Breaking up is hard to do. Obviously there’s the heartbreak, the STD tests, the long recriminations and the stalking.
But, most traumatic of all, as everyone knows, is the division of possessions.
I’m not talking about the retro vinyl copy of a Joy Division album you gave the older man, or the CD from The Killers you gave the toy boy.
No, I’m talking about the really important stuff like the house, the pet and the Nicer Dicer. Maybe even the IKEA wine holder.
A survey by national law firm Slater & Gordon has found that real estate, money and personal effects including photographs are at the top of the list of items that are hardest to divide at the end of a relationship.
Next are pets, vehicles including cars and boats, and furniture.
When it comes to real estate, I totally get the angst, especially with the kind of capital gains you see in some of Australia’s most sought after residential areas.
I also empathise with the cars/boats – what woman wants to part with that sporty little car that was, supposedly a gift, and what man wants to wave goodbye to the Holden or the Landcruiser, especially if he’s customised it, or the seaworthy sloop on which he went fishing and drank beer with the mates?
No wonder break ups get ugly.
As for the pets, friends have told me that, when the time comes to say goodbye, it is a mutually purchased canine that causes the most heartache.
Maybe we need Canine Court, a version of Family Court where the dog has to perform tricks, or take treats, off either party and see whom he is most responsive to.
Family lawyer Heather McKinnon adds that sentimental items often become symbols of the good times in the relationship and people are desperate to hang onto them.
She’s talking about the ticket stubs to the Madonna/Leonard Cohen/Pink concert of course, or the photographs of the two of you when it was bliss.
But, really, why get all worked up over photographs? You simply divide them and then cut him/her out if you feel so inclined.
Rather, I think it is the miscellaneous things that are most likely to, if not cause you the most angst, then annoy you the most after you have parted ways.
Carly says: “My ex requested he keep all the old Christmas lights and decorations made of plywood for the outside of the house and yard!”
Gypsy says her partner wanted the saddle, even though they have never owned a horse.
Alison says her lawyer told her one couple divided everything they had amicably until it came down to the garden hose, which ended up getting chopped up with an axe.
For Kate, it was the entire 11 season series of MASH that she wanted to keep her hands on while for Christine it was Frequent Flyer points.
Kate says her cousin and fiancé fought over a Persian rug and it went to court.
But perhaps Wilbury makes a good point when he says that what you most want to hang onto is your sanity.
“That is one possession that needs to be sorted …”