Huma Abedin just did something remarkable. The suffering she endured during her marriage to Anthony Weiner has become must-see news. Truly, one would be hard pressed to find a greater example of a husband publicly humiliating his wife. Weiner repeatedly and overtly cheated on her; embroiled himself in multiple sex scandals; pled guilty to sexting with a 15-year-old girl (and now is a registered sex offender) and ruined Abedin’s career as a top aid in the Clinton administration. Donald Trump even used Weiner’s infidelity as a political attack against Clinton, claiming it was a matter of national security. Abedin’s humiliation could not get any more public.
And yet, at her first court appearance for their divorce, she actually sat next to Weiner. She chatted with him, smiled and voiced her desire for an amicable divorce to the Judge. They even left together. Instead of scorched earth, she gave the world civility. Why?
Weiner destroyed their marriage with a wrecking ball.
It’s not unheard of for a hostile marriage to become an amicable divorce. When this happens, the motivations are often as unique as the people involved. Like everything in divorce, however, the reasons are not strictly legal or emotional, but a combination of both. For Abedin, that certainly appears to be the case:
#1: Time & Money
A contentious legal battle will undoubtedly come at a high cost of both time and money. A litigious approach will mean increased court appearances, attorney meetings, preparation, correspondence and more. Abedin’s attorney bills will balloon and, just as importantly, much of her free time will be compromised. By making the strategic legal decision to be collaborative, she suppresses her legal costs while limiting interactions with her attorneys, her husband and the judge.
No matter how hard Abedin tries to be civil, things still can turn ugly, especially given Weiner’s track record. Keep in mind, this is the same man who sexted a picture of his crotch next to his sleeping 4-year-old son. But for now, her approach appears to be working.
#2: Emotional Well-being
When you spend your days and nights trying to find new and better ways to battle with your wusband, you are the one who is hurting. Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. What else could Abedin be doing with her time? Playing with her son? Having a glass of wine with friends? Focusing on her career? Binge watching Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce? The point is: she wouldn’t be getting on with her life. Abedin made a choice — Stop thinking about how to hurt him and shift the focus to how she can help herself.
Not to be overlooked, Abedin and Weiner also made a joint legal request to keep their case confidential. "Because there is a child involved we'd like to keep these proceedings secret to the extent your honor will allow," Abedin's attorney Amy Donehower said. By sitting together in court and treating each other respectfully, Abedin and Weiner are on their best behavior for the Judge. Their united front may not be genuine, but it doesn’t have to be. They are hoping for a favorable legal outcome to their request and good behavior doesn’t hurt.
#4: The Cost to Children
Children are affected by divorce and are especially affected by their mom’s moods. Don’t think that you are hiding anything from even a young child by putting on a smiling face while your insides are seething. Abudein and Weiner have a young son together and may be making a smart—and unselfish—move by loving their child more than they dislike each other. It is absolutely true that children fare much better in a divorce when the parents are civil to each other. If you want to minimize trauma to your children, find a purpose in your life that doesn’t include hurting the other parent.