Lessons From My Divorce

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5 mins read

Editor’s Note: Our friend, The Gentleman Adventurer, Adam Piggott, opens up about his personal trauma. We appreciate him sharing this with us, and hope that anyone who might be going through this sort of experience can find some value and possibly comfort in his words. Read his other works at his site.
It’s been ten months since my now ex-wife nuked our marriage into orbit because feelings. I now feel capable of writing about the lessons that I have learnt over this time. I write this purely as a future reference for readers who unfortunately find themselves in the same situation as I did. To clarify, there will be no personal details about what happened as that is private and apart from me only one other person on this earth knows the real truth.
Let us begin.
First of all, there is nothing worse that you will go through. I have been through personal chronic illness, deaths of close friends and family, job losses and natural disasters.
They were all child’s play in comparison to a divorce initiated by your other half.
I dread to think what I might have done had I not spent a good 30 years making a man of myself. That monumental effort got me through the last ten months. That and that alone.
You will not want advice in this period. You will not want to talk to anybody after the initial shock. I spent the first couple of days calling everyone I knew and after that I clammed up. Because nobody else understands, even if they have been through it themselves. It is your own personal misery and it is deeply troubling. One thing that I have really learnt going through this process is that I will not give any advice in the future to anyone going through a divorce. I will listen, but I will not give advice. The advice is here if you want to read it. Consider this advice to be hard won.
You do not know anybody.
You may think that you know your wife but you do not. In fact, you know nobody else on the planet. There are only two entities that you truly do know – yourself and Jesus Christ. Everyone else is a mystery. For many people they do not even know themselves. I know myself because I have spent my life being continually tested. The realisation that you are truly alone in this world is quite frankly horrifying. The Church exists for a very good reason.
Do the opposite of what your instincts tell you.
You are not Clint Eastwood or Sean Connery so in the emotional turmoil of a divorce thrust upon you, your emotional decisions will be incorrect. Do not plead. Do not attempt to reason. Do not attempt to rationalise the situation with her. Do not attempt to find common ground. There is no common ground when she nukes your marriage. She has betrayed your trust. So do not attempt to get her back. It matters not all of the moments that you passed together. Remember, women rationalise their behavior and they can rationalise anything.
Let her try to get you back.
In other words, you need to turn the tables on her. Ideally you need to do this before she nukes your marriage. I knew what was happening months before but I chose not to see because the reality was too awful. You will know by her tone of voice alone, by her reaction to things that you do. Your personal quirk that made her smile and laugh when she was into you will cause her to frown and view you with contempt when things are going sour. I had plenty of warning as will you. Do not ignore the warnings. Instead, turn the tables on her and initiate the breakup yourself.
This takes a supreme level of willpower and ability to play it with a straight face. By initiating the breakup you remove her power play completely which will cause her immense confusion. Throw her out and then do not talk to her for at least a month. No contact, and if you do have any contact then act as if nothing has really happened. Be aloof, be uncaring, be the exact opposite of what your inner emotions are screaming at you to do.
This is the only real chance that you will have.
If you are reading this and she has already pulled the plug then you have a very small window of opportunity before her heart completely hardens to the ice cold stone that it will most certainly become. Once she initiates the divorce you must attempt to turn the tables by the same method of cutting off all contact for at least a month and acting as if you don’t care either way when you eventually see her. Even then I give you at best a 10% shot but the other option is a 100% screwed option so what do you have to lose?
After 4 weeks have passed you can initiate contact. But you must be completely indifferent when you see her. Do not talk on the phone. Send a very brief text to meet up and then cancel a couple of hours beforehand. Do not apologise for canceling, no explanations are required because you are indifferent, remember?
The more that you try to get her back, the more she will be convinced that her original decision was the correct one.
If none of this works, if it is indeed all over, then go full thermonuclear war and salt the ground behind you. Be merciless because she is going to be merciless to you. Do not let tears or emotional games deter you from your thermonuclear path. Get as much as you can from the marriage and then get some more if you can. Transfer funds, lock off access to resources, do whatever you have to do and if you can’t then just burn it down in whatever way you can get away with legally.
If you have kids then know that she will use them against you in whatever way that she can. I do not have kids but my parents divorced when I was 12 so I speak from bitter experience here. My father did a lot of things wrong but how he dealt with his two sons after the divorce was one of the most courageous things that I have ever seen. He knew that their mother was doing her very best to poison the minds of his sons against him so he did nothing to counter her. He did not say a single bad word about her. He did not attempt once to defend himself because he knew that any attempt to do so would play directly into her hands.
All he could do was wait and hope that his sons would one day realise the truth. My brother was 9 when the divorce played out. My dad had to wait until my brother was 26 before he got the phone call that my brother wanted to talk. That takes a lot of patience and courage as well as the willingness to know that the phone call may never ever come.
In other words, walk away. It’s over, don’t fucking embarrass yourself.
One other thing – you don’t take her back after the fact. By divorcing you she demonstrated a total lack of honor, and honor is the most important personal asset that a woman must have for her man. The number one asset that a man must possess for a woman is personal strength, which is why my advice for halting the divorce is correct – it displays strength. But no honor means no honor, period. Once dishonorable then always so. Which is the real tragedy.

7 Comments

  1. interesting that Jesus is mentioned but nothing about repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation. Yes the last two are referenced but as a “never, ever…”. are those things just sure signs of weak-mindedness?

  2. Adam, all that sounds very familiar.
    Good advice, too.
    I lost a year of my life, it seemed, and a good dog.
    Hang in there!
    20 years later I’ve got a great wife and 3 fine kids.
    My ex is miserable. Sad!

  3. Thank you for sharing this.
    Forgiveness in a situation like this is two fold: 1) You are forgiving the act of what has happened to you and yours, and 2) You are forgiving the promised future that was built on trust and promises betrayed.
    Reconciliation is possible in some situations, but we cannot force it on the other person. They have to choose it.
    Repentance can be achieved, the broken trust rebuilt, but there will always be a spectre left, something always left at the corner of your vision, the unbidden worrying thought.
    I could read and feel the hurt that Adam is still feeling at the time he wrote this. And he is not alone in his pain or path as it is shared by many.
    I too am beginning my own path through this as well. 25 plus years of marriage being flushed down the drain. Five children being affected, plus extended family, friends, etc. The unintended consequences from what my wife is seeking for her own reasons have not been thought through by her (or have they?).
    Divorce IS public, but the pain is very private. There are choices to be made going forward. I know what my choices are.

  4. My approach is the opposite, tbh. Everything.material I have worked for is in her name. If after 3+ decades she walks, fine. I don’t need the stuff and know how to earn as much as I need to feed myself. Plus I have this God who will meet my needs, you know?
    Divorce is tragic though perhaps unavoidable. Even between Christians where it should never be named, our churches create euphemisms like annulment because it exists anyway. We cannot live up to our Lord’s commandments. That’s life in a broken universe.
    I don’t pretend to know that pain. I’ve never suffered it. But I would rather lose everything material, which I’ll be leaving behind in 3 decades at most anyway, than to have violated God’s command to love my wife and not be embittered against her. This advice is a crash course in embitterment.
    Call that cuckish if you like, idgaf. Maybe 33 years of marriage and 9 kids shows I don’t know shit about marriage. But this idea that we should preemptively punish others rather than voluntarily suffer wrong in human relationships is devilish.
    It’s ok to take the loss sometimes. Even and maybe especially when it is manifestly unfair. We must still play by God’s rules. For the game is bigger than we are playing on earth.

  5. El Borak, my approach and conclusions are more like yours, but we did not have any young children left in the house. I cannot say I know exactly how Adam feels, or that I went through the same thing, but I’m sure we share some common pain, anger, and grief. I could never offer advice, counsel, or judgement to another man in this situation unless he begged for it, and maybe not even then.
    You can never move on, but you can move forward to something better than today. Anger or impatience rarely provide motivation in the right direction.
    I considered “salting the earth” several times, and have ample opportunity to do so now, but she has never taken advantage of my weakness, love, or generosity, so for now, even after several years, I have not closed any door to reconciliation. Should she decide to return to the marriage I would make an honest effort at accommodating her choice, and I don’t even particularly want to be around the woman any more.
    My Orthodox Christian faith makes the prospect of a second marriage to someone else while staying an honest, diligent participant in the life of The Church nearly impossible due to circumstantial details I will not share here. Marriage is considered one of the sacraments and I answer to others for my participation in it.
    I have suffered much in this life from others who have never really cared about or for me, so I have concluded that whatever I may suffer from now until I die I will do so purposely with whatever joy God may grant me for anyone I consider family. If I can’t do that for family, how do I have any hope of answering the call of Christ Jesus to “love your enemies”? Besides, I have nothing else to accomplish in this life except to die an honorable death.

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