I was surprised that he said this, because I had already told him that I hadn't hired a lawyer because I found them to be annoying, among other reasons. If he wanted my business, then I would expect him to refrain from trying to annoy me.
I didn't hire him. Here was his story.
Every day I meet with a man in his 30s whose wife wants a divorce. My client is usually stunned and confused. His wife is sending mixed signals, and her reasons for wanting a divorce are vague. She even seems, at times at least, ambivalent as to whether she wants the divorce. My client desperately wants to save the marriage. His tendency is to blame himself and to irrationally focus on his deficiencies as a husband. He tends to cling to her (in effect if not in fact), repeatedly asking for another chance. He pathetically assures her he will do better. If I ask him what exactly there is for him to do better, he commences an anguished recital of a much considered and lengthy list of his spousal failings. As I listen, I realize these items cannot, even cumulatively, explain his wife's decision.I've given up on the complicated psychological explanations.
What my client does not yet realize, however, is that his wife's decision to surrender her family has nothing to do with him. I believe the stimulus is something much deeper. The fact is that women in their 30s are intensely conscious of aging. You do not have to have a PhD in sociology to realize that the fact of aging is of more importance and urgency to your wife than it is to you. Women in this culture (perhaps in all cultures) have not failed to notice that physical and sexual attractiveness are powerful and frequently determinate factors in their relationships with men. Therefore there is a closing window of opportunity for women in their 30s to obtain a desirable mate. For married women this means a lateral move or, better still, the opportunity to trade up. Put differently, the cement is drying. If such a woman is not completely "fulfilled" (whatever that means), she must take steps soon, if ever, to rectify the situation.
However, my experience has been that the factors discussed so far are not, in and of themselves, sufficient to stimulate a wife and mother in her 30s with an admittedly decent guy to jettison it all. The fact is, your wife is on a boat that, despite its less than perfect accommodations, does float. As a result, it would be the pinnacle of recklessness for her to jump ship, hoping against hope not only that another seaworthy vessel will come along but that its accommodations will constitute an improvement.
Doubtlessly she realizes that the good guys, the desirable guys, are already married in their 40s. The single guys in that age group are, for the most part, laden with baggage, such as child support, hostile ex-wives, financial problems, and alcoholism. What I am coming to is this: assuming you meet that minimum threshold of fitness already discussed, your wife will not leave you unless there is someone else. Some of you reading this book are shaking your heads. You have woven far more complicated psychological explanations for your wife's actions. This propensity is compounded by your exaggerated perception of your own culpability. To you I can only suggest that you wait 6 months and then reread this section. [From Civil War: A Dad’s Guide to Custody, by Joseph E. Cordell, p.22-24.]