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[flagged] Bill and Melinda gates divorce after 27 years of marriage (bbc.com)
43 points by sloby11 7 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 57 comments

Good for them. There's no reason to stay together if you know longer want to, regardless of age and prior commitment. Relationships should be by choice.

There are reasons to be fair. If you value your children's wellbeing over your own then there is an argument to stay together (when possible) because generally kids raised by both their mother and father will do better for it.

Although to be fair to you this doesn't apply in the case of Bill and Melinda as all their kids are fully grown.

In general though I think people really should try hard to make relationships work. Our culture today seems to down play the importance of long-lasting relationships, but there is so much value in having someone who knows you better than you know yourself and who you can trust to always be there for you no matter what. A lot of people (or at least my friends) in relationships today don't seem to want to put in the effort to get to know someone on that level. Even in relationships they seem to be emotionally alone and empty in a lot of ways. I don't know anything about Bill and Melinda's relationship but they seemed to share a very close connection. Perhaps this is for the best, I don't know the situation, but I do worry neither of them will find that depth of connection again.

> generally kids raised by both their mother and father will do better for it.

I think this is a “devil in the details” scenario. If the parents stay together but don’t have any love for each other it is very easy to imagine scenarios where this negatively impacts the child.

It is a modern fallacy to assume that marriage between two people should be primarily based on their feelings for each other. Feelings fade and so something better must exist in order to base your marriage - and that is the raising of children.

So I agree, your point is valid - parents should not argue or fight in front of their children. Each parent is 50% of their child, so the child feels 100% hated in many of these scenarios.

But we must not conclude from this that the parents must have warm fuzzy feelings towards each other (ie. the modern day definiton of 'love', which is incorrect but nevertheless...). Sure, it helps sometimes, but such pleasurable moments can only be temporary.

You can imagine all you'd like, but the statistics here are exceedingly clear.


> … but I do worry neither of them will find that depth of connection again.

I made this point to a divorcing friend - he started dating his first ever girlfriend shortly after.

How was he married without having dated? And what does dating have to do with depth of connection? Haha, I am very confused now.

I understood it as: he married and divorced someone else, then started dating his first ever love after GP said that. He probably realized the depth of his relation with his first love.

Hm, that makes sense but it's also a bit of a stretch from the GP's comment, I especially don't understand why the wife doesn't count as a girlfriend.

She does - but she wasn't the first. [ First girlfriend = Alice (say). Breaks up with Alice. Dates more girlfriends. Marries one. Divorces. Dates Alice again. ]

Ahhh okay, so his old first girlfriend. That makes sense, thanks.

"Started dating his first girlfriend again" might have been clearer.

I'm fairly young and it's something that scares me deeply about marriage. How do you spend 30 years with someone, someone you once loved deeply, and come to a point where you no longer want to share your life with them.

My closest friend I've known for 10 years and we know each others intimately, it's a deep connection that can only be built with time and effort. It's without comparison to other friends that I've only known for a few years. So you spend 30 years building something so strong with a single person, there's never going to be someone else like this, you can't spend another 30 years building something with someone else, that's it. I don't know how you can deal with losing something like this.

Once you start a fire it is not a job done. You got to work on keeping it up.

There are two reasons for divorce I have seen, one people marry too quickly and are simply incompatible (a lot of divorces during lockdown happened because people were forced together and they cannot stand each others company for long). Other is thinking that once the ring is on her that the game is won no more effort.

That's overly simplistic to the extent that it is dangerous.

It takes two to tango. You can do everything right and your partner may still cheat on you, manipulate the children to dislike you, etc. It is unfair to say "you married too quickly" (apart from shotgun marriage, at some point you must make a leap of faith after all) or your second point that this person must not have tried hard enough. There are many reasons a marriage can fail, an many of them are out of one's control.

> It takes two to tango, You can do everything right and your partner may still cheat on you, manipulate the children to dislike you, etc

Absolutely, some people will roll triple 1 and land their feelings on absolute garbage of a human and will get hurt.

I think the point I was trying to make was that one of components of long term marriage is that you need to keep it up (both sides need to keep it up).

I agree. My problem with your previous post was just that it sounds like "either you're doing this wrong or you're doing that wrong" without acknowledging that it's possible to not have done anything wrong, or at least anything warranting a divorce.

It's a cliche, but what passes for love is often attachment. I actually can't quite differentiate between the two (though I'm not saying they're the same thing). Shedding attachment can be extremely painful, when it's involuntary. Ironically, it's over-attachment that precipitates divorce.

Exactly. How are romantic relationships not a zero-sum game?

Divorce can be as traumatic as a death - for me it was liberating though.

Divorce has no impact on children either... /s

Totally forgetting how staying together for the kids often results in more trauma for them when it boils over and the anger gets redirected at the children..

Somehow I doubt two humans amicably separating will have as much trauma. Some for sure but it's not like they'd be hurting for paying for some therapy.

I'd argue that parents being unhappy in their marrige is worse for children than a divorce in the long run

This is the mantra I hear from all divorced parents, no exception. But I saw their children before and after, and I'm not sure if it's true. In one case, I witnessed the very moment of separation, it was heartbreaking, the kid was crying all night. She's never experienced that kind of trauma before.

I'm very, very far from judging these parents, everyone has the right to be happy. But using the well-being of children as an argument is often just a way of rationalizing one's emotional choice. And I'd venture to say a more honest approach could be more beneficial for everyone involved.

Let me share my personal anecdote, which I know is not data, but it shapes my world view.

A close friend’s parents are still together, but he was raised hearing from his mom that she was staying in the marriage because of him. It was a regular occurrence. Only when he hit college and started talking about it more did he find out his mom said the same to each of his older sisters. The sisters were possibly able to brush it off more because they were closer. Also, the dad was the target of a lot of anger in the house, and my friend would draw comparisons from his sisters and mom, i.e. “you’re just like dad” was always a criticism to him.

So elsewhere in this thread, someone used the caveat “as long as it’s not toxic”, and I think that’s actually a nice generalization. My friend’s childhood experience was pretty toxic.

Yes, I fully agree with the "as long as it's not toxic" approach. This involves not telling the kid you're staying in marriage (i.e. feeling bad) because of them, even if you do.

Did you mean “well-being of *parents”?

No, I specifically mean the parents getting divorced and using the argument it will be better for kids this way, because otherwise they would have to endure hearing them arguing etc., so the net result would be negative. I haven't meet even one divorced parent who wouldn't use this argument.

No, he meant that women create a narrative that makes them look good in divorces that is often the opposite of the facts.

So women will say (and subconsciously think and believe) that breaking up the family is good for the children, when nobody else would agree, so that her decision looks good.

Hence the 50% divorce rate with 70% of those initiated by women - they set aside the effects on children.

“I Put The Kids First.”


You can read a similar example in this quote by Hillary Clinton:


Obviously the primary victims of war are the combatants, mostly men, but that doesn't fit her narrative, so she makes up nonsense and no doubt believes it, even though she has legal training.

I didn't really mean women, men share that sentiment too, if it was their decision to split (although I admit I met very few of them, most were women, but anecdotal evidence doesn't mean much).

And obviously, there are many cases where this argumentation is valid and every sane person would do the same, e.g. when the partner is getting violent, abuses alcohol, drugs, and so on. I feel even verbal aggression is enough: if your partner is calling you names in front of the kids, what kind of role models are you for them? In this case, if this is a regular thing rather than a single case, I feel it's better to part ways - and it will be better for kids.

appreciate the sarcasm tag. it's an interesting conclusion that people always focus on first (obviously because it's where most of the impact of that action goes). But that misses the point that staying together and living a lie (either to another, or to the kids, or both) can also be the bigger crime.

I wish there would be an easy retort such as "if it's toxic then get out", but generalizations never work.

When I was in a toxic relationship for 6 years already and had 2 kids under the age of 4 I wanted to get out badly and what prevented me what the judgement from others but also of my future self. So I stayed for another decade before it all imploded on its own. If I'd thrown in the the towel when my gut told me to I'd have never forgiven myself.

It's an impossible problem IMO in which there is no "correct" answer other than just "make a decision with the best intention and which are able to live with".

The sarcasm was because of the non-chalant tone of the commenter, that there are not other people’s lives to at least consider as consequences.

Sorry to hear of your situation. Agree, by no means are these issues clear cut in any way.

My parents fought like cats and dogs. I was relieved when they finally separated after 25 years. They were together because of me. I wish they weren't.

I wonder how that happens. Going from love to intolerance. It's weird that we can't just put feelings aside and do what's best for the kid.

Bill Gates negotiated into his marriage the right to take an annual beach house weekend with his ex-girlfriend.

Either Bill is really good negotiator or his wife wanted to desperately marry him.

> Bill Gates negotiated into his marriage the right to take an annual beach house weekend with his ex-girlfriend.

What's that now?

Yeah. That's right. Source in this thread.

He also listed the pro's and con's of marriage in a whiteboard when he made the decision. (Nothing wrong with that. More people should do that)

Or perhaps she trusts him and Ann.


http://content.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1120657,00.html (1997, by Walter Isaacson)

" Even now, Gates has an arrangement with his wife that he and Winblad can keep one vacation tradition alive. Every spring, as they have for more than a decade, Gates spends a long weekend with Winblad at her beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where they ride dune buggies, hang-glide and walk on the beach. "

That seems somewhat alien to me. I'd expect some kind of relationship insecurity. This kind of reminds me of that series Succession, where one of the running themes is that the hyper-rich clan considers themselves fundamentally distinct from the regular people.

Wishing them both the best of luck with this. It's a great reminder that despite having money, people can still run into difficult relationship issues.

I would argue that in wealth it is easier to separate, when people have safety cushion tolerating other side is not predominant virtue.

That's a really interesting point! I'd also imagine Bill and Melinda have had quite a bit of experience dealing with difficult situations as well as a bunch of active training, mentorship and assistance (being very high profile business people/philanthropists).

Is this going to be one very expensive separation, so if equal parts 65 bn each ?

Started out by copying Jobs, ended by copying Bezos.

Previously he stated that his children wont inherit lion share their fortune. They had no marriage contract. It could be that Melinda wanted their children to receive more, so now that she gets half, she can pass it to their children.

Wild ass guess

Huh. When I submitted this 11 hours ago it was flagged https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27031515

I can well imagine people flagging it for "Celebrity Divorce" not "Gratifying [their] intellectual curiosity", plus it's very widely reported on non-tech sources and not something with much to discuss.

I can see the "celeb divorce" angle leading to flagging, yet I think it gives insight into the character ("metodical ...") of one of the most important entrepreneurs in tech ...

... so, there's always something to be gained.-

  Sigh ...
  Spelling above. Sorry.-

Yes. I’m noticing that we seem to be having a decent discussion about divorce - the effects of divorce on children; how divorce after a long time is not the same as breaking up with a partner of just a few years; …

I like how if a story keeps getting flagged, but people still want to talk about the story, the people who flagged it have to see it so many times because it keeps getting resubmitted.

And if you use a much better interface like https://hckrnews.com nothing ever falls off the front page. xD

I didn't flag. But this is stupid human interest story.

> Melinda said she found Bill - methodical it seems even in matters of the heart - writing a list on a whiteboard with the "pros and the cons of getting married".

It seems that perhaps one of Bill Gates cons came to fruition.

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