How Can You End a Marriage That Never Was


How Can You End a Marriage That Never Was
Many divorcing couples are under the illusion they had a real marriage. I propose this is false.

My particular interest in this perspective comes from being around many couples who choose the often painful path of divorce when in truth they had never showed up to create a “marriage” in the first place. As a result they are getting out of something that they were never in. They were only living under the illusion of being in a marriage in hopes that the other will fulfill their favored images and needs. When this illusion crumples in anxious disappointment, they both run for the divorce path so that they move on to another fantasy. Ultimately, without the commitment to creating a WE, all of these efforts which partners expend will only be self-serving.

As part of my work as a divorce coach in the Coalition for Collaborative Divorce, I do not want couples to end whatever they have had together based on the false premise that they were in a real marriage. I would rather hear them admit, however difficult it may be, that they were never committed to creating a real WE from the beginning and that their marriage was merely an image. From this equally humble place in which no one is to blame, they can have a chance to start over and choose to have a marriage in the true sense of the word. If after a period of attempting to support a WE relationship they still determine that they are not able to realize a shared vision, I support their desire to end it. At that point I would gladly participate in assisting them in resolving their divorce with humility, dignity, and no false illusions.

This article was originally published at The Relationship Doctor Bruce Derman. Reprinted with permission.
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Doctor Bruce Derman


Bruce Derman, Ph.D.

The great thing about my books is they provide you with a core understanding of relationship based on my 43 years of being a psychotherapist. They teach you how to move through your impasses without spending countless hours in therapy with the wrong therapist.                         

Location: Woodland Hills, CA
Credentials: PhD
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