My marriage had been in difficulties for years when we finally went our separate ways. It still came as a shock to many.


Why? Because admitting your marriage isn’t working remains mired in shame. It is something to be hidden behind closed doors, meaning when you start to talk about getting a divorce, you’re pretty much guaranteed to elicit a variation on one response, regardless of how you feel about the matter. “I’m so sorry,” people sigh, tilting their heads in pity.


Divorce, after all, is bad. The yin to marriage’s cheerful yang. The opposite of happy. "Can you try again?", people ask, assuming a bit of effort will make things right. "Have you considered counselling?" they probe, as though it were a panacea. What they’ll never say is “Yay, good for you, you’ll be so much happier.” Because while it might feel like a positive decision, wider society will leave you in no doubt that divorce isn’t just a last resort, it is very much a failing.


And yet, so many of the happiest women I know, myself included, have found themselves thriving after a split. Could it be that the picture is a lot more nuanced than our societal recognition of it suggests?


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