Isabel Gillies never saw the end of her marriage coming, although she admits that she may have ignored some potential danger signs, such as the knowledge that her husband Josiah had left his first wife - who was pregnant with their child - for someone else (not Isabel). And even when she was forced to see it - when Josiah told her directly, more than once, that he couldn't be in their marriage anymore - she made every effort to avoid looking. But eventually one has to see what's really there - and what's on its way out.
Gillies is frank, forward, and not always particularly self-flattering in her depiction of this extremely difficult time. Happens Every Day
was a painful, too-close-for-comfort read for me, because so much of what she describes about the last few months of her first marriage is shockingly similar to what happened in my own (although mine dragged it out a whole lot longer). My first marriage ended a decade ago and I/ve processed it all by now, but there are things about that breakup that I'll never forget, and the emotions associated with that time can still be stirred up when I'm exposed to reminders. A few particulars about Isabel and Josiah's situation were especially, and uncomfortably, familiar. I had the sense that at times Isabel was fighting to stay married, period, more than trying to stay married to Josiah specifically; and despite Josiah's repeated declarations that he couldn't do this anymore and efforts to avoid being around Isabel whenever possible, it took him a while to get around to actually leaving. But he did leave, although I don't believe that the new faculty member was the only reason why. Having been there myself has not changed my belief that relationships cant be broken up by a third party unless they were shaky to begin with. However, I do believe that the third party can be a catalyst that forces one or both members of a couple to see that they really are shaky.
These days, very few people are likely to ask me how my first marriage ended, but should it happen, I'm inclined to give them a copy of Happens Every Day
- it would give them the framework, and I'd just have to fill in the differences and details. Sadly, it does
happen every day.