The Road Beyond Amicable

Cooper Thornton
14 min readJan 19

About three years into the latest of our couples therapy sessions trying to “save” our marriage, I asked my then wife,

“Do you see any way I can be the person you want me to be?”
“Do you see any way you can be the person I want you to be?”
“Yeah, me neither. We can’t be who we want each other to be. So, let’s stop this before we get bitter and start to hate each other.”

That was essentially the end to our 27 year marriage. We’d been in the marriage maze, trying to avoid the exit of divorce, the only way out apart from dying or offing each other. I hate that word. Divorce. Dissolution, Annulment, Split, Rupture, On The Rocks. Dedomiciling, that’s a good one. They all just spell FAILURE. Such awful words. Isn’t the end to a bad marriage supposed to be a step toward making things better?

If the end of a marriage is like a diagnosis of cancer, everything around the divorce is the surgery, the radiation, and the chemo. The goal being to cut out all the bad and see if there can still be two humans to walk out the other side with some humanity still intact. Even with my divorce, which was as incident-free-as-could-be, the chemo of the divorce proceedings still cost me a lot of hair loss and often left me feeling the need to throw up.

My marriage wasn’t all bad, not by a long shot. We laughed a lot. We threw great parties. We held hands almost all the time until the end. We kissed, though usually just when leaving for the day or coming home or just before going to sleep. “I love you, have a good day” Smooch. “Welcome home. How was your day?” Smooch. “Can we please just cuddle? Goodnight.” Peck.

We had (have) two incredibly fun, adventurous, intelligent, imaginative, goofy, active boys. We had a family that played games together, went camping together, took road trips and flights together. We could travel with the best of them. Before our first son was two, he had taken eleven flights to visit three great-grandmothers in the final months of their lives. In no time, my ex, Laura, and I were seasoned roadies sprinting through DFW to make our connections. Laura ran with a rolling bag and another carry-on filled with all the baby paraphenalia. I hauled a carry-on and car seat, and…

Cooper Thornton

Parent, Actor, People Lover, Observer, Writer and Most Often Happy Depressive in NC by way of LA by way of UK by way of BC by way of TN, where it all started.