It seems that as soon as you start to reveal that your marriage is in trouble and divorce is imminent everyone wants to know “Why.” Maybe it’s an inherent panic that makes people curious to see if they are doing something damaging to their own marriage but mostly this question comes across as silent judgement. It’s like you’ve been put on the stand and you had better be giving the absolute best reason that the marriage failed. People are expecting a devastating and traumatic answer: abuse, alcohol addiction, child molestation… Good grief! In my experience most marriages end for a Pandora’s Box of lesser reasons. Most marriages don’t involve just one horrendous person and one complete saint. Doomed marriages tend to spiral slowly in decay as each spouse takes turns hurting each other. Without a way to break the vicious cycle the relationship will just continue to get worse. How are you supposed to sum up years of misery in a single sentence? Do I tell them about the betrayal of trust that occurred on the wedding day that wasn’t discovered until pulling in the driveway from the honeymoon? Or should I just brush it off as “We had trouble from the start?” What about the time he invited a buddy over to drink until 2AM the night we brought our baby home from the hospital? Or the time he went out for the night and didn’t come home? Or should I just brush it off as “He wasn’t ready to settle down.” If you start to give generic summaries for complicated reasons people don’t understand. They start to come across as lame excuses for not trying to save the marriage. Usually what follows in a challenge from the inquisitor: “Didn’t you see the warning signs?” “Did you go to marriage counseling?” “Well, that’s no reason to get a divorce.” Yes, people will really question you like this. To avoid this trap, I have found that it is best to simply be honest but side step this question with responses like: “That’s a long story.” “We decided it was best.” “She decided she was done and left.” For most people this will be enough and all that they want to hear. Sometimes you will have those few precious family members and friends who will hold you as you sob into their shoulder and will listen to your heartbreaking stories as you pour your soul out to them. Treasure the people who are there for you without further kindling your anger toward your ex. They will be your source of strength and comfort as you rebuild your life from here. You are going to need them!