Life After Divorce . . . Take Responsibility

By Lindy Earl

From the time we’re born, we have a responsibility to accept more responsibility.  At first we are fed, but it isn’t long before our parents put food on our tray and we are expected to feed ourselves.  And we do!  We were originally carried around, but we are encouraged, and we are EAGER, to walk by ourselves.  That’s growth, both physical and mental.  We can now go where we want.

In elementary school, much of our work was done in the classroom.  As we progressed, we were expected to accept more responsibility and do more of our work at home, thus the term homework.  By the time College came, students were expected to read ahead of time so they understood the Professors’ lectures and could participate in discussions.

At work, we are started off with simple, repetitive tasks.  As we show our competence we are given more responsibility, and often more money, as we move up the ladder.  We WANT to be successful and willingly accept more responsibility.  Wanting, seeking, and accepting responsibility are  healthy and positive ways to mature.

So, where is the disconnect in relationships?  I think we begin right.  Guy asks girl out.  Girl giggles and accepts.  They show mutual interest in one another. They are both contributing to conversations and learning about one another. Intimacy slowly grows starting with something as simple as holding hands. Both are accepting their role in the relationship.  Responsibility is shared and all is well.

The relationship progresses to marriage and possibly kids. Suddenly you wake up and realize that one person has taken, or was given, way too much responsibility.  Many years ago, a friend of mine from college divorced her spouse after a year.  Wow!  When asked why her only response was, “I’m tired of carrying all the responsibility.”

There are a LOT of responsibilities in any relationship, and especially in a marriage where living space and financial status are shared.  If one person takes control over the house and yard, thus leaving the other person with zero responsibilities, a few things can happen.  First, the one with the responsibilities can become angry and resentful.  Enter more trouble . . .   and/or, the one who is skating by can take it for granted, thus taking advantage of the situation.  The less they are requested to do, the less they are willing to do.  Enter more trouble . . . .

With finances, when one is a saver and one is a spender, challenges will probably occur. Both partners have a responsibility to be aware of money.  They both have a responsibility to watch what is spent and how.  Are they legitimate expenses, such as a car repair or utilities? Call it ownership instead of responsibility if you like, but it’s there.  Responsibility exists.

We are all responsible for our thoughts, words, and actions.  I’ve observed, for years, that people are often more careful with these three when with friends, colleagues, even strangers, than with their families and their significant other.  I don’t know why!  I’m guessing it’s comfort.  I’d like to think it’s at least unconditional love and they trust that rude behavior will be overlooked, based on the love.

My point is that it should never happen.  When one assumes they will be forgiven, they are taking others for granted.  I would think the first person you should never take for granted is your significant other.  They should be the most important, most loved, most cherished, most adored person in your life.

Since we are all responsible for ourselves, no matter how we’ve been treated or what we were taught, and since we, logically, want a happy relationship, it only makes sense to take our responsibility seriously.

We should step up when a job needs to be done. We should compliment people when they look nice.  We should offer affection to people who matter to us.  We should be there for others, even before they realize they need us.  We should take responsibility for everything we do, and that way we shall live a better life, and we shall help others around us live a better life.  That’s a double win!

That’s Life After Divorce.

                 Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant.  Contact her at or find her on Face Book.  Join her FB support group: Single Again, from Devastation to Dating.