People are not always happy in their relationship, even when they are married.
What sometimes turns out to be a problem is a personality clash, although it’s weird that the people don’t get to know each other well enough to see what kind of person they are getting married to. Most couples go through (= experience) difficult periods, they are just people. They have arguments or rows, when things get more serious (= conflicts). One of the partners may have an affair and so betray their husband or wife (= regularly meet another man or woman they are attracted to). That’s usually the beginning of the end. The unfaithful partner wishes things were the way they used to be, but it’s usually too late then. People split up (= stop being together), when they don’t wish to live together any longer, then one of them asks for a divorce or they both take a decision about getting divorced (= they officially want to stop being a marriage).
Things are relatively easy when there are no kids yet, because it’s children who suffer most. With kids, one of the parents is granted custody of the children (= is the one to look after the children) by the court and the other one is given the right to spend some time with the children and is obliged to pay alimony, which is the money that is supposed to help the ex-husband/wife bring up the children.


More contexts for the new words: 

  • I’ve had enough of you quarrelling all the time! I wish you were nicer to each other. 

(= having arguments) 

  • Betrayal is one of the reasons why people get divorced. 

(= the fact of betraying your partner, being unfaithful to him/her) 



Write words and expressions next to their definitions.


  1. ……………………………….. = the legal right to take care of a child
  2. ……………………………….. = a relationship outside your marriage
  3. ……………………………….. = to end a relationship
  4. ……………………………….. = to end a marriage
  5. ……………………………….. = an argument
  6. ……………………………….. = money paid to your ex to help them bring up children



Match the question halves. Then answer the questions.


  1. Is it true that men have more affairs                    a. than women? Why/ why not?
  2. Should the mother always get custody                b. alimony? Why/ why not? 
  3. Should rich people receive                                     c. of the child after divorce? Why/ why not?





We have already learnt how to use I WISH for criticizing someone/annoying behaviour and for expressing regrets about the past. Today we’ll see how to use I WISH when talking about the present and things we don’t like about the present.

In the lesson we could read that:
’The unfaithful partner wishes things were the way they used to be.’
and later:
’I wish you were
nicer to each other.’

In the first example, the unfaithful partner is sorry about the present situation (his wife not talking to him, drifting apart from her) and would like the present state of things to be completely different. Similarly, the speaker in the second sentence is not happy about the fact that two people are not nice to each other.

When you regret (= you are sorry about) a present situation, you use:



I wish I had more money. I could buy a new car then. (= I don’t have enough money)
I wish you were here with me. (= you are not with me)
Linda wishes her son could play the piano. (= he can’t play the piano)
Mark wishes he knew Cher in person. (= he doesn’t know Cher)





A/ I’ve heard that Susan has finally filed for divorce.

B/ Good for her! After years of being cheated on, she finally TOOK THE PLUNGE.


When you take the plunge, you finally do something important, difficult, or dangerous after thinking about it.






  1. When you HIT ON somebody, you try to start a conversation with someone because you are sexually attracted to them.


His divorce isn’t final yet, and he is already hitting on new girls at the bar!

Some bloke hit on me while I was standing at the bar.


  1. When you DO WITHOUT something, you manage to live without it.


After getting divorced, you just have to do without your husband.

There’s no more cream, so I guess we’ll just have to do without.



Complete the mini-story by putting one word into each gap.


John and Mary were very much in love, so after knowing each other for only a month they took the ……………………… and got married. However, John soon started hitting ………………… other girls that he met on his business trips. When Mary found out, she thought, ‘Ah, well, I’ll just have to learn to do …………………… him.’ And she filed for divorce.







Jessica Simmons, a single mum from Lancashire, has just completed another year of unsuccessful battle for alimony.

It has been two years since little Rosie Simmons was born. Her father, Jack Hog, was never married to Jessica, but he also never denied fatherhood. He claimed that he would help support the child – but that was before Rosie was born.

Since the girl’s birth, Jack has changed his tune, and refused to help the mother financially. When Jessica sued him and asked the court to award her the alimony, Jack started playing cat and mouse with the judge. Whenever a hearing was scheduled, he produced an illness certificate. He went on numerous business trips abroad, and he even started claiming that the child is not his.

In the meantime, Jessica and Rosie are struggling to make ends meet.



changed his tune – started saying sth different

playing cat and mouse – running away and catching

a hearing – an official meeting in court

struggling – fighting

make ends meet – survive financially


download lesson (pdf)





  1. custody
  2. an affair
  3. to split up
  4. to get divorced
  5. a row
  6. alimony



  1. a
  2. c
  3. b



plunge, on, without