There is no doubt that the relationship in the book is doomed. Of course both characters are flawed and have emotional baggage and issues, but don't we all. Yet the fate of their situation is easy for me to see. Nothing mysterious is going on, they are not struggling with tough decisions--it is just OVER.
It is rarely like this is real life.
We stay and fight and try and work on situations that may be salvageable, but how do we know when to actually end it?
Certain people say short of physical abuse, you should stay. You are married after all, and that is supposed to be forever. And of course if children are involved that is a whole different story. Here is a paragraph from an article by Jayna Solinger:
Generally, it is better for children to suffer a bad marriage than to cope with divorce. According to University of Michigan psychologist and divorce expert Neil Kalter, the misery of an unhappy marriage is less significant than the changes after a divorce. The children would rather their parents keep fighting and not get divorced (Marriage 64). Although this does not seem logical, it shows that children want their parents together at all costs. Also, contrary to popular belief, the alternative to most divorces is not life in a war zone (Zinmeister 30). In the vast number of divorces there is no strife or violence that could ruin a person’s childhood; the divorce is usually driven by a quest for "greener grass." These divorces almost always make the child worse off and create a number of unnecessary problems for the child. If parents would concentrate harder on working conflicts out rather than their own personal happiness, the children would be much better off.
While I do agree that parents should try and be their best for their kids, this paragraph makes me feel the child would learn that he is stuck once he is in a terrible situation. That is not a message I would want to send my children.
On the other side of the coin, leaving might NOT be the worst thing:
Divorce, however, is not always a terrible thing. In a few given situations it proves to be for the best. The two situations that may prove beneficial for a person to get a divorce are abusive relationships and infidelity. When one parent is abusive, whether verbal, physical, or sexual, to the children, it is more beneficial to the child if the parent leaves (Huffman 4). Also, if one spouse is beating the other, the marriage should be ended. If a child watches his/her parent get beaten his entire life, he/she could think that it is fine to act this way or severely resent the parent for staying.
And so, the quandary.
How is one supposed to know what path is the better? Hindsight here, as always, is 20/20, and we will never know the results of our decisions until years in the future.
I remember reading a little book called Life Advice from 4 to 104. Little kids gave advice about how to hide bad tasting vegetables in your milk, teens advised how to sneak in after curfew. A man of 92 said the biggest decision with the most consequences you will ever make in your life is the person you choose as a mate. When I read it I was younger and did not understand the implications.
I get it now.
Day 64 of 100 Unfortunate Days
How can you tell when you should leave someone? Is emotional neglect enough? How about being called a c**t, or having your grammar corrected in front of friends and family, or having your antique furniture you were saving from your family be put on the curb for trash pick-up? Or being told you were being ‘trained’ after your newlywed husband refused to talk to you for a month? Maybe being told you were not really sick but looking for attention when you had pneumonia? But on the other side of the coin, what if you have not worked in 15 years and this same man supported you and gave you everything you could ever need. Vacations and diamonds. A perfect house in one of the best neighborhoods and school systems in the
. So am I a hooker? Does that actually make me a prostitute? Should I have left my honeymoon when he told me wasn’t speaking to me because he “realized what he had gotten himself into” by marrying me—and he did not like the way I packed? Can you really stay married to someone and feel that they are an asshole half the time? He thinks I am a waste of space and wonders if my father is disappointed with me because I am such an underachiever. How I am wasting my God-given talents? Can a person like you—or love you—and not talk to you? How many times can you try to talk to someone, or go to therapy, or read books to help salvage an emotionally ridiculous relationship? Can you stay in the relationship and retain your dignity and not have people think that you are a doormat? United States