Once upon a time, I dreamed that I would meet a prince, get married, have a closet full of yoga pants to accommodate the ass stretched out by birthing a litter of babies, and live sleepily ever after.
Truth be told, reality wasn’t too far off. I did meet a great guy who ran away with me to Las Vegas to get married, and I owned two pairs of yoga pants; one for each kid I had.
This past year, the bliss-induced glow around my marriage turned a patina of green as I made a harsh realization; I was miserable.
I don’t know how it happened. At first, I thought it was stress or exhaustion and I told myself if I could just pull myself together I would be all right. But, even after 8 hours of sleep and rage-releasing exercise, the ennui remained.
Day after day, I tried to “be better;” to be the wife and mother I thought I should be. And every day, I failed. I snapped at the kids, argued with my husband, and yelled at the dogs when I tripped over them.
I was in full twat-mode and barreling down a self-destructive path.
When I found myself acting like single 22-year-old, going out of town and waking up with a raging hangover, I knew things had to change. This was not the normal behavior of a 36-year-old mother of two.
I turned the bright light of introspection on myself and damn near seared my retinas out of my head.
The perfect guy, was actually absent emotionally from our marriage, and I, in turn, closed myself off from him.
I felt relegated to the same status as the kids; something to pat on the head and be told how good they are.
Instead of playing the part of kid number 3, I decided to slap on my big girl pants and separate from my husband.
Holy sweet baby Jesus in a tree. That was a horrible time. I questioned every choice I made, sure I was screwing my kids up and ruining my life.
Should I save up for therapy, or incarcerate them now, Minority Report-style, because they would end up serial killers with the trauma I inflicted?
Eventually, after spending a soul-stripping amount of time with myself, I knew I made the right choice.
I was lighter than I had been in months, because I no longer felt the weight of indecision pinning me down.
I also began to realize that I was a pretty amazing woman who deserved to have someone ever-present in their life.
Is everything perfect now that I am divorced? No. My kids are still sad that I am not married to their father, and truth be told, there are times when I am too. Not because I think I should still be with him, but because I grieve for the 26-year-old bride who thought she was running away with her prince to live happily ever after.
I wish to God she had been right. Even though she wasn’t, I am ok with that, because her 36-year-old self is more than capable of taking care of everything.
16 responses to “There’s Nothing Like an Old-Fashioned Divorce”
That was one of the most searingly honest thing I’ve read. I’m sorry for the hardships you’ve faced this year but applaud your effort to make the right decisions for you and your kids. (And may I recommend a gorgeous WordPress blog that talks about divorce and coming out on the other side? Must Be This Tall To Ride. He’s a terrific writer who has really dissected why people are who they are in marriage and out. Always thought-provoking, generally moving and sometimes even funny. Just in case you’re looking for validation, introspection or a chuckle. Also, he’s single. Just saying… Too soon?) Wishing you good things for 2016.
Thank you so much! Yeah, it has been a year, but it was just the kick in the ass I needed. And I’ll definitely check out that blog!;)
Divorce is really, really hard. And being a single parent is really hard.
But the peace that comes from no longer being married to the wrong person – ahhhhhh.
No harm in going out and acting like a 22 year old. As long as it’s only once in a while 🙂
This is very true. Everything is better in moderation. 🙂
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I couldn’t *like* this post because you talked about a time that was difficult, sad, heart-wrenching … but it was also very brave.
In the end, children remember whether their parents were happy. That simple feeling permeates everything.
Best wishes for 2016. Hope it is filled with love, contentment, and peace after such a turbulent 2015.
I hope so. All I want is for my kids to be ok in the long-term and once the stress dies down, I’m sure they will recover.
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Wonderfully open post. Sounds exactly like where I was five years ago. I can tell you from five years down the road that things get brighter and the worries about the children dim. My kids will never be thrilled that I left their dad, but they are both happy and successful and know that they are loved by both of their parents.
They are also very aware that their mom is much happier and that she has much more emotional energy for them than she used to (and, as my then 8-year-old once said, “isn’t so yelly anymore”).
Thank you for giving me hope! 🙂
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I’m sorry you had to go through this. But good for you for taking care of yourself and writing about it. Here’s to future, and present, happiness!
Yep. About to turn 34 woth 2 kids (10 & 6) and I moved out a month ago. Cried the first night in our new place….not from sadness but relief…..and then the intrusive thoughts like, “Holy s#%! what am I going to do now?” In that moment of relief I suddenly understood that I’d been suffocating and somehow it had become an accepted part of my daily existence.
Last night husband asked if I left because I wanted to find/or had found someone else. My reply, “You don’t need to worry about me finding someone new; your concern should be me discovering that I’d rather be alone than around you.”
Thank you for sharing and please pass me a wine glass because I’m determined to locate (in moving box jungle), unpack and decorate that tree before Christmas of this year…..hopefully.
I have a feeling you are going to find that tree and make this a very special Christmas for your kids. I’ll even send you a whole box of wine!
This echoed so many emotions for me – I had been miserable in our marriage for years and years, and when it became apparent my husband wasn’t going to work on himself (he actually told our marriage counselor once that I “was the sick one and when she gets her shit together, then things will be fine.”) I started talking divorce. But I wasn’t as brave as you – at 52 years old, it scared the crap out of me to think about trying to make it on my own and I was convinced no one would ever want me. One day, when I was sobbing and begging him to work on the marriage and himself, he took the decision out of my hands and left me. It was terrifying, heartbreaking, and lonely. But after a year and a half, I’m so glad that it happened. I feel an incredible sense of peace, I love not having to tailor my responses and actions in order to prevent blow ups, I think it is great that I can come home and have popcorn for dinner if that’s what I want. I’ve made some major moves in my career and, while I haven’t found “true love” (whatever that is) – I’m OK with that. My blog helped me keep my sanity during the craziness – it does wonders to write, get everything out and get so much support back. I think you’ll find the same – we’re all pulling for you!
I have been overwhelmed by the support. I honestly never expected it.
And I am totally stealing your idea of having popcorn for dinner; it sounds delightfully decadent! 🙂
I really really really appreciate your honesty. I get so tired of hearing (and seeing on FB) all the perfect families out there and sometimes relationships don’t work and sometimes you walk away as I have and it took me years to find someone that was right for me.
As someone who has survived a divorce, raised three wonderful sons who are following their dreams, and has remarried, I wish that I would have had someone/something to turn to, like your honest post, when I was going through my marital breakdown almost 20 years ago. The pain is real as is coming out the other side. While I do not know how I stumbled across your blog, I certainly am glad that I did. Thank you for sharing.
Tales from the Cabbage Patch