Hit & Run Divorce: The Worst Way to Travel

by Betsy Ross LICSW CGP on February 22, 2011

What’s worse than a couple constantly arguing their way to a final separation? The Hit & Run – the one that you never see coming.

Susan Pease Gadoua discusses the ‘Hit and Run Divorce’ in her HuffPost article How Not to Tell Your Spouse You Want Out Of The Marriage.¬†¬†This occurs when one spouse, seemingly out of the blue, informs the other spouse that they want a divorce. The shock and surprise can be overwhelming as the hit and run spouse has previously said nothing about their dissatisfaction in the marriage and simply chooses to announce that they are leaving. It’s quick, shocking, and unexpected. And it can feel deadly, like your marriage has just been the victim of a drive by shooting!

Why isn’t this an acceptable way to handle the end of your marriage? Gadoua’s excellent post includes many arguments that ‘hit and run’ divorcees use to justify their bad behavior. But, we think the biggest reason not to engage in what we call a drive by divorce, is this: It isn’t really possible for a marriage to fail because of only one person, it always, always takes two. Since 75% of all divorced people re-marry (half of them within three years) what chance does a drive by divorcee have to make their second try at marriage work if they never learned what they did or didn’t do to mess up marriage number one? (Life has a way of repeating itself unless actions are taken to prevent it.)

What you can learn from your 1st marriage

The good news is that if you can survive a number of painful conversations with your spouse about what you did (or didn’t) do to make the marriage end, you can start working on your weaker parts and strengthen your relationship ‘muscles’ in hopes of finding greater satisfaction and success in marriage number two. It takes courage and some thick skin to hear less than flattering feedback and learn how you contributed to the end of your marriage. We think it’s worth the effort.

Share with us what you learned from your 1st marriage and how it contributed to making your next marriage a success. Leave a comment.

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