Sunday, December 12, 2010

On Being Divorced

(On a side note: I wrote this a few days ago. To some it may seem raw. To me it is just who I am and how I feel. It isn't meant to offend anyone. It's meant to help anyone who is contemplating divorce. In the last seven years and really, in the last few weeks, I have encountered so, so many people who are either thinking about divorce or going through it. This is just my experience and my thoughts. It's all from my heart. Please be gentle with it.)

Monday will mark the seventh "anniversary" of the finality of my marriage. It's hard to fathom it's really been that long. Some days it seems like it was just yesterday and some days it seems like the marriage never even happened. It's nice to be where I am today, emotionally void of all that anger and bitterness. I am just at a sort of "void of emotion" spot where the past life is barely a memory and the present is a new day every day I wake up.

I take situations much more laid back than I did in the past. Now, it still really pisses me off when I feel like my kids get the short end of the stick and aren't as important as the party that is planned on a weekend that is supposed to be set aside for kids. It's really not hard to figure out how to plan your social schedule. It's like just knowing for a very long time that these are the two (and sometimes three) weekends that you have your kids. You only see them twice a month. Plan something to do with them, not with your friends - idiot. So I digress. Divorce is what it is. Smelly, stinky, ugly and disgusting. There is nothing pretty about it - except that maybe one (and on occasion both) parent(s) emerge happier and healthier than they would have been had they stayed together.

To those of you who have questioned and never been brave enough to ask, I have not one day of regret in divorcing the man I spent 20 years of my life with. My only regret is that I didn't learn the relationship skills that I have now way back then and maybe, JUST maybe, our marriage would have survived. But then again, that would have taken two people changing and in the equation I found myself in, one person (not naming names) wasn't willing to change. The justifying part of this is that, to this day, he still hasn't changed so my bet was right and, in the end, I did the right thing for my kids.

Other divorces, my own parents, was a very integral part in why I decided to end my own marriage. My parents were married for 33 years when my dad had had enough and left and then 34 years when the divorce was finalized. I lived my childhood in a house that was cold and void of true affection. My parents went throughout their days playing the part of being married and being parents. I don't know when they quit being in love or honestly - if they were ever in love. I do remember, at the age of 13, writing a letter to Ann Landers telling her that my parents were obviously not in love with each other and how should I go about getting them to see this and move on....divorce and just move on. I never sent the letter.

Ten years later, I am pregnant with my first child, about to have a baby shower at my parent's house, and my mom calls to inform me that, as soon as the party is over, my dad will be moving out. Oh, did I mention my husband was in the hospital for agoraphobia?? Yeah, great timing. So there I am feeling relieved that my parents were finally going to separate and find themselves again and yet I was about to have a baby and my husband was in lock-up. It's all a distant memory now, but the whole situation had a huge baring on my decision to file for divorce. I was not going to live a life of unhappiness just to keep the family together. I wanted better for my kids. I resented my parents for putting us through the facade of their marriage. I didn't want my children to ever feel the same way about me.

Do they resent the divorce? You will have to ask them. As they get older, we talk about it and, for the most part, I have been told they understand and do see things are much better than they would have been had I stayed. Do they wish we were all still a family? Again, you would have to ask them, but I would assume yes. I mean, really? Who wants their parents divorced? I wish my parents were still together and happy and that we were the Brady Bunch forever, but that's not what happened. I am happy where I am. I love my dad and my stepmom. I love my mom as much as I can considering the current situation. I wish she had found someone to take care of her. I wish she had found out how wonderful it can be to have the companionship of a man that isn't your son. But she seems to be happy so good for her.

So for anyone out there who is thinking about divorce, knows someone who is thinking about divorce or is going through a divorce, just know that it's a life-changing decision. And while things can certainly be better, that's not always the case. I most definitely feel very blessed that my kids have come through amazingly, but that doesn't always happen. I feel I went through the things that I did to be able to "counsel" other people who need someone to share their feelings with, so if you want to talk, I would love to listen. You may not like what you hear, though. Just know that I speak from my heart. I do not mince words and I will most likely tell you to work as hard as humanly possible to make things work before you bail.
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