This is not the beginning of an erotic story; rather it is a how-to guide to maturely ending a relationship.
My old high school buddy had been married for 20 years. At the time of their coming together, he was a med student with out of control spending and lifestyle habits and was, as was apparent to all of his friends, looking for a wife who would exercise a motherly influence to get some of his excesses under control He found her – a fellow doctor, a powerful women and all around pretty good person/battle ax.
I was rarely in touch with them, but through him I knew enough of their relationship to not be surprised when I got an email last month saying they were separating. I was more surprised when she called and said she would be in my town and asked if we could meet for drinks. I have a legal background that, I think, raised my antenna and worries about why she would be reaching out after so long (I had not seen her in at least 15 years).
I needn’t have been worried. She laid out their history. The years went, they had kids, and he grew up. He no longer needed a mother figure and she no longer needed a child. He tried to have a relationship of equals with her, but it had no spark. She tried to stop being his mother and become his lover, but the patterns were too deep.
So they decided on divorce. And this is what impresses me. When he told me they were divorcing, I worried it would be really messy. As much as I like him, he can be immature (and selfish) and she can be unbelievably selfish and has little sense of empathy. I really saw a train wreck coming.
I could not have been more wrong. Here is how they handled things
Decision 1: no lawyers. They hired a mediator and said they would live by whatever terms this mediator came up with
Decision 2: Children would come first – no matter what they said they would take advice on what was in the kids best interest and they would do that, even if it was not ideally what each of them would have wanted
Decision 3: Someone else would make decisions on asset sharing – their finances were messy and despite huge incomes they had some pretty signifiant debts. They agreed that the mediator would decide the best way to split the assets and debts and they would live with the outcome
Decision 4: Only look forward – they decided they would support one another in betting on with their respective lives. They would understand the need to date (she helped him set up a match.com profile) and they would support one another in helping the other find happiness. They also decided that, really, their relationship had ended years ago, so they should each feel free to begin dating immediately.
Decision 5: Once a month, they use the money they saved on lawyers to go out for a nice dinner and discuss the kids.
No one hopes for a divorce, but sometimes they are for the best. If you need to go there, I thought they provided a pretty mature roadmap