11/08/2010 11:55 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Semi-Detached Parent: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

"What was the reason you split up?"

I was surprised when a friend I hadn't seen in ages asked me this. People aren't usually so direct. Most are desperate to know, but feel it's one of those questions they can't ask, a bit like 'What did so-and-so die of'? And it's a question that is usually swiftly followed by 'Was there anyone else involved?'.

Well of course there were other people involved; a split is never just about two people, is it?

There is always a whole cast of background artists, extras and crew. Doubly so if you have children. And there's never just one reason for a split is there? One thing does not cause a relationship to fail, usually, even if someone has had an affair or a fling; there are usually a multitude of reasons behind it.

For me, it was the combination and the culmination of lots of little things: wild incompatibility on everything from politics to pop, housework to holidays. Constant rows. Lack of intimacy. A permanent 'atmosphere' in the house. It suddenly all became too much to bear. And even the one thing that cemented us together as a family – our son - was not strong enough to hold us together emotionally or romantically.

I didn't deal with my concerns in the nicest or most decent of ways, I admit, but at the time, I did what I felt compelled to do. Driven to.

So how did I answer my friend's question?

With a shrug and a murmur of, "Life, I guess."