When a couple separates, even if it looks like it happened quickly, it’s usually been a long time coming.
For me, it was one of those things that happened gradually – then all at once.
Now, I can see what went wrong. At the time, I thought they were just the normal ups and downs couples inevitably go through.
I took comfort from a girlfriend’s somewhat dark humour: “If you’ve been married 10 years and haven’t at some point wanted to set your partner on fire, then you’d better check whether you both have a pulse”.
But a big hint for me was when I heard about other couples splitting – and felt envious. I wanted to be free, like them. I felt trapped in a series of circular arguments that felt like they would never abate.
We talk all things good divorce on Just Between Us:
It wasn’t so much what we fought over but the way we fought that caused our ultimate demise. There wasn’t any cheating or lying. It would often start small – but it was constant. We fought about what I saw as his inability to self-regulate his emotions. He found me too sensitive, I found him too aggressive, we couldn’t meet in the middle. He liked to rant and rave and move on, I felt so wounded by his behavior that I struggled to let it go.
When the situation became tense and volatile, we couldn’t consider the other person’s needs.
There are a standard list of things couples fight about: money, how to raise kids, housework. But what no one tells you is that after you separate, you continue to fight over many of the same issues.
Money is still a big one - even more so, as you no longer have the buffer of coupledom. Now it's everyone for themselves.