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Birds, Bees, Bill, & Bezos.

Birds do it. Bees do it. Even multi-billionaires do it!

I’ve heard from several friends, “I can’t afford to get a divorce.” These are not friends in poverty. They aren’t even middle-class. These are people with money. With Bezos getting a divorce in 2019 and Gates announcing divorce in 2021, we need to ask. Who really can’t afford to get a divorce?

When the mortgage crisis hit in 2008, there was a downward spike in the divorce rate. The same happened during the Great Depression. Why? Simply put, housing. People will put up with all sorts of things when they can’t afford to do otherwise. Women often find themselves in that position when they are homemakers, unemployed, undereducated, and confined to taking care of the children. When thinking of divorce, they will ask themselves, “Where will I go? How can I work and afford childcare?”

It’s no surprise that some women file for divorce when the youngest child enters kindergarten.

“Katrina”, a woman I know, waited until she was ready. She recently confessed that she had planned to leave at some point and that it took almost ten years before she made her grand exit. Her child entered kindergarten, and she secured a stable job. When her husband received a promotion to CEO, it was time to leave.

“I knew we would both be okay financially,” Katrina said. “With enough for both of us to live comfortably, I could let go of an unfulfilling marriage. I was ready to grow and find love. Life is short. I didn’t want to get to the end of my life with regret.”

There are instances when I hear, “But I will lose half of everything I own!” Here is a reality check: you only HAVE half of everything you own. Absent a prenup, the other half belongs to your spouse! Yes, even when married, people seem to think the assets belong all to them. In some states, your spouse can decide before they die to give their half to whoever they want, and that person doesn’t have to be YOU!

Sometimes those with the financial means to get divorced also claim to be in an unhappy marriage. We again have to ask, “Why?” Some of my friends have offered their reasons: their marriage provides a social network they wish to maintain, the children are too young, or their parents will disown them. Those are great reasons. If that’s the case, it’s not an unhappy marriage, in my opinion, because the exchange is worth it to them. Being married offers things they would not otherwise have if they were single. If marriage is the cost, be happy with your purchase. But, don’t complain.

There is an exchange rate for divorce. You lose something. You gain something. And the same goes for a marriage. For some, housing is enough to stay married. For others, social status matters. For those with enough money to say, “Fuck it”, the house and social status will remain intact after divorce.

So ask yourself this other question: is your marriage worth the cost? If it’s worth it, stick with it and respect your spouse because marriage is providing you with things you wouldn’t otherwise have. But don’t say you can’t financially afford to get a divorce because of the money if that isn’t the real issue. Bezos survived and so will you.

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