Unhitched: The Same Arguments, Then Finally a New Direction
Most couples find themselves in a long-term struggle to separate after being in a marriage for half a lifetime.
The common reason behind this stems from a lack of communication and fear of disappointing one another. If this sounds like you, it may be time to seek counselling to help mediate the situation. If this proves to be unhelpful, don’t wait to have the problems grow into even bigger ones.
The most important thing to keep in mind, whether divorce becomes an option or not, it to decide on what your end goals are and what is the best way to achieve them.
In Unhitched, longtime couples tell the stories of their relationships, from romance to vows to divorce to life afterward.
After 30 years, an empty nest leads to flight. With their children grown, Richard Baum and Barbara Baum found themselves at a crossroad. Exhausted by years of wrangling the same issues, change led to more changes.
Where did they grow up?
In the same Chicago suburb. They were friendly in high school. Her parents, who married for life, argued constantly. His parents stayed together, and his family was very close, to the point of being wary of outsiders.
How did they become a couple?
After college, they ran into each other in an elevator and discovered they worked in the same building in Chicago. A friendship grew into dating. They married two years later.
What was it about the other?
They shared friends, had common backgrounds and admired each other’s creativity. “In retrospect, we may have been in love with the idea of each other as opposed to who we really were,” Barbara said.
Why did they marry?
All their friends were getting married.
“I remember thinking it wasn’t quite right but could not articulate why,” she said. “He really liked me, and I lacked self-esteem and thought I might not find anybody else.”
“Being with Barbara felt like being a better version of myself,” he said. “She would be a good mother, and she was good at a lot things I wasn’t good at.”
His parents were onboard “as much as they could be for someone,” he said.
Where did they live after marrying?
At first in a dilapidated house near Lake Michigan, then in Chicago in a high rise. After having two children, they moved to a suburb near where they grew up and where her parents still lived, in order to have help with child care.
How were the early years?
Busy. She had her own business; he practiced architecture and worked as a futures options broker at the stock exchange. They had small children and their aging parents needed help. They bought a fixer-upper, and construction took a lot out of them.
“Having two careers was a blessing and a curse, but definitely impacted our relationship,” Richard said. “At no point did I feel like I made a mistake. I appreciated everything we had, but I was always tired.”