Love Through the Revolving Door

"I just want to be happy."

We hear that regularly from people who want to end their marriages. The premise is simple: I am not happy in this marriage but I will be happy if it ends. Typically, they believe that when freed from this marriage they will develop a new and blissful relationship with someone else.

Sometimes a marriage should end. For example, it may be necessary to leave if a spouse or child is in danger. However most of the departing spouses I work with are not seeking safety; instead, they pursue an anticipated different life in which a new companion will make everything wonderful. More than twenty years working with marriages in trouble teaches me that typically the belief is a delusion. Unfortunately, for most of them, their anticipated "happily ever after" eventually evolves into "what was I thinking?