Our marriage was the kind that everyone on the outside said they’d hoped their’s would be someday. We laughed and had fun, and generally enjoyed each other’s company. A few years and two kids later things changed. We changed. We didn’t change together. We very much changed apart and let it lie, just under the surface, while we ignored it. Then one night, on a treadmill in the gym at my work while watching a “Friends”, my inner voice screamed at me so loud I had to jump and put each foot on the side of the treadmill. “YOU DON’T LOVE HIM” it yelled. I heard it and I knew. I went home that night and he told me, as I walked in the door, that I looked like I’d just seen a ghost. That night, after the kids went to bed I calmly sat him down and told him. He was so mad at me. I told him that I knew I should love him and that I knew I sounded ridiculous, and that I was going to go see a therapist about it to sort it out. He was the perfect husband. My friends wished their husbands were like mine. I hated myself for not loving him. How could I be so selfish that someone who was so good to me wasn’t good enough for me?
Flash forward a few months and several therapy sessions later and I knew in my heart of hearts that I did not love him and he did not deserve to be married to someone who did not love him. I asked for a divorce. He reluctantly acquiesced and we, as a united front, came up with a plan for telling everyone in our lives as well as a plan for the future and for the future of our children. The entire time I planned on taking the high road. I was the one who wanted this and I needed to let my husband, soon to be ex-husband, get to a good place. If he’s happy, our kids will be happier. We live in Massachusetts. It’s a state, that if two people want to amicably divorce and come up with a plan that is fair and beneficial to everyone, the judge will grant it. We decided to officially split in June, took the summer off for the beach, then in September met with a mediator to work out our plan. We went before the judge in December and our divorce was granted. Throughout the process we each took the high road. It wasn’t always easy and when he derailed a bit, I just took it, and later, without my prompting, he sat me down and apologized to me for his behavior. It meant the world to me. We decided, because we both work and are both highly employable, that we would not do alimony or child support. We each contribute the same amount to a joint account which pays for childcare, sports, college funds and camp for our children. We easily came up with a 50/50 schedule (I’m Monday, Tuesday, he’s Wednesday, Thursday and we each take every other Friday, Saturday, Sunday). We live about three miles apart. The plan works for us.
A few months after we split, but before we were officially before the judge to divorce, he connected with someone in a way he didn’t think possible. For the first time in a long time, he was happy. She was extremely open minded. 4 years later they are still together and she is a legitimate member of our team. Often times people asked if I was upset he met someone so soon after we split, or if he’d really been with her long before. I laughed at that. Are you kidding? I didn’t love him anymore, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t deserve to be loved. She’s amazing to my children and they truly love her. At our children’s sporting events we all stand together and cheer them on. Our kids are happy, healthy, thriving, and extremely comfortable in our family environment. So why did we take the high road again? For them. Everything is for them.
I urge you, if you are thinking of splitting, or are already in the process, have some empathy. For your partner. For your children. It’s not an easy process and too often people selfishly act out on their partners. Imagine, if you are a child, loving your parents so much, but knowing that the two people you love the most absolutely hate each other? It’s too much for children to bear. Sometimes people are happy together forever. More often, they grow…differently, and a change needs to be made. It’s not their fault. It’s not your fault. It’s life. And life is ever changing. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. The high road may seem impossibly long, but I assure you, you’ll be thankful in the end. Approach everything with love and empathy. Life is easy after that.
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