A few months ago, I received the divorce decree in the mail. It had been a long drawn out process that took more time than it should have taken. Even so, it’s over, finally. I felt such a weight lifted off my shoulders.
It’s been an interesting year as we regained our footing. Now I feel like the boys and I have figured things out. I had too many plates spinning, as a friend of mine put it, and I had to decide which things to drop and which things to continue doing. I think I may have added a few more plates these past few weeks but I feel confident in ramping things up again.
To look back at the past year, I am struck by how rapidly a relationship can deconstruct. When the split happened, I was deluding myself for so long that I really didn’t see things for how they were. There were clearly issues but I had slipped into some sort of complacency instead of dealing with things. If I looked at things honestly, my marriage had been on serious life support and I didn’t have the guts to pull the plug. That is, until I got the swift kick in the ass that woke me up. I realized that I will tolerate a lot more than I’m willing to admit but I still have those wrongs that I consider to be complete betrayals and unforgivable. In my 20s, I would have fury and revenge, but in my 30s I’ve decided some shit is just not worth dealing with. I’d much rather just light the metaphorical fire and walk away while it burns behind me.
So how does a 10 year relationship dissolve? Painfully at first. There’s the confusion and hurt that sets in. I spent many nights sobbing and not eating and wishing things were back to “normal” while everyone around me assured me “This is a GOOD thing”. Having everyone tell you “You know, we never liked him anyway” at that point does not make anything feel better. Instead I felt like an idiot as I clearly did not see what everyone else around me can. Love can add some serious blinders to one’s outlook. Complacency adds blackout curtains over those blinders. When I finally was finished crying everywhere possible in front of every unfortunate person to cross my path at the wrong time, I was able to get my head clear. I knew what needed to be done to move on. It didn’t make things easier. There’s the promise of always being friends but then the cold realization that there is no basis for a friendship – so how the hell was anything else there? Add a lawyer and divorce papers to the mix and suddenly the “we’ll always be friends” turns into a sloppy fight for survival. I’m told “you were a great wife” while my attorney is told all sorts of shit I never actually did. That was the greatest eye-opener ever. Luckily for me, my attorney is a wonderful person with the ability to discern bullshit so it wasn’t so much a problem for me as it was more unnecessary expense. It’s really hard to turn off feelings after 10 years. But then one day, they are just off for good. No doubt the barrage of personal attacks against my character helped speed things along. There was that moment of “Holy shit, I have NO idea who I was married to all this time.” I had to laugh at things, else I was going to risk falling apart again. At some point, I noticed a significant shift in what I was feeling and thinking. I no longer went to my therapist because of the divorce or how my ex made me feel because aside from frustration, I felt nothing towards him. I was going to therapy to deal with my own shit. This mountain of emotion that seemed so impossible to get over had completely dissolved to nothing. I had arrived to the “I don’t even want to know this person” stage. All I needed was the official papers saying I no longer had any ties to this person to make it feel over once and for all.
I’m okay now. I repeated to myself time and time again that things were going to be “okay” and now I see that they are. I can breathe. I can feel joy that I hadn’t felt in a long time. That chapter in my life is finished and I can look forward to the next chapter. I don’t know what that chapter will bring, and I’m okay with that. I’ve always viewed life as an adventure, and what adventure is worth having if you already know every twist and turn to come?