Memo to Jerry: divorce (unlike marriage) is for life

Share

From The Government we get nothing but depressing statistics. Children from broken families suffer far, far more, it says, than do children whose parents argue but stay together anyway. They are more likely to live in poverty, suffer from depression, fail at school and become delinquents.

From The Government we get nothing but depressing statistics. Children from broken families suffer far, far more, it says, than do children whose parents argue but stay together anyway. They are more likely to live in poverty, suffer from depression, fail at school and become delinquents.

It's a grim little sermon. For those of us already living on the wrong side of the tracks, it's not very helpful. So thank the Lord for Jerry Hall, who shocked ITV audiences earlier this week by insisting that (a) she had divorced Mick, not just for her own sake, but for her children's sake, too, and (b) it was the best thing she'd ever done. "We didn't have a very good marriage," she explained. "He wasn't a very good husband. But we do love each other. You can still love someone and not be with them and still have a family and do things with the children. Our children are happier this way. I think more people should try it."

A spokesperson from Relate was quick to issue a Tolstoyan caveat, reminding us that no two unhappy families were alike. What worked for Jerry might not yield happy results for others, in particular those "others" who were not six-foot blondes with budding theatrical careers, mansions in Richmond and £7m plus in the bank. Clearly, Jerry Hall is going to have an easier ride than most of the rest of us. But that is no reason to discount her. She still has something useful to contribute to this debate.

Or rather, she will. Right now she is suffering from a syndrome called post-divorce euphoria. It is born of the delusion that a decree absolute is an end-point heralding the start of an independent life. The delusion is exacerbated by good behaviour. Imagine, for example, if Mick had the children for the weekend just after attending Jerry's first night as Mrs Robinson. It is not so hard to imagine Jerry picking up the phone on Monday and cooing, "Darling, how nice to hear your voice, and I'm so sorry to bother you, but could you let me know if you come across a small red sock?"

But divorce (unlike marriage) is for life. Good manners wear off. Children grow older and more difficult. New lovers arrive on the scene, and often they have children of their own. Not to mention exes. Not all of them will act as if they are auditioning for Joanna Trollope, but still. Getting involved with just about any man over 30 means taking on a large number of "others", and the ones who don't like you can make your life miserable.

And how happy will Jerry be if she does less well in love than her ex does? Will she continue to be delightful about the stream of starlet girlfriends? Will she never resent their influence on her children? And how will she feel if Mick decides he just doesn't like the look of her new boyfriend and retaliates by insisting that the children go to live with him, or making her move out of the marital mansion?

And say she falls in love with someone in California and decides to move there, only to have Mick go to court to block her way. During their next conversation about that missing red sock, what changes can we expect in her tone of voice? More to the point, what effect will her change of tone and attitude have on the children in the middle? How will she feel when one of them marches in, as children do, to say that, actually, the divorce was the worst thing that ever happened to her?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to talk her or anyone else out of it. Divorce can be a positive step, not just for adults, but for children. The Jagger children will be fine in the long run, I'm sure. Jerry will still be mostly happy, and never happier than when she slams down the phone and tells the wall, "Thank God I no longer have to face that rat at breakfast!" But these luxuries come at a very high price. As she will no doubt be telling us, for years to come.

freely@rosebud.u-net.com

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
More From
By Maureen Freely
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A pack of seagulls squabble over discarded food left on the beach at St Ives on July 28, 2015  

Number of urban seagulls in Britain nearly quadruples: Hide food and avoid chicks to stay in gulls’ good books

Tom Bawden
 

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen