As usual, I’ll start from the end and work backwards, since the most recent event is the freshest in my mind.

Perhaps the most shocking thing that happened was my discovery that the couple I had idolized from across the street in Virginia had recently divorced. Even more surprising… they are still living in the same house – a family of 6.

They call it “nesting,” where the parents pack their suitcases and change homes instead of the kids.

The idea is to minimize the impact of the divorce on the children, allow them to remain in their “nest,” and let the parents take on the inconvenience of staying in different homes. Each of them moves in and out according to schedules and necessity.

It was an option so outrageous to me that I listened carefully to her explanation, and my first opinion was that it really seemed like a great idea, although it never would have worked in my situation. But when the two parents were in the same room together while I was there, I could have cut the tension with a knife. It felt all-too familiar, and it made my skin crawl to re-live it.

Which is the worst scenario for the kids? To shuffle between homes or live in one familiar home that’s full of stress? And if the nesting works for you, then why bother getting divorced at all, unless you’re just itching to join the “fun” at Match.com or your local pick-up joint?

So, I have two thoughts that are rumbling around in my mind from this jolting experience:

  1. Things aren’t always what they seem behind the pretty curtains.
  2. Maybe marriage is not the best arrangement for a happy life in our society any more (or was it ever?)

I left feeling sad for the family, sad for my ideal that had been shattered to bits, and just plain confused about the world in general.

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