Posted by: Shell | October 17, 2013

You Should Get a Divorce

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In October of 2012, something life-altering happened.  I left my husband.  25 years of a growing feeling of mediocrity and emotional abandonment that I endured “for the good of the children” ended in someone shaking me by the proverbial shoulders.

That’s what I want to do now to everyone.  Like a newly converted Christian or a staunch vegetarian that can’t help herself from accosting people that eat meat, I suddenly understand the urge to proselytize.   You should get a divorce.

I’ve learned a few things from my practice marriage.

1.  If you’re thinking about leaving, getting a separation, or divorce, you’ve already decided.  If you’re just waiting for justification, don’t.  Waiting for someone to screw up does nothing but make you look forward to them screwing up.  You keep a mental tally sheet.  You memorize injustices.  You build an arsenal.  Living in resentment and disappointment is no way to live – especially if you’re intentionally creating it for yourself.

2.  You need to talk about it.  I kept years of unhappiness hidden.  My reward was a never ending collection of anxiety disorders.  It’s a year later and I’m only just now opening up to friends about what I went through.  Since my ex and I have so many mutual friends, I was hesitant to do this but in a moment of complete anger and despair, I went off publicly.  I used words that I don’t even think have been categorized as profanities yet and created some new ones.

But because I hid these feelings, many of my friends and family members were shocked and stunned when I left and this had a further detrimental effect on my psyche.  Polite nods and unanswered phone calls from “friends” (even a few Facebook unfriends) let me know that the portrait of the perfect marriage I was upholding did nothing but hurt my chances for a sympathetic ear.

That’s not to say that you have to badmouth (although over the last week I admit I have), it’s simply to say that you have a right to be angry and hurt and a right to talk about it.

3. Separate lives need to be planned.   That sounds obvious but I was very complacent in letting my “practice husband” take care of the finances and all financial matters.  It is now coming back to bite me.  As soon as I felt unhappy, I should have started my own source of funding.  No person benefits from being “kept”. 

I have some friends that have separate bank accounts from their spouses.  I used to think that was horrible… maybe even sneaky.  Now I understand the importance of taking care of yourself.

4.  Distance yourself from your spouse’s family.  They may be your best friend but a mother-in-law will still always protect her child.  Even if that child is a lying, manipulative, neglectful asshole.  (For example)

They may have been your best friend when you were married but there is no parent that doesn’t put their child first.  (And if they don’t, do you really want to be friends with them anyway?)

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5.  Your children already know.  Many of them secretly want you to be divorced.  They are sick of the fighting, bickering, and stress.  They are going to bed every night praying that when they wake up, one of you will have the wonderful news that you’re splitting up.

There is no protecting the children in this.  The best you can do is be civil and polite to each other.  Set an example for how each of you would want your child treated.

6.  Distance. Distance. Distance.  Your ex is comfortable.  You know them.  It’s easy to slip and be lonely and remember the good while shielding yourself from remembering how poorly you were treated. 

Mercy/Pity sex is aptly named.  It puts YOU at their mercy and it makes YOU look pitiful.  We’re not animals.  We can find ways to be sated without having to fornicate.

7.  Time wounds all heals.   Be patient.  People will see the truth eventually.  Sometimes they already have.

When I told my dear friend that I had left my husband, she answered in one simple sentence that meant the world to me.  “We were wondering what took you so long.”

As I previously stated, I should have leaned on my friends more.  I just didn’t want to be that person that always complains about their spouse.  I had a former friend once tell me, “You’re the idiot that married him.” when I opened up about my miseries.  That taught me to keep my mouth shut and it was more proper to suffer in silence.

In truth, I think part of me didn’t want to admit that I had done this to myself or that I was capable of making such bad decisions – to stay with him, to protect his honor at my expense, to submit when I did not want to. 

Pride. It goeth before a fall.

8.  There is no shame in ending it.  I know people say the contrary all of the time.  I know because I said it too.  “There can’t be anything that bad that you can’t stick it out and work through it unless he’s abusive.”  It’s simply not true.  Your psyche is just as fragile and easily hurt.

You deserve to be happy.  Happy parents mean happy kids even if the parents aren’t living together.

You don’t have to have bruises to be hurt and reduced. 

9. No one will ever completely understand what you’ve been through or where you’re going.   It’s not their journey and they don’t know best.  They haven’t been there no matter what they say.  Your path is unique as are your challenges and triumphs. 

People will judge you and people will console you.  Your responsibility is to know which is which and surround yourself with those who help you heal and know your worth.

10.  Being alone is not the same thing as being lonely.  If you find yourself feeling lonely, you’ve never learned to be alone or live with yourself.  Learn to like yourself.  Love yourself.  Please yourself.  Know that this is not tied to someone else. 

Only you can make you feel less than what you are by allowing others to dictate who you are as a person.

It may take some time but you will learn to love yourself and nothing is more alluring than someone who exudes that confidence.

It’s not that bad, really.  If I’m honest with myself, had I known it was going to be this liberating, I’d have done it so much sooner.  I am healthier.  I am at peace.  I am content in aspiring to be whatever I want to be.  I am happy.

I have opened up my heart to my friends.  They have not disappointed me.  Instead, my friends have embraced me (physically and mentally) and shared their feelings about where they are too.

This is what has inspired this blog post.  You’ve helped me.  Let me help you.  Just do it.  Be happy.

You deserve a divorce.  (That’s the highest compliment I can give you.)

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Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Change is Never Ending.

  2. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Life is way too short to be miserable. One of my friends told me, “Do yourself and HIM a favor: Get a divorce.”

    And the kids WILL be okay. They are resilient and mine are actually THRIVING. They have never seen me so happy, which, oddly enough, makes them happy.

    🙂

  3. My first question is – does this divorce come from a place of pain and abuse/neglect? If so, then yes I agree. Unfortunately, sometimes people leave/abandon their spouse for what they consider ‘greener pastures’. Doing that forgoes the whole ‘for better or for worse’-part of marital vows. People like to throw out the ‘life is too short to be miserable’-card, but on the flip side of that there is something to be said about committing to life/vows/promises during its ebbs and flows – and not just when everything is ‘perfect’.

    I have the feeling that our culture especially, we live with this inane sense of entitlement; that everything is SUPPOSED to work out for us all the time, and when it doesn’t we feel somehow wronged. I’ve seen plenty of what I call Selfish Divorces.


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