Monday, July 31, 2006

BOLD...?

I recently saw an ad on TV that pissed me off. My immediate reaction to it was one of anger because I felt it was an insult to my intelligence. I only saw it once again and I am not sure if it has perhaps been taken off the air.

The ad was for a car with what looks like the perfect family of 4 in it. Mom driving – dad looking oh so lovingly over his shoulder at the son and daughter on the back seat. Mom pulls up and dad gets out presumably at their happy little home. The daughter then runs out to give Dad a big hug goodbye and Dad says to her, ‘See you in two weeks.’ The camera pans to Mom who is watching this scene from the car and she has a warm and loving smile on her face. Dad looks over his shoulder and sort of mouths to mom, “Thanks for inviting me,” or something to that effect. Mom then gives a non-verbal acknowledgement indicating that it was her pleasure. The overall message of the add is TO BE BOLD.

What a load of crap. Let me just make these general points before I voice my opinion:

I know the insane statistics of divorced/broken families.
I know there are some families who divorce/break very amicably.
I know that not every divorced father is a low-life who doesn’t pay child support.
I know there are exceptions to every rule.

However, I think it is really sad if it has got to the point where companies are projecting divorced/broken happy families as the norm. I would be keen to know how often the scenario they presented actually happens in the real world. What they are saying is that Mom decided it would be a bold thing to phone Dad and have him join the family on their outing to the beach that day. Yeah, right. In reality – I doubt if this happens very frequently.

My husband was married before. I also have a lot of divorced friends – more with children than without. Out of this group of people, there was exactly one couple who had a civilized divorce. They have been divorced for well over ten years now. The husband re-married a few years after the divorce and took in two step children. Both families always shared birthdays, graduations, and all and any kind of event deemed a celebration. They were there for each other at sad times too. The parents continue to be friendly, to treat each other with the same respect and dignity they did when they got married. In so doing, they have avoided any additional pain, hurt and stress that their children might have suffered through the divorce. The children today are grown and married, the divorced parents are now grandparents, and this family will continue to exist as a family in spite of their change in circumstance.

My experience of divorce as well as what I see around me all the time is that some insane dynamic comes into play when couples get divorced. The women, who have been married to the men, know exactly what their financial status is. You would think they do as they have been married to them for how ever many years leading up to their divorce. In spite of this, a phenomenon takes place and the wives believe that these husband’s, while in the process of their divorces, become millionaires. They make financial demands on them sometimes that are nothing short of insane. They might as well declare war. What follows on from these unrealistic demands is a protracted legal battle, costing someone, if not both of them a lot of money and ultimately, everyone comes out of this situation not getting what either of them initially wanted – which was – to end a situation that was not serving anyone anymore – to move on and start a new life. Instead, there is such a lack of harmony that any last shred of friendship that might exist between the couple is wiped out completely.

Nobody gets married with the intention of the union breaking up. I do think that as time goes on, people are marrying thinking that if it doesn’t work out it is not a big deal to get divorced. It is a big deal to get divorced and if anyone thinks otherwise, they are really very highly mistaken. We all go into our marriages or long term relationships to have them work. I know a lot of people who have been in committed relationships for many, many years, who are as married as the next couple in spite of the fact that they did not formalize their union with a marriage certificate. When these relationships break up/down – it is a divorce like any other.

What I don’t understand about these demands that the majority of wives put on their husbands is how they don’t see that all they are doing is dishonoring their children by creating and then perpetuating a war between the parents. Nothing takes people lower than the challenges of money wars.

I do not understand how the mothers have no desire to contribute to their children’s process of growing up on a financial level. Why should this be exclusively the responsibility of the father because the parents have decided to take separate paths?

I would love to conduct a survey among divorced couples and find out if after an extended period of time, the ex wives still believe they acted in the best interests of themselves and their children, or if they were simply wanting to be victorious in the war of rightness?

‘What do we live for if not to make the world less difficult for each other?’
~ George Eliot

 
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