Good friends of mine have just separated. Twenty two years of marriage, four kids.
They dated in high school and accidentally got pregnant the year she graduated high school and he was in his second year of university. Even with the baby, he went on to finish his undergraduate degree and get a masters. After graduation they quickly had two more kids, and as those started to get a bit older they adopted a fourth.
They are very, very different people. He is immersed in his work which requires a lot of evening work and travel. While he’s a super smart and interesting guy he’s not very in touch with his feelings and terrible at talking about anything related to his feelings of relationships. She is a sweetheart… emotional, caring, very open with her feelings.
Despite their differences, they parented very well and had a lot of good times. Some bad ones too, but lots of good vacations, fun nights out with other couples, and a lot of individual satisfaction in how they grew over the years.
But.. last week they abruptly called it quits. He found out she had been having an affair (she was lonely) and he moved out the day he found out (he kind of wanted out anyway).
At one level this seems sad. On another.. and maybe the level I choose to focus on… it’s not so sad. They had a really good relationship and raised 4 great kids. They did is against all odd… dating from a young age, virtually no experience with anyone else and teen parenthood. But, to any of us who considered both of them friends, there was a very strong sense that – really – they would be happier apart. She would be better with a caring guy who was around more. He would be better sowing some wild oats he never got to sow as a young adult and with a partner who was a little less in need of attention.
As a good friend of mine said the day after they broke up.. can’t we celebrate this as a fantastic 22 year success… despite all odds they had a good 22 year relationship. Cheers to a successful relationship.