Dr. Bakelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Divorce


Divorce is tough.  Want a good reason to get divorced?  You’re already thinking about it.  Want a shitty reason to not get divorced?  Because divorce is tough.  I mean, is that ever a good reason to not do something?  Getting in shape sucks, but everyone from your doctor to your villainous mirror will encourage you about that diet and getting on that treadmill, because the end result is worth it.  You want to look good and feel healthy just like you want to be in love and not feel miserable.  So buck up sport, and stay positive.  You got over the fear of marrying someone, you sure as hell can get over the fear of getting rid of them.  Yes, it’s going to suck, you’re going to go broke, and if you have kids they’ll probably hate you both for a good long while.  But can you put a price on not having to listen to that awful bitch one more night? To not have to sleep in the same bed as that no good cheating bastard ever again?

You can always leave, legal contract or not.  Admittedly this applies more to the couples not dumb enough to have not yet blessed with children.  But just because you spent a ton of money (ring, dress, creepy DJ) and had big plans (kids, house, swingers conventions) doesn’t mean that your decision is set in stone.  There are such things as sunk costs in marriage.  Which of course makes the whole until death due us part thing quite ridiculous.  If you love someone forever, great, you made a good choice in life.  Congrats.  But it doesn’t have to be that way, and, uh, it’s often terrible (investing in Segways, going for that second burrito, trusting that girl with those “lip pimples”).  You don’t have to take the rest of your bad decisions with you to your grave (well maybe the lip pimples), why doesn’t that apply to those decisions made in relation to matrimony?  I mean, who said you can’t get divorced?  Your parents?  Fuck em, they’ve hated each other for 30 years.  Your friends?  They’d support you in anything less than murder if you would just stop crying about your awful spouse who, if they’re being honest, they probably never liked anyway.  God? Well, cut people some slack, God.  Not everyone is smart as you.  Plus you’re ultimately responsible for creating cancer, the Kardashians, and country music, so don’t act like you haven’t done some things that you regret there buddy.

Everyone makes bad decisions.  Especially the younger versions of everyone that committed to marriage when they didn’t know shit about anything, let alone never-ending relationships. We’re a few years removed from regularly pissing outside, needing cards games and pong balls to dictate our drinking, and thinking philosophy classes weren’t a total waste of time.  And suddenly people were making solid life decisions?  I often lament the fact that we have to make decisions about our career paths when we’re too young to really understand what it all means.  For example, when a nineteen year old declares they are getting a degree in art history and has no idea just how fucked they are for at least a few more years.  If I only knew how little 30 grand was back then…alright now that I just sighed for an hour and a half, let’s move along… why is this not the same for people in their love lives?  When people get married right after high school sometimes people will be given some slack, but clearly not everyone learns about love on the same path, or during the same time frame.  You could be 18 or 38, you can still make really shitty decisions on who you think is a good candidate to spend THE REST OF YOUR LIFE with.  When you realize you’re not going to be a fucking museum curator and go back to school, you get applauded.  But marry the wrong person, or at the wrong time, and people want to give you the Scarlet “D”?  You can’t call no takes back on someone else’s marriage.  Dick.

Even if you make a good decision at the time, people change, man, people change.  If I buy a car because every report at the time says it’s reliable, drives smoothly, and will retain its value, you can’t call me an idiot 5 years later when the transmission goes, or even 2 years later when something is recalled.  You can’t predict the future, cliché be damned.  You can only make the best judgment based on the facts at the time.  If I marry a girl because every report says she’s reliable, drives smooth, and will retain…umm… you get the point.  At 21, he wanted kids, was studying to be a lawyer, and loved having a good time.  Now he’s content with his dog, his job at Applebees, and Saturday nights at home streaming Mad Men. Maybe that’s not enough to get divorced.  But if you can’t pull him away from watching Don Draper drink another old-fashioned to pull your hair a little and give you an old fashioned trip to fuck city, maybe you’ve got something.  If you’re convinced that everyday together will be another exercise in Netflix numbing on your way to 40, maybe it’s okay to consider the D word. (DRAPER?!) And maybe your partner in marital stupidity isn’t at fault, maybe you’re the one who has changed.  Well, fuck you, you sell out/traitor/cheater/bitch/grown up/human being just like everyone else.  No one deserves to stay in a miserable marriage, even if they share the guilt in why it’s miserable in the first place.  And you will share some guilt, because you’re a fucking idiot too.  We all are, let’s accept it together.  Just get divorced already before you end up blowing a waiter.  No disrespect to waiters, but, come on.  Now a bartender…maybe one that can make a nice old-fashioned… I don’t know what I’m saying.

But people don’t just stay in marriages because it’s tough to admit they’ve changed, or because they still love their increasingly doughy and ambition-less partner.  They stay because the legal system is a joke and they’re afraid to end up so broke that they’re back living in their parents basement.  Yeah, you don’t want to fit that stereotype; the guy who golfs all the time because they can’t stand to be home with their wife fits you better.  Everyone knows it’s lousy to marry for money, but to stay married for money is okay?  The miserable married will tell me that I’m naive, but I know marriage won’t be all sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops.  Why am I the delusional one for questioning the motives of the people who have nothing but contempt for the person they share a bed with and aren’t even having angry sex in the deal?  Get fucking divorced and find another recent divorcee to shack up with; there should be enough anger to bring the shack down with the earth shattering sex that you two will have.  Just do it before you get so old that you’re regularly using phrases like shack up.

I read this (and by read I mean clicked through the slide show because we’re all illiterate and too busy taking “Which Mrs. Doubtfire Dinosaur Are you!?” quizzes) while trying to grasp why shitty married couples stay together.  I think I can help.  Scared of being on their own and/or lonely? Cats and dogs.  Guilt over leaving the other person?  Think of the worst thing they ever did to you.  If you’re too embarrassed to admit it to your family, then you have nothing to feel bad about.  They deserve to be left behind.  Probably worse.  Too old to walk away?  My 4 foot tall Nana found a boyfriend in her 70s.  You have your youth.  And the internet.  Don’t let my Nana be cooler than you.  Selling the house/Financial Stability? Divorce and marry a Doctor.  Stay together for the kids?  No one wants to see you fight.  Or passive aggressively criticize everything about your partner from the increasing size of their gut to their decreasing size of their savings account.  Can we try divorce amicably for the kids as the new slogan?

Of course some people stay together because there is hope for improvement.  But is this grounded in something real or is this like the hope that Art History degree is really going to help pay back those students loans?  The saddest is the fear of regret.  Even though we all know fear is a terrible reason not to make changes.  I think the most honest reason given was “No Courage”.  There it is, you’re the Lion.  But if you stay married unhappily ever after you become the the Tin Man and Straw Man too.  No brains, no heart, just the comfort of patronizing messages from anyone that you express your true feelings to.  “Marriages are hard”, “You need to work through these problems together”, “Have you tried Couples Counseling?”.  They’re just meaningless phrases that allow you to say something while really saying nothing, and avoiding the the truth that you need to hear.  Next time someone confides in you about their failing marriage, save them the bullshit and tell them about this great thing called divorce.  And tell them no one with half a brain, or half a heart, or an ounce of courage will judge them for going through with it.



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