I never wanted to get a divorce. I wanted my husband to hear and see me. I wanted us to find a way back to connection and kindness.
It, unfortunately, didn’t go that way.
My first mistake was telling him what the therapist said — not because I shouldn’t have told him what she said, but because I should have told him in my own power and my own words. My attempts to communicate fell flat. It was like there was a piece of plexiglass between us, muffling and distorting every exchange. It was impossible for us to truly connect.
I can’t even tell you what I wish I had done differently. Do I wish I had not filed for divorce? No… it seemed and felt like the only move I had left at the time. The thing is, I didn’t want to actually get divorced. I just wanted a clean slate. For us. I wanted he and I to start over, fresh.
For him, filing was giving up. For me, filing was my last hope.
Nobody seems to understand that. I know it sounds crazy. But our marriage was so damaged. There had been so much pain. There were so many tangled wires. It didn’t seem like reviving it was possible. When you’re at the end of a frayed rope, your logic can get skewed.
Nine months after I filed, we found ourselves in a counselor’s office to see about one last try. When she asked him what the problem was, he said that I had believed something my therapist told me. There I was, again, not being heard or seen. The problem wasn’t the thing that the therapist said or my experience. The problem was that I had believed what someone told me. Implication being that I could not think for myself and decide for myself how to feel about my marriage.
Do I wish I had gone ahead with those few more counseling sessions? No… I couldn’t move forward in that context. With the notion that the first problem that needed to be fixed was that I needed to “unbelieve” my experience.
For about another year, I watched as he stepped up in responsibility and took care of the home we once shared. I saw him undertake physical challenges and be more proactive for himself. And somehow, despite our divorce finalizing, I still maintained hope. That we could rebuild our marriage — even if only (at first) for the sake of our son. So I reached out to him again, and he said it was too late. He didn’t think a relationship was possible.
This weekend he proposed to his new girlfriend. And it hurts. It hurts like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. What about any of this is easy? What does “the easy way out” even mean? Is it easy to be a single parent? Is it easy to hear my son (age 4) tell me he wishes me and his dad were still married? Is it easy for me to hear my son tell me that he’s sad his dad and girlfriend are getting married? That he’s nervous for the wedding? That when my son is not with me on the weekends he’ll be with her? That she’ll be moving into what was once my home?
Does any of this strike you as easy?
There are things I have experienced in my post-married life that I never would have been able to experience had I stayed in that marriage. Good things. I’ve had a healthy, conscious and loving relationship. I’ve built my own business. I’ve grown and learned so much about loving myself.
But there is pain I have experienced here that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
If you have been through or are going through a divorce, I hope this helps you feel less alone. You’re never alone. Even when you feel more alone than you ever have.
It’s true that marriage is hard work. But so is undoing one. There’s no such thing as the easy way out.
You can cozy up in the developing Mama’s Corner over at KimCaloca.com. I’m brewing something special for you there.
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