DAVENPORT, IA—Despite the bitter emotional toll it has taken on them, Beth and David Harrigan expressed relief Tuesday that they have been able to handle their 11-year marriage so amicably.
According to Beth, while it's clear that they will never fully reconcile their differences, she and David are doing their best in a bad situation.
"It can get pretty tense when the two of us have to be in the same room together, and the holidays are definitely awkward," Beth said. "But overall, I think we've managed to be really civil throughout the whole ordeal."
"Marriage is obviously a terrible, terrible thing, but it doesn't mean we have to be at each other's throats," Beth added.
The Harrigans also maintained that, while they may no longer be in love, they still both have a great deal of respect for each other.
The couple's biggest concern has reportedly been their children, Simon, 7, and Laura, 9. Beth said that while she and David realized they could never completely protect the kids from the damaging effects of their continued union, they were doing their best to honestly answer any questions that come up.
"The marriage has been really hard on the kids, but we're making sure they know it's not their fault that it's like this," said Beth, adding that she tries not to bad-mouth David within earshot of her son and daughter. "Children are very perceptive—they can always tell when something's wrong—so we decided not to keep anything from them. It's not like we're ever going to be a happily married couple again, but at least we can try to make it as painless as possible for them."
David said that the marriage has been challenging for him personally, but it has also afforded him the opportunity to grow. According to the self-employed accountant, he now spends most of his time in his home office in the basement, an arrangement that still allows him to see his children frequently.
"In some ways, the whole thing has actually been good for me," David said. "It was such a huge relief when Beth and I could finally sit down and say, 'Look, this thing isn't working, but what are you gonna do? Life goes on.'"
"Now I just have to build up the courage to start seeing other people," David continued.
Though things between the couple remain strained, David and Beth both said they look forward to moving past the unpleasant experience as soon as the other dies.