My brother recently filed for divorce from his wife after 43 years of marriage. It seemed kind of sudden and came a few months after he was in a hiking accident where he fell and severely bumped his head. I am wondering if it might have affected him. Why else would he suddenly want a divorce? -- Bucko in Boise
I'm sorry to hear about the pending divorce. Divorces are rarely easy. First let's assume your brother has seen a physician, had the requisite scans and is healthy. If he has not, he needs to do this immediately.
While divorces may sometimes seem like sudden decisions, they rarely are. A divorce is the result of years, and sometimes decades, of unhappiness.
Once medical issues are out of the way, it's time to understand that while divorces may sometimes seem like sudden decisions, they rarely are. A divorce is the result of years, and sometimes decades, of unhappiness. We all get comfortable with the status quo and so it takes a lot of energy to actually put the legal, psychological, social and economic mechanisms in place to get divorced. This is why there are so many unhappy marriages. It's just easier for many people to live with the unhappiness they know than venture into the unknown.
It is possible that after your brother's hiking accident he thought about his own mortality -- as well as his satisfaction with the life he has created -- and decided to make a change. After 43 years of marriage, a divorce will represent an enormous upheaval -- so you might want to think about how you can support him during this transition.
Respecting his decision and allowing him to find the happiness he is missing is a great way to show that you are there for him.
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