At a certain point, my wife and I knew that our marriage was over. We had been together for about 20 years, and we both had changed significantly in that time. Six careers and two kids later, we had become different people than we were when we met. Sometimes things don’t work out.
My wife and I had figured out a way to civilly separate ourselves from one another. We lived more as roommates that took care of children for a while. Even though it wasn’t an optimal arrangement, we wanted to disrupt the lives of our kids as little as was possible. We slept in separate bedrooms for almost five years. Our kids became comfortable with this quicker than we had anticipated, but I guess I Love Lucy and The Brady Bunch did a pretty good job of making that seem normal. Slowly as our children grew more into their teenage years, my wife and I stopped associating with each other as much. We stopped attending all meals together, and we had less family dinners as a whole. My wife and I also started to do things with our children, but without each other. I think that this was instrumental in helping our children eventually understand that we had to separate, and that it was not about how much either of us loved or kids.
Our daughter was already in college and our son was a junior in high school when we finally decided to call it quits. At that time, we had already been living in the semi-separated arrangement that I described previously.
However, we did both make sure to get a lawyer. Even though we were able to use a relatively painless mediation process, our attorneys also made sure that neither of us treated the other unfairly. In my opinion, this is the most important component of divorce: representation. Make sure you get a lawyer as soon as possible when you find yourself splitting from your spouse. It’s the best thing that you can do in a situation that is trying for anyone.