The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Feeling No Pain, Feeling No Joy, Part 2

My best friend is going through the most miserable divorce you can possibly imagine. It is his hell on earth.

Even before the final divorce trial, the judge has ordered him out of his house, and that his wife will sell the house from underneath him (HIS house!!), and that he will have limited visitation with his children. And he has done absolutely nothing wrong!!

He has been an exemplary father. In fact, he has been the primary caregiver for his children, NOT his wife! (Holding down a full-time job AND being the primary caregiver – how many men on this planet have taken on this arduous task?!) His two young boys adore him.

He has always treated his wife with respect. And yet she hates his guts (she has psychological problems). Thus the divorce is as vitriolic and destructive as any on record. (Watch Danny DeVito’s “The War of the Roses,” starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.)

I don’t believe for a second that my best friend’s divorce is atypical. Almost all divorces are agonizing. They tear families apart and cause intense emotional pain. Many divorced fathers are driven to suicide!

To most people, the 40% divorce rate has little significance or meaning. Like teenagers experimenting with sex and drugs in the shadow of STDs and addiction, they believe that divorce will never happen to them, that they can magically beat the odds. Or they believe that the risk/reward is favourable and that they can, and will, survive any divorce. (Hope is the defining quality of the human condition!)

I take a more pragmatic view. The risk/reward analysis – putting aside the hope factor – says it’s nuts to get married (or live together in a committed relationship). You cannot ignore or dismiss 40% likelihood. (Imagine if crossing the street entailed a 40% likelihood of getting hit by a car. You may well survive the collision but you sure wouldn’t take the chance!)

Unfortunately, human beings don’t think this way. They are driven by forces more powerful than logic. They put more stock in their feelings than in statistics. Hence, the human drama.


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