Divorce and trust

One of those times when a bit in something I’m reading that isn’t actually the point of the thing gives me thoughts.

I’m reading this anti-gay marriage (and anti no-fault divorce) thing (to be very clear, I am very much pro both equal marriage and no fault divorce), and in a quote of someone named Professor Anthony Esolen ran across the line

Divorce begins by undermining trust in marriage

I find this idea very strange.

I very strongly believe that if a person wants to not be in a relationship anymore, they should be in every way able to stop being in that relationship. Obviously, that means supporting divorce.

I believe the point the person who said the above quote was attempting to make was ‘with divorce, you can’t trust that your partner won’t at some point decide to leave you and do so, because they can do that’.

The part where I find this strange is – so, I said “if a person wants to not be in a relationship anymore, they should be in every way able to stop being in that relationship”. If divorce is not permitted, then the second part of that sentence stops being the case. But, that doesn’t do anything to the first part. At that point, what you have is ‘a person wants to not be in a relationship anymore, but they have to stay anyway’.

…Is that something you want for your relationship? Does knowing ‘my partner wants to not be with me, but they have to be with me anyway, so they’re still here’ seem like a good or desirable thing to you? Does that actually make you feel more secure?

It seems to me that the thing you would actually want to be able to trust is ‘my partner will keep wanting to be in a relationship with me’. But forbidding divorce won’t give you that. Legally requiring them to stay when they don’t want to won’t give you that.

Nothing will give you that. It won’t. And, even with all issues of consent and everyone’s right to themselves and self determination aside, I think we’re better off dealing with that than trying to avoid it by using legal fake-security as a coping mechanism.

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