BREAKUP: Enduring divorce

Biographies & Memoirs

By Leo Averbach


ABOUT Leo Averbach

Leo Averbach

I was born and raised in South Africa, lived on a kibbutz in Israel for 5 years before moving to London.  I was married for 20 years, fathered 3 children and then divorced.  After remarrying I returned to Israel and now live in the Jerusalem Hills, where I write and run a pottery More...



Breakup is a brutally honest and unusual divorce memoir, written as a journal in real time. Averbach's narrative interweaves his ordeal with his psychotherapy in a deeply- reflective, intimate manner. His concomitant process of transformation gives Breakup a far-reaching significance that is quite compelling.

The Genesis of BREAKUP, my book. The journal I kept at the time of my divorce, written in real-time in London in the early nineties, eventually became my book BREAKUP. This journal, a chronicle of the breakup of my marriage, is exceptional in two respects: 1) I have gone back to read it, and, 2) It stretches to almost two thousand pages, covering a period of about six years. My marriage took a long time to unravel and there was plenty to write about. And a great need to write. During my mid-forties I was feeling low, a sort of dark night of the soul. My work situation was unsatisfactory and my relationship with my wife was at a low ebb after eighteen years together. As a way of dealing with my predicament I decided to go into therapy and immediately began to record my sessions with my therapist. This was the start of my journal. To my dismay, after a few months of weekly sessions I began to suspect that my wife was having an affair and I confronted her. My suspicions proved correct: she had begun a relationship with a work colleague two months earlier. Shock. The world seemed to collapse around me as I reeled from the blow. I was thrown into turmoil, shaken to the core. I ached and agonized as the implications of the revelation gradually became clear. What I was experiencing immediately expressed itself in my journal and I began to write furiously to keep pace with events. Every day, at all hours, I poured my heart and soul into my journal, unexpurgated and unfiltered. I just wrote, page after page. Sometimes the writing took the form of reams of flowing prose. At others it appeared as telegraphic notes, numbers or even doodles and symbols. From elegant script to an almost illegible, crude scrawl, it faithfully reflected the fluctuations of my mood. I had to get my feelings out of my system and onto the paper. The very act of writing was cathartic; things written suddenly assumed a clarity that was absent before. In short, my journal became my veritable "shoulder to cry on," my refuge, my confidant. Of course I continued recording my therapy sessions as well. Frequently it is difficult to know where the therapy ends and where "life" begins. As my wife and I went through the torture of alternately trying to split up and battling to stay together, on and off over a period of a few years, I would religiously go to my journal and transfer to the page what had happened. It is my version that exists, not my ex-wife's. It is subjective and one-sided, maybe in the extreme, in this case. However, for all its shortcomings, it has the virtue of being a brutally honest record of what I felt and thought at the time. It is an account of marital disintegration executed from the inside, with all its agony and pain, as well as being a testament to my process of transformation, leading to a new life. I left London in 1998 and stored the twelve thick files plus umpteen little notebooks in a friend's garage in Muswell Hill. In July 2005, while sitting on the veranda of my pottery studio in the Jerusalem hills, I was inspired to resurrect my journal as a book. When next in London I boldly decided to have all two thousand pages scanned onto a disc. I then disposed of them by putting them into a paper recycling bin. Somehow this act symbolically terminated the journal's direct, emotional association with the breakup of my marriage and placed it in less emotionally-laden territory. Back home in Israel I began to type up on my computer the contents of the journal, which I could now see digitalized on an adjacent screen. Given the great length, the multiple, obsessive repetitions and the excessive detailing, I had to exclude a lot if I wanted it to approximate a standard book. So I cut the text drastically; nothing was added. As to distancing me from the trauma, the digitalized format from the disc failed to keep all my emotions at bay. Despite the time lapse of some fifteen years, rereading the journal upset me. Over the next two years I continued cropping the text. It now stands at 290 pages, just over 100,000 words – a good length. In the meantime I have added a prologue as background, a short introduction and an epilogue, divided the text into chapters and made some minor cosmetic alterations to facilitate reading. It has also undergone copy-editing. Essentially BREAKUP, my book, is taken word-for-word from my original journal, dates and all. Website: Twitter:

"Leo Averbach relates the process of experiencing the hurt, anger, and pain of betrayal and loss in full and uncut." - Deborah L. Baker. Reader's Choice.

"...a sensitive, insightful, detailed and inspiring book." - Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. Psychotherapist and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

"Leo Averbach has been there...inside the hell of divorce." - David Knox, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology at East Carolina University, Marriage and Family Therapist. 

"Gritty and powerful, Breakup is an emotion-filled, heartrending read." - Cherie Mangum. Apex Reviews.


"Very well written and documented. It was revealing to have such an intimate male perspective with its perceptive exposure of male attitudes and vulnerabilities." – Norman Silver. Amazon Reviews.


"This book will give you perspective to see you are not the only one struggling to make this life-changing decision – to end your marriage." – Kristi Leeper-Hensley. Divorce to Happiness.