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When it’s not your choice

Some people are faced with a divorce against their wishes — it’s what their spouse wants. Bill and Mary had been married for twelve years when Mary first told Bill she had been thinking about a divorce.  He was stunned.  She had taken him totally by surprise.  They’d been through a lot together and Bill was certain they could weather anything.  When he asked why she wanted a divorce she wasn’t specific.  All she could say was that it was a cumulative discontent and an unwillingness to carry on any longer.

Bill frantically suggested marriage counseling.  Mary agreed to see a counselor referred by a mutual friend.  They attended several sessions together, but the results were negligible.  The counselor urged Bill to make some decisions about his life, but Bill found himself unable to respond to the advice.  He was unwilling to admit it even to himself, but he was afraid that if he took the advice, it would only anger Mary and drive her further away.  Mary grew more frustrated.

The couple had two children, an eleven year old boy and a seven year old girl.  They were only vaguely aware of what was happening between their parents.  Bill was so upset that he was able to give little thought to them.  Mary, aware that her husband was stuck in indecisiveness, was thinking overtime about both herself and her children.  She decided to get reinforcements.  That meant a move to another state to be closer to family, and one old friend in particular, a single man she had met when she was working to help put Bill through school during the early years of their marriage.

Convincing Bill to move was not so difficult.  His whole strategy was to do anything to placate Mary.  Give her what she wants, he thought, and maybe she’ll drop her demand for a divorce.

And so, against his better judgment, Bill agreed to move with Mary.  Once they had relocated, the whole plan blew up in Bill’s face.  Mary made contact with her old friend, and announced to Bill that she still wanted a divorce.  His desperation grew and his vision only got narrower.  More than a year had passed since her first announcemnet.  By now there seemed no choice but to acquiesce to her wishes.  Besides, under the law, she could have a divorce, whether he wanted one or not.

To be continued…

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