Prior to my current status as “separated” or “scorned woman” or “single” or whatever you want to call it, I had a different view of divorce. My view was simplistic. Two people didn’t get along, or one of them failed in horrible ways, so they decided to divorce. Usually, from an outsider’s point, it seemed like a gradual, proper solution to unhappiness. Sometimes it seemed like a necessary solution due to some sort of scandal–infidelity or abuse. Other times, it seemed completely off the wall and out of the blue and just, well, sad.
What I’m here to say is this, what they don’t tell you: divorce is fucking horrible. Horrible.
It’s such a common occurence in our society–people separating after just a few years of marriage, quitting when the going gets tough. Couples unable to ride out the burdens that child rearing place on a marriage. Long-term marriages that fizzle out or never had a flame to begin with. It’s just such a normal, typical, everyday kind of thing. Until you’re in it.
Here is what divorce is:
Divorce is fucking expensive. As of now, this divorce has cost me more financially than our wedding did. And it’s not even begun.
Divorce is traumatic. It’s the demolition of a family unit, especially when there are kids involved. Its the stripping away of security, familiarity, and any sense of trust you might have had.
Divorce is selective. There’s the people who are still married, or who haven’t married yet, or who have no intentions of marrying. They have sympathy but cannot express empathy. Those who’ve been divorced in a civil or mutual way…they can understand the sadness. But truly, only those who’ve been betrayed and/or watched someone they once trusted with everything turn on them can understand just how bad divorcing a cheating, lying, narcissistic asshole can be.
Divorce is scary. Especially after years of having someone else, a person in your corner, a partner, someone beside you even if they were never fully there. To suddenly be alone, 100% responsible for yourself, and no one else but you to make all the big bad scary grown up decisions. It’s terrifying to me, quite honestly. It doesn’t matter how many people are in my corner and helping me now. It doesn’t matter that I will always have my family and my friends and my children (it does, but follow me here). There’s something very raw and scary about being alone at the end of the day. If you make the wrong choice, you fucked it up. When things go bad, there is no one to laugh about it with and pick yourself up with at the end of the day. But.
There is a liberation that comes with this, in the smallest and biggest of ways. People also don’t tell you this part of divorce. That even in the worst moments, there is a huge, wonderful feeling of just being able to be. Even if I’m crying, even if I’m in mismatched pajamas and I haven’t showered in two days and my house is a wreck and my car’s in the shop and I may or may not be drinking wine with my dog again.
There’s a liberation in choosing what I want to do, without having to consult anyone else or consider anyone else.
There’s a difference in being alone because the other person isn’t present, and being alone because you have to be. My aunt told me awhile ago, after suffering years of marriage to a man very similar to PC, that the best thing that could have happened to her was that she learned to be alone. It was then, in those quiet, solitary moments that she remembered who she was and knew what she wanted.
I’m light years from that.
I’m at a point where texts from PC still unhinge me. Even though I know better. Even though I know he is crazy, delusional, trying to push my buttons. I’m at a point where one day I’m like, yeah! I got my shit together! because I packed a few boxes and grocery shopped and mowed the lawn. And the very next day I’m ready to bash my head on a brick wall just to get some clarity and dull the anxiety. A point where I’m still walking a tightrope and at any moment I could just drop off, free fall, and smash into smithereens…or I could recollect myself, continue walking, and triumph. It’s a crapshoot, for sure.
I’m at a point where I feel myself turning inward. Instead of wanting to share all the details, I want to ignore them. I want them to go away. I have a tier of people who I express myself to, and it grows smaller all the time. It becomes harder and harder to divulge my feelings to others because, well, its been 6 months (nearly). I should be past that point, right?
Except of course, I am not. Another thing they don’t tell you about divorce. That you will wake up on random days and forget for a second and then be flooded with a rage of conflict of oh my god I can’t believe I’m alone and oh my god! I’m free! That you won’t be able to shake 17 years no matter how horrible PC is. That you may be able to walk your kids outside and face his girlfriend, his mistress–the Trollup–but however cool you may have sounded you were shaking and unnerved inside. That things will hit you out of nowhere…passing an exit to Virginia Beach and resurfacing a memory that is 15 years old, when you were young and carefree and you ran down the street in the rain holding hands.
What they don’t tell you; is the person who pulled you along on that rainy night, laughing as you ducked into a bar at 1 a.m. and the person who hid wine bottles and made you a scavenger hunt one Christmas morning and the person who spent one winter in a mad chess tournament with you each night is not the person who is divorcing you. Not even close.
That person is someone else, someone new, someone who was able to throw all of those little memories away and completely fuck you over at every bend in the road. That is a person who respected you so little that he went behind your back and now wants to ruin your life because his little plan didn’t work out. That is not the same person who called you funny nicknames and promised you a life. That person doesn’t exist anymore.
And so part of the liberation comes from realizing this. Realizing it and living it are two different things, of course. Part of the liberation comes from thinking of all the things that bothered me…how he always walked ahead of me, not next to me. How he didn’t really care for animals. How he always had to have the goddamn house at arctic temps. How he never got up in the morning or shared meals or coffee or really, much of anything with me. All of that? Not my problem anymore. I am free to do what I want.
In a nutshell, divorce is a lot of things. I don’t recommend it…but in this case…maybe, just maybe, it will be the best thing that ever happened to me.