Marriage … is what brings us together today. So naturally, we’re talking to a divorce lawyer!
“We’re raised to look at marriage as this milestone and we keep signing up for it,” says James Sexton. “There are very few behaviors that end so badly so frequently that we would just sign up for it with such reckless abandon!”
Sexton has personally witnessed the demise of more than a thousand marriages — but that’s right folks, you guessed it — he still believes in love. Not only that, but his career helping people out of marriages inspired him to write a how-to book on staying together: If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late.
So what does a divorce lawyer, who’s seen the worst kind of behaviors in human relationships, know about how to do it right? “Over these years, I’ve seen so much of what people do wrong that you could probably reverse-engineer that into what they might have done differently,” he says.
On never hiring attractive babysitters
The nanny thing is a thing, and it’s amazing to me, because again, I learn about this sitting at the other end of the desk from people that have gone through it. And I’m not speculating, I’m doing ethnographic research. I’m like the Margaret Mead of divorce here, I’m sitting there with my nose in it, people are cheating with the nanny, husbands are running off with the nanny, husbands and wives are running off with the nanny, as I talk about in the book … I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that the nanny has a life outside of the home, and a life outside of the family, and what I try to talk about is how spouses, how wives in particular, could leverage that nanny fascination into improving their own daily life and having time for themselves.
On reinventing yourself with your partner, as opposed to after divorce
Do it in a way that’s constructive, as opposed to destructive. And do it sooner rather than later. People come to me, they’ve already lost the plot. They had a story they were trying to write together, everyone who gets married wants it to last. No one can pretend — in this curated world we live in where everyone puts everything on social media and it’s always the best version of what they’re doing, divorce is refreshing in the sense that you can’t pretend you meant to be in my office. No one meant to be in my office.