When to Break a Commitment

Posted By Stephanie Dolgoff on February 19, 2012

I’m going through a divorce, which is hideous, as anyone who has been through one knows. Not only are you mourning the death of the family you dreamed about and worked so hard to build, but if you speak or write about it in public, as I have, you deal with people who (believe it or not) truly think that you represent all that is wrong with society: a failure to live up to commitments.

I have no Earthly idea how, if all of us in marriages that make us feel terrible about ourselves were to stay put, the world would be a better place. In some magical way, there would be no nuclear threat, everyone would have enough to eat, cancer would be as rare as leprosy and cartoon sparrows and butterflies would flutter and chirp around us like Snow White pre-apple. Oh, and weight loss would be a breeze.

Yeah, no. With the possible exception of Kim Kardashian and her ilk, most people who divorce do so only after exhausting all other means of keeping the commitment alive, and after long and painful introspection about what it means to break a commitment. This process has taught me that some commitments—ones that interfere with other, more important ones you’ve made to yourself and to others—should be broken.