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True love hurts when it's all over.

The word "amicable" when used to describe marital separation or divorce always puzzles me. What is there to be amicable about when an intended life-long relationship bites the dust?

How can two people who were once deeply in love stay "bestest of friends" (to quote the Duchess of York) after that love seeps away beneath the four poster?

The word was used this week to describe the break-up of Rupert Murdoch's 31-year marriage. The 67-year-old media tycoon and his 53-year-old wife Anna insist they have parted "amicably" and no one else is involved.

It may well be true that neither has found romance elsewhere, but after more than three decades with someone, cutting loose must be incredibly gut-wrenching.

Surely in these situations, even if one party wants out, the other is reluctant to see the relationship end. I find it impossible to swallow the idea that two people decide at exactly the same time they want to split up for reasons that aren't at al

l ups etting. Thus the break can't possibly be free of bitterness, regret and antipathy, can it?

A little while ago, a neighbour's daughter remarried, having divorced her first husband some years earlier. Shortly after the wedding, she went on holiday accompanied not only by her new spouse, but the old one.

"It's wonderful she's been able to stay on such good terms with her ex," the neighbour remarked. But I don't believe they have. I think they're merely paying lip service to the idea of remaining friends to prove how grown up and civilised they are.

Greta Scacchi has been involved in a similar triangle. The actress and her cousin Carlo Mantegazza - by whom she is now pregnant - have until recently been sharing her Sussex farmhouse with his former wife Sian Houston, who is reported to be delight

ed at the news of the impending birth.

Can she really be over the moon? Is living with her ex-husband and his new lover really the cosy arrangement it appeared?

Fergie's constant insistence that she and Andrew are still bosom buddies never fails to irritate me. For if they get along so brilliantly well together, it makes you wonder why on earth they divorced.

Okay, so I've never gone through a marriage rift, but whenever I hear someone talk about an "amicable" split and former spouses remaining good friends, I suspect that either they're lying or the relationship was never a great love affair in the firs

t pla ce.

For if you once felt deeply for someone - really loved them in the way Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Linda adored each other - how can you ever get over the anguish of seeing that intense feeling crumble and die? I don't think you can.

The divorce of the Prince and Princess of Wales rang far truer than Fergie's split with the Duke of York. No one can doubt that Diana was very much in love with Charles in the early days of their marriage. When the partnership foundered, she was dev

astat ed and so wasn't able (apart from the odd occasion when the couple put on a united front for the sake of their sons) to maintain any kind of warm relationship with him once they'd separated.

If I ever marry and, heaven forbid, the union breaks down, the parting won't be remotely amicable. Plates will be thrown, insults hurled and suits cut up into shreds.

Nor can I imagine being able to stay pally with my ex. For shouldn't your "bestest" friend be the person you're married to?
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Author:Dodd, Ros
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Apr 24, 1998
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