With Valentine’s Day coming soon, I wanted to share some thoughts on the holiday, and "love" in general. The conventional version of Valentine’s Day focuses on intense romance: gushing, heart-pounding, knee-weakening love. But, as a long experienced divorce lawyer, I truly know the reality of love and all its complexities.
Le Carré defines love as "whatever is left not to betray". The institutional goal on love is, of course, marriage. Frankly, or at least arguably, marriage in America is, however, a failed institution. There is a statistic that one in three marriages in America end in divorce. But if you add to that number the married couples who live apart—for which there are no confirmed statistics—and those currently in divorce court--usually not part of national statistics either, at least for the moment—the number is absolutely massive. And then there are the couples that simply stay in unhappy marriages for the sake of their children—as the cliché goes—or economic reasons. That takes the total amount of failed marriages in this country up to well over 50%.
This all makes me see Valentine’s Day as something truly contrived, perhaps commercially contrived for domestic sales. Love is great while it lasts, but if and when relationships change, life is too short to stay in a stagnant or painful relationship. Divorce is sometimes an empowering way to improve your life and daily happiness.
For those who have left relationships that simply don't make them happy, Valentine’s Day really is a time to celebrate.