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Ask Ellie: With 40% divorce rate, leap of faith a factor in all marriages

What keeps people together besides romantic love, is shared core values

Dear Ellie: Divorce! Divorce! Divorce! I’m a 26-year-old woman sick of hearing about it from everyone! What’s happened to the “sacred bond of family?”

It’s become like a mean joke about something unreal… or in my case, a failed fantasy. My sister and I were told practically every night at bedtime that our parents would “love us and keep us together forever.”

Ha! They were divorced by the time we were 13 and 10! And now, I’m 26, and my father’s going through his second divorce. This time it’s from the woman for whom he left my mom.

How can a single woman like me, hoping for a future life with someone I love who loves me in return, even fool myself into believing it would last?

We’re living in a world of expendables, including even the people with whom we make solemn vows to “love and honour.”

Sure, but only for a limited “best before” date. And speaking of stale, dated family relationships, my sister and I have also lost aunts and uncles and even cousins who were my father’s relatives who sided with him when he left our no-longer-happy home.

So, should I give up my fairy-tale dreams of the handsome prince who’ll love me FOREVER and just get a new duvet to comfort myself on cold, lonely nights?

Sick of False Dreams

Wow, you clearly needed that chance to vent your feelings! Hurt, Disappointment, Anger, Resentment. Yet I detect a flicker of hope, almost a challenge, for me to prove you wrong.

I can’t. People divorce. But many other people do not.

We’d both have to study all the factors why some people stay together happily through long marriages while some still plow along through difficult unions, others have serial attachments and still others just flee one day.

Let’s now think about your chances? You’ve painted only a partial portrait of yourself. But, at 26, you’re likely working and still have years ahead to progress or reach for a bigger challenge.

If you want a better future, single or partnered, it’s time to start building some security, whether through further education towards better salary or prudent spending habits.

You’re also a perfect age for dating intelligently. A wise-cracking guy who regularly drinks too much? Say “No thanks, I’m busy.” The man whose wife or girlfriend “doesn’t understand him”? Run. The one who most often talks about himself? Move on. Your thoughts, conversation have to matter, too.

It’s up to you to use your smarts, not your past hurts, to assess the potential of anyone you date awhile for being emotionally mature, sincere and trustworthy, open and honest.

Just as you should overcome pain and anger from your own background, also assess whatever negatives any future husband might bring to a marriage. Or whether he’s very worth taking a chance… a factor in ALL marriages.

What keeps people together besides romantic love, is shared core values, e.g., how you each treat everyday people, not just those you’re trying to please.

And how you treat one another when just sharing time and good feelings.

Feedback regarding the divorced woman wondering if she’ll ever find a lasting partner (Nov. 26):

“She won’t, because she didn’t initially choose the right man. Now she doesn’t want to be “a nurse or a purse.”

“Marriage is a mutual commitment that includes taking care of each other.

“It’s unlikely she’ll choose a good man, and if she meets one, he wouldn’t want her.”

Dear Ellie: A long-time friend has slowly/subtly pushed me away. I don’t know why. I’m uncritical, supportive, I help/listen, never asked her for anything.

I haven’t raised it with her. After her cancelling plans with me again, I took a step back. I’d been finding things to do together. She only ever asked me to do things for her.

So, I stopped reaching out and didn’t hear from her for two months, then only a one-line response. Now I’m a mess.

I’m an introvert with only a few friends. In mid-60s, it’s hard to find new people with common interests. I don’t know if there’s something really wrong with me or what to do.

Sadly Disappointed

Banish “bad-me” thoughts. You’ve done nothing wrong. Your former friend may have a problem/situation she doesn’t want to share, e.g., depression (not wanting to go places or be active) or some signs of illness or early-onset dementia.

Luckily, you’re active, healthy, have other friends. Enjoy them!

Ellie’s tip of the day

The 2020 Divorce Rate in Canada: 40% of marriages end in divorce.

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