In my many years as a matrimonial lawyer, only four men who have instigated divorce proceedings have claimed not to have a substitute partner waiting in the wings. Of those four, two had remarried within six months of their marriages being dissolved.
Men are famously inept when it comes to carving out a life as a singleton. They may say they want freedom from domestic responsibility, but the vast majority crave the stability that only a wife and a well-managed home can provide.
Hence, wives who sit in front of me and dismiss the idea their husband wants to end the marriage because he’s found someone else are almost always deluding themselves.
As a result of refusing to see what’s all too evident to me, women clients are often reluctant to press ahead with proceedings – sometimes in the hope their partners will have a change of heart – and shy away from litigation, not wanting to aggravate their husbands.
I realise it’s hard to accept that your partner of many years is having an affair, but the sooner you face reality, the easier it will be to move ahead with the divorce – and a new life afterwards.
So, when women say things like “we’re not getting on as we used to,” my instincts tell me there’s another reason – and that reason is adultery. Scientists may have identified no fewer than 91 ways to keep an illicit relationship secret, but the warning signs are there if you want to see them.
For women, the indicators to look out for include their husbands showering more frequently, staying at the office late, going to the gym, losing weight and dressing more snappily.
Women who believe their husbands aren’t straying, even though they want a divorce, should ask themselves this: Why would he want to leave you if he’s only going to a bachelor pad with no one to pick up his boxer shorts off the bedroom floor, iron his shirts or make his dinner?
Some women will even blame the current economic climate for their husband’s changed behaviour: “Oh, he has to work long hours because the business is struggling,” they will say. Or “he doesn’t want sex anymore because he’s stressed out at work”.
Sorry, but men will always want sex – perhaps more so during tough economic times, in order to relax – so if they don’t want it from their wives, you can bet they are getting it elsewhere.
So, ladies, please don’t kid yourselves that your husband suddenly wants out of the marriage for no other reason than you’re “not getting on” like you used to. Divorce is a difficult process and successful men stand to lose a chunk of their assets as a result, so they’re not going to break up the family for no good reason.
Take a good long look at your husband’s behaviour and rather than make excuses for it, identify the warning signs and try to accept that he’s found someone else. Because however hurtful the realisation will be, once you accept the situation, you will be in a much better position to move on with your life.