Frances proves a dif­fi­cult lady to like

How to lose your mar­riage in five steps, as demon­strated in ‘Di­vorce’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

the le­git­i­mate rea­sons to break off a mar­riage, this it not one.

2. Choose friends who know only how to be mis­er­able. In fact, make sure they are even more un­happy than you are, so as to drag you down far­ther. Frances is not Car­rie, who has a squad will­ing to show up at 11.55pm on New Year’s Eve, so no one has to ring it in alone. Her friends hate their hus­bands; one of Frances’ sidekick’s even pulls a gun on hers. It’s easy to get sucked into be­com­ing what one be­holds; Frances is equally guilty of this be­hav­iour. I know peo­ple who crit­i­cise their hus­bands, although they usu­ally punc­tu­ate their re­marks with af­fec­tion­ate things like, “But he’s my couch potato”.

3. Mis­take lust for love. Frances is hav­ing an af­fair. Whether this is a good idea, I shall not judge. Yes, there are peo­ple who have left spouses for lovers. And oth­ers who claim an af­fair brought them closer to their hus­band or wife.

But then there are lovers who wait in­def­i­nitely for their mar­ried com­pan­ions to leave their other halves. In Frances’s case, she be­gins to think her sin­gle paramour wants more than rolls in the hay, even though he has never in­di­cated as much. This pre­sump­tion that her side guy will be her safety net al­lows Frances to arro- gantly men­tion to Robert: “Some­times when I get home from work, I feel happy. I ac­tu­ally feel happy. Then I see your car parked out­side and I re­alise you’re home, and my heart sinks.” There’s noth­ing that can turn peo­ple into swag­ger­ing, hurt­ful “truth tell­ers” like think­ing they have a fall­back plan they don’t ac­tu­ally have.

4. Make your spouse feel sec­ond-best. It’s not enough to com­pare your spouse to some­one else’s more suc­cess­ful or ro­man­tic bet­ter half. Frances wants Robert to forget all her crush­ing re­marks. (He and his mous­tache are look­ing bet­ter ever since the art his­tory pro­fes­sor she’s been sleep­ing with got that oh-no look on his face when she men­tioned she was con­tem- plat­ing dis­solv­ing her mar­riage.) Robert may be bor­ing, but he’s not stupid. The for­mer Wall Streeter-turned-strug­gling-house-flip­per fig­ured out he was be­ing cuck­olded with a sim­ple scroll through his wife’s phone. “You know that di­vorce you wanted? I want one, too,” he says to Frances, hav­ing locked her out of the house. We all go through down cy­cles, dur­ing which a sup­port­ive spouse can be a god­send. But, if you cross the line, don’t be shocked when they re­tal­i­ate.

5. Never pur­sue your dreams. Frances al­ways wanted to own an art gallery but got side­tracked. It hap­pens. If you re­ally want some­thing, though, you find a way.

De­spite the econ­omy, I know a num­ber of peo­ple who have rein­vented them­selves: a stay-at-home mother re-en­tered the ad world on the cor­po­rate side in­stead of at her for­mer agency level. A fi­nan­cial an­a­lyst got a teach­ing de­gree. My one-time art di­rec­tor be­came an in­te­rior de­signer.

She had to start small with a course or two on week­ends, be­fore she could tran­si­tion into fin­ish­ing up as a full-time stu­dent. It took six years to get her cre­den­tials and then get her busi­ness up and run­ning. Ful­fill­ing a goal can take money and time, but both are worth it to feel sat­is­fied with life. – Wash­ing­ton Post

Duffy Merkl is the au­thor of the nov­els Back to Work She Goes and Fat Chick.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.