you have been bullied into believing this or are deluding yourself to pretend you aren’t a victim and do have at least some control through your self-blame. Maybe you are so dependent/scared you have to believe he loves you and can/will change somehow – even if he never gets any counselling or accepts responsibility. Maybe you think you can help/change him (which is controlling and delusional – he has to want to change and do this himself) by yourself. Your self loathing and misogyny is teaching your children bad things that will potentially cause them to have abusive relationships themselves. When you inevitably – especially if your husband refuses counselling – fail to prevent the abuse, your children will (also) be the losers in your battle/marriage. People rarely change and then only when they choose to &/or have no other choice. Please either convince your husband to get (couples) counselling/anger management training, or get a divorce. Stop blaming victims for abuse – it’s wrong and extremely offensive. I hope you’ll listen.. it’s the only hope your kids have to be happy, healthy and for them not to end up being angry, damaged and possibly hating you both instead. Do you want them to be emotionally damaged or suffering/causing abuse themselves in the future, or do you want to protect them and be a strong MOTHER/woman (not necessarily a wife) who teaches them abuse is wrong and unacceptable? If you don’t believe it, then why will the abuse stop; if it’s your fault and it’s OK by you, if he knows you’ll never leave no matter what, then why will it stop? Why shouldn’t it continue or even get worse? Get help, please. For the sake of your kids, if not yourself. Start saving for their future therapy otherwise – you will both owe them that at least.

  5. Randy
    Randy says:

    I agree 100% with you. Divorce is the end result of a selfish person who is only thinking about themselves and not about the happiness of anyone else. They get bored and think the grass is greener somewhere else. The kids pay the ultimate price and take all the collateral damage. Then the divorce seeker just lies to the world and says everything is so much better and that they are so happy with the new life. LIE LIE LIE if you say it enough it is still a lie!!!

  6. Seattle Divorce Appraiser
    Seattle Divorce Appraiser says:

    It’s silly to say that divorce is selfish and immature. People change, lives change– and that’s ok. What is important is the commitment to the children who are involved. Remaining amicable through the divorce and always keeping the children’s best interest in mind is what is most important. Family events can still be shared and time spent together as a family can still take place-IF the parents work together to make it happen. Modeling good behavior for the children is paramount. And you don’t need to spend the rest of your life unhappily married to do that.

  7. Agreewithyou
    Agreewithyou says:

    Thank you so much for being frank about this divorce business. I totally agree with you opinions. Just want to add that on top of Borderline Personality Disorder, Passive-Aggressiveness can also be a cause of divorce. My soon-to-be-ex-partner grew up from a dysfunctional divorced family when he was very young and he had since developed passive-aggressiveness (P-A) discorder. I had sufferred throughout this relationship (maybe I am co-dependent). Anyway just as our relationship was improving from doing therapies, he called quit. He could not handle real emotional closeness (thanks to his misfortunate childhood). I was devastated, I tried to reconcile but there is virtually no hope as the law does not really pretect the party who wants to make marriage work. Anyway I am learning a lot from this experience and feeling quite resentful toward the disposable/divorce culture that is so prodominent in our societies. I am becoming really concerned of the detrimental effects this divorce culture have on the future of our humanity. Best Wishes to you, and thank you for speaking up.

  8. mike
    mike says:

    I’m a man and this article was dead on accurate. I only have one question. What am i supposed to do when my wife is cheating and leaves for days on end? My little girl means more than my own life but how can i be under the same roof when she is having an affair.

  9. selina
    selina says:

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  10. John Mud
    John Mud says:

    Penelope Trunk. Quintessential GEN Xer. This column is as inane and makes as much sense as your Veterans Day post in which you called every veteran a war criminal.
    What is truly sad and sick is that the vast majority of your peers and readers agree with you.

  11. Cathy
    Cathy says:

    I didn’t have to read the entire article to realize how stupid it is. You live on a farm and home-school your kids. Wonderful….but do you have a clue how the rest of the world lives? You sound like a young college grad who thinks you have all the answers.
    People who divorce are stupid? Uneducated?
    People who cheat, lie, steal, abuse their spouse and children, and the parents who encourage their adult children to behave that way….they are the stupid ones. Many intelligent people in this world are also very good con artists. If we knew the alter ego who lurked behind Mr Perfect, we wouldn’t have married him. If only we could know how evil and deceitful people can be, would our world be a different place? Of course it would.
    Broken vows and promises cause broken homes. It’s stupid to remain in such a situation. Just because one person wants to make it work doesn’t mean the other partner agrees.
    I think you wrote this article just to get a rise out of people, and it worked for that reason. Surely you’re not stupid enough to believe your own story.

  12. Mossanony
    Mossanony says:

    Well, no.

    My stepfather was horribly abusive. 35 years later and I’m still dealing with the fallout. I was did the happy dance for months I was so happy to see that motherfucker go.

    Divorcing that cocksucker was the best decision my mother could have made to rectify the worst one she ever made.

  13. kim
    kim says:

    Hello every one, i have been through series of spell caster and no one of them has been able to get my lost love of two years back which i cherish so much, then i lost all hopes and decided to let go. Then i pop into this email address on the internet that he is capable of bringing back lost love no matter how far and how worse the condition may have been and then i decided to give it a try and the to my greatest surprise it worked for me. How he did it, i don’t know till now that we are about getting married and he told me that nothing can separate us and that the spell is only working in accordance with my heart desire. i can never thank him enough because what he did for me was unbelievable, i would strongly advice the use of his services when it come to getting ex back. i am talking about priestandrew91@yahoo.com, i don’t know if any of you have heard of him. He is an honest man………..ALL THANKS BE UNTO HIS NAME

  14. BELLA
    BELLA says:

    MY name is BELLA am from MEXICO, i never believe that my ex boyfriend will ever make up with me again just because of the incident that happened on a day that suppose to be his engagement night he called me on phone asking me to came and meet him at royal palm bunch hotel,that same hour on my way going there i meant an old time friend called jack willson,he was my first love during our high school days he put some pressure on me that same night but i tried my possible best to explain every thing to him that i am with some one already but he refuse to understand me and still putting more pressure on me saying that i should hangout with him,we were together all through that night,and my boy friend waited for me all through that night.but i never known all in the name of old time sake i was dealing with the wrong person jack i known before later turn into something else after having sex with me,my boy friend was hot and was very agree with me because he was to propose to me that same night but i never known of that i apologize to him and told him a lie that my father was ill that i was the only one available to talk him to the hospital,he was convince but later few days to our wedding some body from no were came and testify against me that i have been cheating on my boy friend with an evidence of a photo of that same incident that happen between i and jack,my boyfriend was very agree with me and throne me out of his house saying is over between both of us,he discovered that his ex girlfriend who traveled to Canada to visit her uncle was back he later go back to her and i held he was planning to marry her,but due to what happened i still loves him very much and i Bella can not afford to loose him to another,i sick for help in difference places but there was no solution,last i meant my friend jenny we both attend this same high school together so i shale my problems with her and she introduce me a powerful DR called alliya,DR alliya help me in getting my love one back immoderately without any delay my ex boyfriend later came back to me with much love and our wedding was planned and we finally got wedded and blessed with three lovely kids,I bella will forever be thankful to DR alliya for helping me restore my marriage back he can also do the same for you or more than because i believe in his powers,you can contact him with this email: dralliyaspellhome@gmail.com

  15. Soda
    Soda says:

    You’re an asshole, Penelope Trunk, but you know that already and that’s why he divorced you!

  16. Had enough
    Had enough says:

    I am currently separated and heading for divorce. The only bad thing is that I waited far too long to get out of an abusive marriage. My husband thought nothing of physically abusing me and in fact said that I “made him do it”. As he was a police officer, SWAT team member and then a detective for years, it was difficult to have his violence addressed. He dared me to say anything and if I tried, there was hell to pay. After the second time that he held a gun to my head and threatened to pull the trigger, I got the heck out. It was difficult and continues to be. I think that the biggest reason for staying in the marriage was my fear of him. The second reason was my strong beliefs against divorce. But I am now an advocate for divorce in cases of abuse. Get out while you still can!

  17. Steve
    Steve says:

    Is there any way to jump to the most recent comments without having to scroll through almost 700 replies??!! (I guess I’ll never know since I’m not willing to spend a half hour paging through old posts! Frustrating as I’m very interested in this blog.

  18. D
    D says:

    my wife wants a divorce after 13 years. we have 3 kids. I am against it. people ask me, adultery? No, I tell them my wife feels underappreciated by me, and not respected. I can’t believe this is happening. I tried and tried, all I got was rebuffed. SAD.

  19. Jackson
    Jackson says:

    I agree. Divorce is stupid, but I think marriage is even more asinine. I think trying to prevent and or avoid divorces is futile. Getting a divorce so easily (in legal terms) has become so synonymous with out instantaneous cerebral gratification culture. Attacking divorce is like warning broken people at the bottom of a cliff that maybe they should have reconsidered before they jumped. I think people marry way to quickly, to easily, to frequently, and for all the wrong reasons. That’s why divorce is out of control in this country, and why it’s so stupid, because people get married for stupid reasons, and the stupidity is merely compounded forever thereafter. We should have new laws where you can marry until 35 or later and you have to take a special marriage course through the state department and you have to be a certified future spouse and take continuing education and constantly update your licenses. Maybe then people would think harder before traipsing so casually down that aisle.

  20. mariah
    mariah says:

    hello I’m Mariah, i really don’t want to say much but just to appreciate the good work of a spell caster in my family. He restored my family back to it’s past glory, my husband whom was separated from me came back to me after 5 months of being away without messages, phone calls and without even asking after the kids. I got the email of this spell caster Dr. uhunoma through a friend whom he has once helped. He is the best in spell casting, i never believed i can get my husband back. If you are having any relationship problems, you can email him at uhunomatemple@yahoo.com

  21. Giselle
    Giselle says:

    My ex-husband has Aspergers…they can be very focused on other people when they want to be but generally have very little use for physical contact and they have no need for emotional contact. Sex ended when I had our first and only child…I stayed that way for 14 years; for that child, begging the whole time to seek counseling together or that he see a doctor to his utter refusal. I agree divorce is not ideal but I could not stay any longer.

  22. What?!
    What?! says:

    Ms Trunk,

    You are telling victims of domestic violence (male and female some men are brutally murdered by their wives, as wives are by husbands) to not only stay with their abuser but to subject innocent children to that kind of hell?! In many cases these are not fights but 1 person assaulting and degrading the other.

    Domestic violence can actually escalate if you don’t get out, to the point of the deaths of entire families, through multiple homicides and suicide.

    You say its for the kids but I’ve met several children of divorce who were so relieved when 1 parent moved out – less arguments and 2 less stressed parents, who focused on loving them.

    Think of how it will affect the kids: if a girl sees her mom being beaten by her dad she may feel as a woman she has no rights – or she may hate men for it. Likewise her brother may see it as a a man’s “role” to “discipline” his wife – or he may become a doormat for fear of becoming his father (as I say you could reverse the genders, not saying women are the sole victims). Either way these are stresses no young person deserves, and far more damaging emotionally, and physically, than separation.

    As for saying “well, you chose them” A) that isn’t the fault of children who will be emotionally (and maybe physically) damaged by growing up in such an environment. B) Very few abusive partners show their true nature until that person is at least cohabiting with them – they tend to be superficially charming.

    Your victim blaming is reprehensible, you are utterly irresponsible and I hope to God no-one in a violent relationship came here looking for advice!

  23. Teresa
    Teresa says:

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  24. online website
    online website says:

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    and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.

    Your blog provided us useful information to work on.

    You have done a marvellous job!

  25. Mark
    Mark says:

    you are right, I will never leave my Children, EVER!

    but My wife hates my guts. Actually that’s not a strong enough description, she Loathes my very existence. Everyday for the last 12 years I have had to hear how I don’t measure up, how I never do anything right. I haven’t Kissed my wife since we got married, she will turn away, Sex is forced and happens every couple of months if I push hard enough, and she puts a pillow over her own head and kicks me to hurry up. I try and hug her and she pulls away, even in front of the children. If I do get a hug in (forcefully), and I try to hug her later in the day, she will say “you already did that today”.

    having said all of that, I still love her…I’ve never loved any woman like I love her, but I just can’t take this emotional abuse anymore, its affecting my job and my well being.

    I am a very successful business man, well educated, and I provide for my family. I am not a bum!

    do you still think divorce is not the answer? I think it is, but I will never do it, because I love my children more than my own life.


    some food for thought: don’t make predisposed generalized statements like “divorce is for the immature”, because, let me tell you, there are circumstance that definitely warrant it.


    • Byron
      Byron says:

      Mark. You sound like me. I would fall on a sword for my children, and have. I have sacrificed the best years of my life for them and I do not regret it at all. But sometimes I do question the wisdom of chosing that path.

      Whatever you do. NEVER allow yourslef to loose sight of who and what you are in your heart of hearts for her. I did to the point where I was simply a lost soul. I had forgotten who Byron was deep down inside. That will never happen again, I will choose divorce if being myself is no longer good enough.

      May God bless you and your family.

  26. Frank
    Frank says:

    This article is garbage. It’s a blatant attempt, by a non-professional at trying to tie a provactive, google keyword friendly topic to a bloggin/career counseling biz. Shameful.

  27. Guitarist
    Guitarist says:

    Phenom wrote: “Studies of two-parent families have consistently found that when a couple’s relationship is characterized by unresolved conflict and unhappiness, ”

    Divorce does not resolve conflict. Divorce is an escalation of conflict. Divorce does not make people happy.

    Marriage and relationships require maintenance and work. Blaming the other person does not solve the problem.


  28. Scott
    Scott says:

    Fantastic article! such a relief to see you stand on true commitment and mature character.
    The behaviors described are exactly what my soon to be ex used. I feel trapped, the kids will be fine, I’ll be a better parent. i don’t think traditional marriage works.we’ll still be a great parenting team……blah blah blah…..a week after I move out, her new boyfriend is at the house on a daily basis. she is most definitely BPD.
    I admit that I needed to fix my faults and wanted to do what ever it took to build a better marriage but it was met with I don’t want to wait for you to fix it, I don’t want counseling. like it was all my fault. geez… it was treated like a high school break up after 16 years. I think your decision the continue to work on your marriage is an outstanding example and in sure you will flourish.

    Keep up the good work!

  29. Emma
    Emma says:

    The problem with your analysis, Penelope, is that you have presented yourself as an abuse victim when YOU are the primary abuser. You posted a sexualized picture of the bruise on your ass and then posted ‘You don’t know what I did to provoke this and I’m not going to tell you.’ And as you knew you would, you got an outpouring of support from good-hearted people who didn’t know the whole story.

    I’ve known abusive women and their capacity to manipulate. And I wouldn’t be surprised for a second if what you did to provoke that bruise was to lunge at your husband’s throat with a knife.

    And you rationalize your behavior by saying that it takes two people to fight, even though you are the abusive aggressor. You picked a man who is a really good guy who sees the best in you and desperately wants to believe that you will live up to what you ‘could’ be. But the more he enables you by putting up with your abuse, the more you’ll take advantage of him and justify it with your twisted rationalizations.

    Your personal responsibility boils down to facing that you abuse your husband, and that he is the victim, not you. If you can face that – face yourself – then that is your first step to actual growth.

  30. Byron
    Byron says:

    Some of the steryotypical generalizations and assumptions here are pretty aggravating. One thing that is abundantly clear to me on this subject is that no two situations are the same. Divorce is a very personal matter and I myself am guilty of being too judgmental about those I cared about who made that excruciating decision to go forward with a divorce. Sometimes the hurt never stops. I recently lost my father to emphysima. At one point in his life I told him, “its not OK to give up Dad”. But in the end the quality of his life was such that it had become unbearable to him. I, and the rest of my family knew that it was time to let him go.
    My 22nd Aniversary is coming up in a little over a month. I have fought the good fight, I have been an adult and been there for my children in spite of infidelity, financial hardship and a plethora of misery that a husband should never have to tollerate.
    I know I made a mistake when I said “I do”, and my older children now are begining to understand how the quality of their lives have been limited in so many ways because of this discord and lack of harmony.
    I my yet get divorced, I may not. But one thing I know for sure is that sometimes we find ourselves in situations that life was never meant to be like.

  31. Byron
    Byron says:

    Case in point, sometimes our quality of life is something that really MATTERS!! And judgemental people piss me off, PENELOPE!

  32. Karen
    Karen says:

    Wow, this post is so disrespectful. I am a woman who stayed married way longer than I should have because I didn’t want to “break up” the family. During that marriage, my daughters were learning that a man can be abusive and society/friends/other family members will do nothing to stop him. They learned that a woman cannot have a career unless the man says it is OK. They learned that it is OK for a man to behave however he wants to. I fully acknowledged that the divorce was hard for them. Instead of stigmatizing them, they BOTH KNOW they are survivors. One of the worst things that will ever happen to them has already happened and they survived. Both girls know how to set and maintain boundaries with others, even with 13-year-old girls bullies…something they never would have learned if I stayed married to their father. I did NOT want a divorce, but sometimes it is necessary to save a woman’s life. My girls are so much better off. It is not my job to make their lives easy or fulfill a fantasy of marriage. It is my job to help them survive and thrive, which I did ONLY because I had the courage to get a divorce.

  33. ittakesamantoadmitheiswrong
    ittakesamantoadmitheiswrong says:

    This is a great article! I wanted a divorce until a saw this article. GOD BLESS U FOR WRITING IT. I just got married to my wife about 4 months ago. we had been dating for 5 years. we were constantly fighting. I mean fighting like cats and dogs 24/7. she has 4 boys from a previous marriage. I have a grown married daughter that lives in the next state over. Together we have twin boys that are 3 years old. I told her 2 weeks ago that I wanted out of the marriage due to the stupid fighting. I know I hurt her deeply when I told her that this would never work. that we were 2 different people and when she suggested couples therapy. I told her no that no one at this point could help us. then in the midst of my self loathe and always wanting to be right. I decided to give us another try. Not because I have to but because I want to. I want to save my marriage because when I stood in front of my family and God I gave a promise. I owe it to myself and her kids and our own. I want to exhaust every option! I want to sit with her and really listen with my ears and heart not just nod. I want us to everyday really want to be in this together. I want to go to at least 2 therapists to get as many suggestions and options. I want to understand why my past bothers her…I want to get deep into her mind and my own. I pray and hope that every marriage in the world reconciles. I do not want to be like her parents and mine that were divorced. I want to be an example and not a statistic. I want to read all the self help books, articles about a good marriage. Divorce is costly, painful and really a cowards way out. My wife deserves a second chance and so do I. life is too short to be miserable…I will focus on the positive…I will choose to see the good in this relationship. She has kidney disease and the last thing I need is to run out on her when she is sick. I admit that I have been self righteous and very stubborn. I tend to only see my side and have a bad temper. As of today it will all change. hoping someone reads this comment and decides to reconcile. My prayers and hugs to all that want to STAY MARRIED!

  34. PennySP
    PennySP says:

    I CAN NOT believe she actually said the women who is being beat on by her husband should stay and change herself to make it stop!!! I was ok with some of of what was said until that and now I am going to find away to reach this ignorant women to tell her how her damaging her words could be to a women in this situation. The women being beat on is already being told it’s her fault he beat her black and blue as soon as he walked in the door after having a bad day. The kids watching this will be a lot more messed up then if the she took them and got a divorce!! For that one part of that artical she lost all credibility and respect. I’m am angered by her selfishness! She so selfishly wants what she wants she doesn’t care what she says and the damage it could cause. I can only imagine what she says to her kids about their dad!!! He must have left her and said she was crazy. I agree. I agree with her that he is negligent in living his kids with her

  35. Louise
    Louise says:

    The article is pretty dumb and doesn’t look at the whole picture. She’s obviously bitter that she couldn’t save her own marriage. It’s aimed at her ex. There are plenty of scenarios where divorce is okay. What if the couple weren’t suited and didn’t have children?

  36. educatedwoman@hotmail.com
    educatedwoman@hotmail.com says:

    I can’t believe the amazing way you went from sounding sorted and educated to sounding like a fool. To blame domestic violence on the victim is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read all day. To say that divorce is selfish and that everyone should just work it out sounds like you are speaking from your own regret. Try not to mix personal problems up with true intelligent writing. You’ve missed the mark entirely, and I feel truly sorry for the suffering women who might read your piece and decide, foolishly, to stay with an abuser, because of what you have said. Unbelievable.
    What you have written is shameful and sad.

  37. Freet
    Freet says:

    This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. Literally. How can someone who is divorced herself give such holier than thou advice on why everybody else should stick it out? More importantly, who tells someone in a high violence home to “set boundaries”. Like setting boundaries is going to stop someone from punching you in the face. Did you even think about what you were writing or were you just trying to write something that “sounds good.” I ask you, what kind of really good boundaries can you set that stops someone from beating you? I mean, come on, some of these women are in situations where the spouse beats them as soon as they walk in the door or for walking too loudly. In cases like these are the women supposed to spend all their time trying to find the triggers that set off his anger. You, madam, are giving dangerous and uneducated advice. Advice, by the way, that I would like to see you try out for yourself. I mean all you are doing is blaming the victim here. Also, I love when people quote the fact about educated people getting divorced less…This is true but the educated still have a 30% divorce rate. Just in case you are wondering, 30% is quite high. I don’t want to say horrible things about you but it is fairly obvious that you have no idea what life is like for people who really struggle.

  38. JHossage
    JHossage says:

    Married twenty years. Wife says she doesnt love me anymore and will never love me again. Incessantly on FaceBook with her special guy friend. Has shut me out cold. No dialog. Told me she will leave when our three boys are older. Last 5 years have been a sexless marriage. She cringes when I try to touch her. There is no abuse and we have a good family, nice job and home. She blames everything on me 100%.

    Why do I have to force my self to stay in such a situation? Especially when she doesn’t think part of this is her responsiblity and refuses any self exanimation or something for her to work on?

    How is it selfish for me to want to get away from this via a divorce? I don’t want a divorce however this isnt a life. So I am supposed to suffer like this until I die?

    What’s your point with all this? Even the bible allowed divorce. God himself divorced Israel and married the church.

  39. JHossage
    JHossage says:

    What do you do when one spouse changes, checks out of the marriage and nothing works to get it back? I am left with a prfound sense of heartbreak and lonliness on a daily basis. Hearing “I don’t love you” and even her telling that to the kids daily is soul crushing.

    How do you work it out when the other refuses any dialog and shuts you down. She only agrees to talk with me if it has to do with the kids. For everything else I get the silent treatment. And for the discussions about the kids she turns them into arguments.

  40. Angelina Farrell
    Angelina Farrell says:

    Divorce is a process in which both of the parties want to live separately just because of their disputes or stress. They even don’t realize that it would be a bad impact to the Children. To solve out this type of family disputes you should concern with the dispute resolution experts.
    Family Dispute can be solve through-
    1. Online Dispute Resolution
    2. Telephone Dispute Resolution
    3. Face-To-Face Dispute Resolution

    Even you don’t have to visit court, save your expenses and time and find out the best solutions.

  41. Margaret
    Margaret says:

    What are your credentials or education that gives you the right to say such things? Are you a licensed therapist or social worker? You have no idea how many people that may take your crap in this article and believe it do be true and become a train wreck because of your absolutes! Shame on you…I do not think this helpful–it is at the very least, damaging and hurtful to think we can not make a mistake and try to change and make a better life. You give no credit to the human spirit or soul that many of us had to save to get out of a marriage that we would have had to kill a part of ourselves and not go on to do greater things. Life is a journey, not a destination, as you so believe that marriage should be and tough luck you are stuck! Get a life and do not make such absolutes that can damage others that may believe what you say…sadden by such opinions that make it to mainstream.

    • Kennedy
      Kennedy says:

      Im not trying to be rude but it is impossible for kids. I feel like in in a living nightmare and hate everyone while being pulled every which way and can apparently handle everything thats thrown at me.

    • Sarah
      Sarah says:

      I second this comment! Kennedy it is not always impossible for kids- where the heck do you get your info?? It is not black & white. And by the way- you ARE rude

  42. Kennedy
    Kennedy says:

    Im sending this to my mom because I got the worst kind. It is really selfish and unfair for the kids. If you dont have kids, knock yourself out. But if you do, and you act like your a teenager and your the victim and you complain about it to your kids then you arent fit to be a parent and we shouldnt have to go through the hardest part of your decision if it wasnt our fault. Like really. Kids dont choose it and they have to go through the hardest part of it and listen to their parents whine about each other and how their life sucks when we were born into that family and didnt make that choice. We have to listen to them fight and complain and pull you every which way and fight over you and get depressed and feel unloved when you want to be with one more. I cant handle this going back and forth and asking what day your gonna be at their house and forcing you to come to their house and spend time with them when you have things to do and they get upset. I have my own problems with one of my friends right now and now you think i can take anything. Both my parents do online dating and my mom talks to guys in a discusting way and sends them pictures and she thinks we’re FINE?!?!?!? WHAT KIND OF PARENT ARE YOU?!? I can only be pulled temporarily. Now if this is PERMANENT?!? I FEEL LIKE IM BEING FORCED TO CHECK INTO A CRAPPY HOTEL FULL OF DRUG ADDICTS EVERYDAY!!! I feel like im dreaming. I dont know what to do. Im so mad at everyone and just wanna be alone for once without my literal living nightmare.

  43. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    You do not fully know what you are talking about in this blog. It is NOT always as simple as someone is purely ‘selfish’ & ‘immature’ that they instigate a divorce even if kids are in the picture. Sometimes it is absolutely the right decision for the health of all involved. How dare you say violence is almost always a 50/50 deal??! You sound like a judgmental, unreasonable person.
    If someone is in a direly unhappy situation & they have both done all the soul searching they can & either the couple has done all they can to try & rectify the situation or as is most often the case one partner is doing all the work & the other refuses to put forth any effort then it’s time to leave. You say divorce is always horrible for kids how about all the situs told where when the relationship between the parents was so unhealthy it was unhealthy for the kids?? It is NOT delusional to think that kids deserve/need happy parents- YOU are delusional! If it is clear the definite source of the unhappiness and unrest is the nature of the marriage & it’s clear nothing is going to change-it’s time to get out. And you need to shut your judgmental mouth & mind your own business.

    • C.A.
      C.A. says:

      THANK YOU for saying this. I have seen abusive relationships. I have seen where it is NOT 50/50. This person is EXTREMELY wrong and is a fool for shaming people who want to get out of those horrible situations.

      • Carol
        Carol says:

        I DISAGREE with people from so called ABUSIVE situations. You should KNOW the person 100% BEFORE you ever COMMIT to marriage and be able to WORK on your problems. I have NO sympathy for people that run to DIVORCE court these days for their own SELFISH reasons, GROW UP. Think for ONCE the damage that you are inflicting on your CHILDREN???

  44. Rhiana
    Rhiana says:

    Ok. How about when a parent is abusive to the kids too? How about the aging alcoholic who comes home and berated his wife and kids? I believe those are two reasons a divorce are necessary.

  45. Dewayne
    Dewayne says:

    I think 99% of all you morons attacking this blogger are idiots. You obviously are just biased in all your thinking. I’m sure that if someone was getting beat, abused, mistreated etc, obviously if nothing works absolutely, divorce.

    I’m quite positive she’s mainly talking about ANYONE WHO DIVORCES FOR SELFISH REASONS.. like say your new coworker is hot and hitting on you and you think “Wow, I can be like 19 again and fking start over”

    9/10 it is always an EXCUSE! To be selfish. THOSE kind of Divorces, are the ones in question. If a family is being beaten, I have no quarrels with a person who divorces from that. I was lied to, cheated on and divorced, leaving my 3 yo daughter in the mix of it and she is TERRIFIED now that when she leaves her visits, that she won’t see me again. Why? Because after divorce and loss of EVERYTHING (Businesses too) I became homeless for 5 months. Now I live 46 minutes away and it’s hard to get 50% of your time with a kiddo that’s in school and you can’t afford to drive 45 min’s twice a day just to get your daughter during the week.

    I never beat her, I never abused her or cheated. In fact, we were doing great and she was BRAGGING on our marriage up until the time she met her first cheating partner. Then it all became lame excuse / lie after another just so she could go run around like she was 19 again. She’s 30 and married a 19 yo. So go figure on that one.

  46. Lillu
    Lillu says:


    Marriage is life time contract with no way for divorce. I say this because
    1. You are in this together no matter what happens
    2. Children needs you and only you can understand them and nobody else has complete ability because each child is unique and parent has the special grace.for special child.
    3. No matter what except abuse cases should stay together for the sake of the children and you.
    4. You start noticing the fault of your partner when you lack love.
    5. Marriage will dry out if you don’t work it daily. Like flower who needs water everyday.
    6. When you get married make sure that you stop living for your self but for your family. Then you are ready for marriage.
    7. Mind when you have sex children are on they way which is your lifetime responsibility and yours only to make them happy and independent. Your responsibility is not only until age of 18 until they graduate from university.
    8. There is no excuse or blame for divorce on your partner except yours.
    9. You should wait until your partner agrees on whatever you want or plan to do.
    10. You are not no more alone in decisions.
    11. You are not superior or right all the time because there not such as absolute right.
    12. Work hard to make you marriage happy.
    13. Your husband or wife is not your mother or father. Don’t expect to help you in your career, have written plan for common profit and how you do it.
    14. Don’t be sure and expect that your partner understands you or knows what you know or believea what you believe until you see it .
    15. Marriage is the only way to keep human lineage on earth otherwise we disappear!!! Or grow older with no one to take care of us.

  47. Carol
    Carol says:

    Divorce is DESTROYING society and its DISGUSTS me. I’m at the point now with my two kids that I won’t even allow kids from DIVORCED families to play because so many of the have serious problems. Parents need to go back to the Old ways of doing things and WORK on solving their marital problems and STOP the epidemic of DIVORCE.

    • Jenny
      Jenny says:

      Maybe it is not the divorce that is destroying those kids but the things that happened to them before the divorce living in an unhealthy home. I am guessing you are a religious person. Look deeper. And those kids might actually get better in time if people loved and accepted them instead of disowned them like you do, for something out of there control.

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