How to tell if a divorce is right for you as Noel Gallagher puts marriage split down to 'midlife crisis'
Noel Gallagher has spoken out about his divorce, revealing the coronavirus pandemic impacted his marriage and attributing the split to a "midlife crisis".
It was revealed in January that the Oasis singer, 55, and his wife Sara MacDonald, 51, were divorcing after 22 years.
The former couple share two children, Donovan, 15, and Sonny, 12. Noel also shares 22-year-old daughter Anais with ex-wife Meg Mathews.
While the couple requested privacy in order to co-parent their children following their separation, Gallagher has now shared some of the details surrounding their breakup.
"When you get to your mid-fifties, you do come to some kind of crossroads in your life," he told The Sun. "It’s not uncommon for people who have been in long-term relationships to go their separate ways in their fifties.
"I know a lot of people in the same boat as me and Sara. Particularly after the pandemic. The midlife crisis thing is true for men and women," he continued.
Divorce is never an easy decision. So, how can you ever know whether a divorce is the right decision for you and your partner?
Divorce: the facts
New data from the Ministry of Justice has shown a nearly 20% increase in the number of divorce applications filed since the no-fault divorce option was introduced in April last year
A no-fault divorce petition allows people to file for divorce without having to place blame on their former partner
Between April and December 2022, 89,123 divorce applications were made, compared to 74,571 made in the same time frame the year before – a 19.5% increase
“The higher figures indicate that people waited for the new law to come in before applying for their divorce,” says Kate Daly, co-founder of online divorce services company amicable and host of The Divorce Podcast.
“This means thousands of divorcing couples have been spared a toxic process where blame and recrimination run rife.”
Daly added that the higher numbers could also be an overspill from time couples spent in lockdown during 2020 and 2021.
“Spending more time together locked up at home, financial pressure, and changes to where and when people work have all impacted our relationships,” she explains.
“Added to this is a cost of living crisis. We know that financial pressure and different approaches to money are some of the main reasons people cite for the breakdown of their relationship.”
Signs that divorce could be the right decision
How do you know when a divorce is the right decision for you and your partner? Daly says the first thing you should do is make sure your marriage has completely broken down instead of just going through a bad patch.
“A bad patch is usually driven by situational factors such as temporary pressure at work, the birth of a baby, problems, or temporary illness. These can be worked through with skilled and empathic communication,” she advises.
“A complete breakdown in a relationship is more challenging to repair. It’s often based on more fundamental differences on a deeper values level or a breach of trust.”
Daly cites American psychologist John Gottman’s model that identifies if a relationship is salvageable - in which he concluded that a relationship is unlikely to last if it is characterised by one of these four behaviours: Contempt, Criticism, Defensiveness and Stonewalling.
“It’s probably best to seek professional help if these are features of your relationship,” Daly says. “If you can’t overcome these issues, then it’s likely you’re headed for a divorce.”
How to mutually decide on a divorce
In some instances, divorce can be a mutual decision if you both feel that your relationship has run its course.
“This is particularly prevalent in longer marriages where issues may have been apparent for some time,” Daly says.
“Where there is an acceptance of the breakdown then agreeing to divorce can be a relief and a decision that can be taken mutually. The new laws also mean that you can divorce each other (by making a joint application to divorce) rather than one person being the instigator.”
The latest figures from the Ministry of Justice show that. 22% of people in England and Wales decided to make a joint application for divorce since the new no-fault laws came into effect.
“If you can get to a place where you both ‘accept there will be a divorce’ even if one of you doesn’t want it, then that is sometimes as close as you can get to a mutual decision,” Daly adds.
How to broach the topic of divorce
“If you're the instigator of the split, then how you start the conversations about divorce often directly dictates how amicable you can make the separation. Never threaten divorce in the heat of the moment or during a row,” Daly says. “This can fatally damage a relationship that could actually be repaired with some work."
"Take time to consider whether the relationship is truly over and if it is, find a quiet time to tell your partner this is how you are feeling. Accept your partner is hearing this for the first time and will be shocked (even if you think it’s obvious there are problems). Remember you have been thinking about this for a while – they are in a different place emotionally and are likely to experience anger, denial and fear.”
Daly recommends giving your partner space to process their emotions, keep the initial conversation short, but be prepared to revisit the conversation and answer their questions several times over.
“Don’t be tempted to wade in with discussions about how you’ll split money and property or where the children will live,” she adds. “These are all important conversations but not for right now.”