top of page
  • Writer's pictureDonné Restom

How do you know when your differences are 'irreconcilable'?

Divorce. I'm not going to lie to you. I've thought about it - a lot.

This article was originally published on Kidspot.

The idea of separating from a long-term partner has never been a big deal to me. It's always seemed entirely natural that, while one person may work as your partner, your love, for a number of years, there will come a time when they don't (or you don't, or both). When this time comes - and I don't mean to be brutal here - it's really in everybody's best interests to END IT.

END IT before you get so filled with loathing and resentment you can never speak to each other again. END IT before you find yourself a sodden heap bitterly bemoaning the loss of a life that could have been - a simpler one, without a partner. END IT so maybe you can meet up for gelato every now and then knowing that you have love for one another, even if the language has changed.

But that was before we had a kid

With kids in the picture, the whole 'it's not working out' thing suddenly gets a whole lot more complex.

And we've only got one child. Not six. When I think of the sprawling mess that will inevitably come of oh, let's say... the great Brangelina split of the 21st century, the complexity of the whole situation is enough to make my brain break.

Needless to say, there must have been a VERY good reason for it. But at what point did those 'irreconcilable differences' become irreconcilable? When did they tip over from being just differences?

We have our differences

Sometimes I'm astounded by how different my partner and myself can be. When we are in harmony it is our differences that join us.

"Thank you, darling. You are the calming yin to my raging yang," my partner once remarked. And he wasn't making sexy talk. We were metering our spending in Bunnings - so... similar.

When we have a task at hand, our differences get the job done, with Divide and Conquer as our el primo strategy - we learnt early on that sharing tasks was a futile endeavour best avoided if sex was to be had later (or ever again).

And when we are at odds we expel each other. Like magnets facing the wrong way, there is no pull together, only apart. Him to his people, me to my books. We exist in our corners alone until the emotion of those odds has subsided enough to share a bed, once again.

But when we parent, a whole new world of differences arise and this time, they're really, really personal. Because someone's life is potentially at stake and it's not your life, but you are responsible for it anyway.

And when the gravity of that responsibility lands in my lap, I look at the differences my partner and I may have and reconcile them.

Because we certainly have our differences, but they're not irreconcilable, yet.

So what is irreconcilable?

If you're questioning the reconcilability of your differences, our resident psychologist, Melissa Keogh, has this list for you. You can read the full article here.

When is divorce actually the answer? And what are the warning signs to be aware of?

1. Contempt

2. A non-existent sex life

3. The presence of physical, verbal, sexual and/or emotional abuse

4. A lack of positive affect when reminiscing about the past

5. Substance abuse and gambling addiction

6. Ongoing infidelity

7. One (or both) parties have an untreated personality disorder

8. Other factors such as falling out of love, marrying very young or accepting your sexuality isn't heteronormative.


bottom of page