I have been divorced for four years now, I have a good friend who has been divorced for two years, and another friend who has only just begun (past mediation, and in court because mediation did not work).
I realized yesterday, and again today there are some very critical steps that are taken or experienced before, during, and after a divorce. Whether you are the divorcer or divorcee, you will in some shape or fashion experience these things in some fashion.
When you are the divorcer in some aspects and depending on your situation you have an edge. My divorce was not bitter (at least not to me), bottom line I was not happy, the relationship had become stagnant, it was time to make a change. I tried marriage counseling, that was a waste of time and money (does it ever work for anyone?). I spent many hours meditating on the subject, self reflecting, I wanted to be sure absolutely 100% no margin for error certain that divorce was the only way to fix my problem. I hear you say “what was your problem?” It had become evident all around me that I was unhappy, or at least I was more aware of what other people were saying to me about my unhappiness, and I found myself longing for something else (no silly I had no idea what, just that what I had was not working). I began looking for ways to emphasize or accentuate the differences between us. Everyone always said I was hard on my ex-husband, he never did grasp the little or big things that worked for me, or what did not work. He was more simple, food, sex, and sports on tv and he was in his own element.
Perhaps he was too simple for me, I tried to get him to understand it takes more than good food, and sex to keep a marriage working. Marriage has to be a team of two people working together with the same goal (or at least similar). To this day I do not begrudge him, I resent him sometimes in relation to parenting, his idea of parenting is being the kids buddy, and doing or getting because someone says “I WANT”, grow up already.
I had an incredible burden of guilt (I am Jewish), no I did not have any infidelities, I believe in my heart he did. I still to this day do not know what I had guilt about, I just remember being burdened by it. Guilt can impact people in different ways, I choose to face my guilt and deal with it before it can become an ugly monster.
Fear, fear about everything, am I making the right choice, am I making the best choice, what will happen, what wont happen, how will I survive after, who will I be after ( yes your identity changes after a divorce, not just your name). who wont I be (who have I been). Then one day after many many days of depressed sleeping I woke up and said to myself “get a grip, you are still you just older, and more experienced”.
Anger, ooo baby I bet each one of you even if you have not experienced a divorce can imagine this one. It seems there are always more reasons to get angry than not, and when a team is splitting up that has shared intimacy watch out the angry monsters get ugly. Many years ago I had an epiphany about my anger, I realized that harboring anger is a waste of time and energy. I was never going to achieve success if I was angry so I put the anger aside (my knack for sarcasm is not out of anger, it is just dry humor). To the best of my knowledge my ex did not cheat physically (I believe her cheated emotionally, and I know he cheated mentally), so I was able to bypass that unpleasant component to divorce.
Elation, heck yeah I felt elated when I realized the days a marriage darkness were behind me. I was not happy per say, moving in a different direction in life in a better environment.
Pain, it hurt. A part of my life that I chose was ending, a chapter in my book of life closing. It hurt that I was unsuccessful, I will not call it a failure because the marriage produced two amazing and beautiful children.
Relief that a dark time of my life was over, relief that I would no longer have to fake anything anymore. Relief that a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Relief that I was not entrenched in a miserable situation, I was breaking free from a constricting suffocating relationship. You see he began accusing me of all the wrong doings (or was it his guilt, I dunno, I don’t care now), while I had run out of energy in keeping the marriage afloat I did not leave the marriage in any capacity until he moved out of the house. Then I simply changed patterns and methods to incorporate one person to do everything (same a when I was married but different) instead of two pretending like they are participating. Relief that I would no longer have to “perform wifely duties”, that was probably one of the biggest things for me.
Now four years after my divorce I do not regret what I did, not sure I would have changed anything either. Well maybe one thing, I would have moved further away so as not to have to share parenting, and less visits to wreak havoc on me. I also realize that there are bonds shared in different relationships, with my wimmin friends I am part of a “club” so to speak. Wimmin bond over experiences, marriage, childbirth, death of one or both parents, divorce, career, etc. My wimmin friends have changed in the past four years, I realized my current circle of friends primarily consist of divorced wimmin, not all but most. I do not pretend to understand this, but given time I will.
More later another day on this subject. Life is good I am alive breathing, I have food in my belly, a roof over my head, my kids are tucked in bed having silly happy dreams of gumballs falling from the sky.