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Divorce: That Line in the Sand

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2014 | Divorce

Some people consult with a divorce lawyer when they know they’ve had enough. They’re done.  That train has left the station. 

Other people seek out a divorce lawyer, not because they are certain they want out, but because they aren’t, they just not sure. 

They have strong misgivings about their relationship, but they just aren’t yet ready to pull the plug, to untie the knot, to begin that new chapter in their lives.

They tell me what lead them to our meeting:

“She’s spent us into bankruptcy, again.”

“He hasn’t said a civil word to me in years.”

“The children are grown and out of the house. Now we just look at each other with no idea why we are still together.”

He says he doesn’t love me anymore.  He’s seeing someone else.”

Everyone has a different comfort level.  Everyone has a different tolerance for pain.  There is no universal right answer for when to stay and when to leave.

When someone shares facts with me that has been justification enough with hundreds of previous clients, but for them is not reason enough to say sayonara to this marriage, I usually propose this resolution:

If this conduct, expression, situation, which troubles you isn’t enough to call it a day, then, in your quietest, most calm and rational moments, decide what would be enough. Identify it.  Quantify it. Cast it in stone. That is your line in the sand. That is the place that you will not allow, that your relationship may not go. That is where you have already identified that you have gone far enough. 

Should that line ever be crossed, you will have already answered the question of how much is enough.  That much, you have already decided, is enough.

This way, you are operating from a place of mindfulness.  You take your fleeting feelings out of the equation.  Your ever changing feelings may tell you to flee when you should stay and may tell you to stay when you should flee.  But, if you answer the question before you are faced with the occasion, you will know, with certainty, what to do when that occasion arises.

And that, then, is the rest of the equation.  When you have identified your line in the sand, you must make yourself a solemn oath to abide by it.  No equivocation.  This program only works if you honor the convictions of your calmer, more sensible, less pressured self.  

You decide.  But then, you execute.

For over 25 years of practicing law, this program works flawlessly.  When you know your boundaries and you promise to honor them, life already gets better.

May it be so.

Michael Manely