Orphanages, jungles and spiritual retreats across the world are rife with 40-something divorcees hoping to find the purpose of their existence in tomorrow morning’s yoga class or barn-raising.
Feminists might call this liberation. 50 years ago divorce was a far bigger taboo than it is now. Very few women were brave enough, or financially independent enough, to pack their bags and leave a safe and secure marriage for bigger things.
Today, 70% of all divorces are instigated by women. Lucy Valentine, 46, is one of them. 6 years ago, she made the decision to leave her beautiful Victorian house, successful career and loving husband forever. She bought a Harley Davidson and rode it across Australia and New Zealand, taught English in Costa Rica and China, worked in a Zambian orphanage and trekked across Siberia and Mongolia. Today, she runs a travel agency and splits her time between Spain and England. The husband she left behind is now remarried with a baby.
Lucy says: “I still believe in marriage. I didn’t leave mine lightly and many times I have wondered if I did the right thing. There have been nights when I’ve ended up sobbing, thinking ‘What am I doing in a strange country with no job, no husband, no friends, no home?’ But through quitting the conventional path I discovered who I really am.”
Andrew G Marshall, relationship counsellor and author of self-help book I Love You, I’m Just Not In Love With You, has noticed a change in trend over the years. Couples no longer hate each other for big things like affairs- they simply ‘fall out of love’. They no longer feel anything for each other.
Marshal blames romantic comedies for our high expectations regarding romance. The idea of a ‘soul-mate’ or ‘The One’ or ‘Mr. Right’ makes us difficult to satisfy- men and women alike. The counsellor maintains that most of the issues couples face today could be rectified with a bit more effort.
All relationships require persistence and hard-work. Andrew G. Marshall describes this new willingness to run at the first sign of trouble as “a shocking indictment of our narcissism”.
An unhappy marriage can be difficult to deal with, especially when it affects other areas of life. If you would like to talk to a counsellor about your marriage or relationship, please visit the Counselling Directory homepage and use the search tool.
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