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Francesca  Di Meglio

The Undivorce

By August 5, 2010

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Yesterday AOL posted a story about the undivorce. This is a new idea in which couples who no longer want to be married stay together in the legal sense only, usually for practical reasons. Some of them can't afford a divorce or won't be able to get an inheritance if they don't stay married. Others do it for the kids. Whatever their reasons, these couples remain somewhat friendly, come up with some sort of agreement on their own, and never actually get divorced. Still, most of them live separately and have other relationships.

I'm usually a practical person, but the undivorce does not seem right to me. Marriage is a major commitment, in which you promise to support one another through good and bad times forever. If you are no longer committed in your heart, then you should no longer be committed on paper or through property and finances.

Love or falling out of love is impractical. Your divorce should be, too. It doesn't have to be insanity, but it shouldn't be as clinical as filing taxes either. Marriage gone wrong is messy and complicated and that's all right. In fact, it's normal. And divorcing spouses should embrace the tragedy, throw themselves a pity party, own their divorce, and then move on. A divorce gives them freedom from a marriage that wasn't working.

Our desire to uncomplicate everything, including our relationships, is impossible. I guess I just feel that the undivorce could be unhealthy. A little complication can do you good. You once loved this person enough to promise to spend the rest of your life with him or her. An undivorce belittles those feelings you once had because it has you committed in name only. A complete and real divorce gives the people involved a clean slate, which amounts to a chance to move on from a big, important relationship that was broken. The undivorce is undone. You're leaving your life unfinished with an undivorce. What do you think?

August 8, 2010 at 11:02 am
(1) Natasha Williams says:

I just read where a company, SafeGuard Guaranty Corporation, has started selling divorce insurance called Wedlock. It’s crazy, your basically hedging the risk of divorce.

August 9, 2010 at 10:00 am
(2) Newlyweds Guide Francesca says:

That is crazy. Thanks for sharing this info with us. I’d rather bet in favor of my marriage working out thankyouverymuch.

August 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm
(3) Zeke says:

This article is obviously written by a woman with no marriage experience!! The un-divorce would put lawyers and People magazine out of business. Marriage advisors and marriage websites as well.

August 12, 2010 at 8:10 pm
(4) Katy German says:

What do I think? That you haven’t been married for very long. Life is messy, and the “undivorce” (or, as it was known in generations before ours “the arrangement”) is a logical choice for certain people. It can be very wise. Forgive me if I choose not to “embrace the tragedy” of putting my mentally disabled son and husband who has been out of the workforce for about a decade raising said child through a divorce.

August 13, 2010 at 9:53 am
(5) Newlyweds Guide Francesca says:

Hi Katy,
I’m sorry if you feel as though I was judging your decision in my blog. I never intended to do such a thing. Each individual has to come up with his or her own solutions to problems, such as a failing marriage. I just happen to think that staying together in name only in the case of the undivorce isn’t the best idea for psychological reasons. Still, that is just my opinion. And it doesn’t mean such an arrangement wouldn’t work for you. Good luck!

February 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm
(6) Lisa says:

I’m with Katy on this one…. after 25 years of marriage and three kids ranging in age from 3 to 11, an undivorce is by far the best option for us. Twenty-five or even 15 years ago I would never have believed how couples’ lives can change, and how complicating factors like careers, finances and kids can create a completely new reality for a couple. I love this saying: “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” We’re sticking with what we know. It’s not particularly wonderful, but it’s better than divorcing right now.

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