Thursday, July 23, 2009
D I V O R C E
I guess it's because I grew up in the Donna Reed era. I believed in everything being forever. After all, my parents were married forever. We lived in the same house forever. My Dad had the same job forever. You know, it followed. So, when I got married, I just assumed it would be forever. And I was older when I got married, a ripe old 36. Presumably I knew what I was doing. While I won't go into the marriage or the relationship (yet), that's for another blog, somewhere down the line, I realized that this wasn't how I wanted to live my life, FOREVER. It wasn't the marriage I'd always hoped for. Yet, I maintained a sense of duty, of obligation, of commitment largely, as cliche as it sounds, for the children.
But it wasn't up to me. My husband left me. My initial reaction was absolute PANIC. I had a panic attack. Security, gone. Certainty, gone. Family, gone. Stability, gone. As I concluded later, I was shocked, but not surprised. For the last 5 years of my marriage, I guess I really knew that he'd leave. I was walking on eggshells. So, finally the eggshell had cracked.
My friends rallied. They listened, they comforted, they supported. Everyone assured me that I would be fine, in fact I'd be better than I'd ever been, happier. Upon hearing my fears of being a single parent, my sister said, "but Judy, you already are a single parent." A light went off. I really had been living the single life for years. And, it was fine.
A new feeling took the place of the panic. Relief. And an almost joyful anticipation. I remember walking around my house thinking about all the things that would be easier if I didn't have someone questioning me, criticizing me, second guessing me, and most of all, making me doubt myself at all turns. I made lists of all the ways in which things would be better.
I came to realize that my preconceived notions of divorce were really wrong. That it meant failure. That it would be the worst possible outcome for my children. A bad marriage SHOULD NOT BE FOREVER. Why punish everyone? It wasn't that we'd made a wrong choice from the beginning. My two amazing children are the proof of that. Rather that, somewhere along the way, our paths couldn't merge. As to who diverged from the marriage path is really not relevant. But diverge they did. So my childish notions of forever needed updating. Flexibility is more adaptive. Divorce needed a new attitude, one in which stigma isn't attached. That takes some real mental wrangling, but I'm living proof that sometimes it's the most thoughtful, psychologically healthy outcome.
And the really good news is, it only took me about 5 days for the clarity to come.
And, the rest is a story for another time.
Good day good people.
I promise a funnier blog next time.