Talking About Divorce When You're the One Who Chose to LeaveNov 16, 2021
I just watched the interview with Oprah and Adele where she vulnerably shares her experience of the emotional mind f*ck of being the one who chooses to end the marriage.
My intention is to get the conversation started and connect with others who are experiencing the same thing by taking a bold breath and sharing my experience with you without the anchor of shame.
Let me begin with
It’s scary at any age
Adele went through it in her late 20s--I was in my late 40s -shame/embarrassment/heartbreak feels the same at any age
It’s been 7 years since I realized my first marriage was over. There were a lot of things both good and bad swirling around our family at the time. My bonus son was getting married to his college sweetheart, a month after that my former husband’s mother died suddenly from a heart attack, my mother and stepfather both lost their lives to cancer within weeks of each other, our teenage son had a health scare and needed surgery, my health was declining-I was 50 pounds overweight, anemic, burned out from my sales job and adjusting the smoke and mirrors I was apparently living in. I also needed surgery (hysto) and if that wasn’t enough, my brother-in-law died in a bizarre accident where he literally choked to death! I mean, why not throw a divorce after being together for 20 years on the pile?
Life comes at us FAST - without an instruction manual
I’ve since learned that life is also fluid, none of it lasts forever...the joy, the fear, the immense pain of grief of losing loved ones. It all eventually ebbs and flows. I imagine that’s one of the reasons I love the beach so much, a glance at the ocean with quiet, calm waves rolling along the shoreline with happy children jumping with joy one day and mother nature having a full-on PMS attack the next, only to return to calm the following day or even later that same day. Ahh the beach!
Yes, 2014-2015 was a lot for our family to adjust to.
Each of us was grieving something whether it was a grandparent, mother, or marriage.
Each of us dealt with it the best we knew how. My stepson was watching his father go through another divorce, I went from confidant to quitter in his eyes and heart in a millisecond (that lump is still in my throat), our youngest was a sophomore in high school and just held on hoping this horrible ride would be over and he could get back to life as he once knew it to be (no drama), my ex was dealing with the shock of the realization that I was serious and I was self-medicating and holding on to the feeling deep within me that somehow ALL of us will be ok. We had to trust ourselves before we could trust each other again. We held on to the love and respect for each other that was always there even though the romantic love had been extinguished.
On one hand, the easiest thing would have been to stay married. My marriage wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t abusive. From the outside looking in, it was “perfect.” At 53 I’m well aware of what a farce perfection is. I remember feeling like a rose under a glass dome that was losing oxygen quickly.
I took myself to see the movie, Wild with Reese Witherspoon. Divine intervention? Maybe? When I left that theatre my life would drastically change. Something during that 90 minutes or so gave me the clarity and conviction that I was about to set out on my own path back to myself.
What it ultimately came down to was we didn’t have the same emotional needs as the other and that is a lonely place to be forever. For years we both disengaged to avoid arguments and/or the frustration of not feeling understood. We went to therapy, did the second honeymoon thing, and on the way home from the airport knew it really was over.
You might be surprised to know that I haven’t watched ‘Wild” again. I didn’t need to because I know what dismantling your life and reassembling it looks like. And, because I knew that if I dug deep enough I would find the fortitude to make that sharp right turn in the middle of chaos my own hero’s journey.
If you’ve been through it, you know that it SUCKED. ALL of it. Moving, negotiating, renegotiating a settlement, the awkwardness of referring to “home” to your kids when it was actually just “mom’s new place.” Never “home.” No more father’s Day barbeques together, even the emergency contact was surreal..did I really just make my dad my emergency contact at 46 years old? YEP.
Most days I felt like a piece of driftwood in a dark stormy sea not knowing where the hell I would end up. **I dont mean physically. The interesting part was I knew it wouldn’t be that way forever...I trusted the sea, I trusted life, and most importantly, for the first time ever, I trusted myself.
It’s been 7 years almost to the day. Looking back at who I was then vs now is very different in every aspect other than my love for our son and bonus son who are both adults maneuvering their own paths like an advanced level of Frogger. Now there’s an instant way to feel grateful, think about your kiddos.
Over the last 7 years, the proverbial ocean has had some big ass waves I’ve had to sail around. I recently lost the brother I grew up with to an overdose. I’m sure you are well aware of the pain of grief as something that takes as long as it takes.
If you’ve been following along for a while you know I am now happily married to someone who “gets me” and I am without a doubt in my mind fulfilled and grateful to have been blessed with my forever.
Thank you for giving me the space to share my experience of the shame and guilt of fracturing my family. While I wish there was a way to have avoided all of the heartaches to our kids, I feel that only by all of us going through it do they now know who I really am and have told me that they have a much better understanding of why I made the decision that I did.
It’s all good in the hood-
My former husband and I are a willing part of each other’s lives and truly want the best for each other.
He will be here with our 22 y/o son on Thanksgiving morning, we are all looking forward to celebrating the christening of my “bonus” son’s baby together this weekend. Above and beyond everything else, we are still “family.”
Adele’s newest album, 30 drops this Friday, 11/19/21. Whether you are going through a divorce (Easy On Me), trying to work things out ( I Drink Wine) or moving forward (Hold On), I hope that you find the music in you and UNLEASH it.
Now that that’s off my chest I can get working on FashionSHEsta Style for the Holidays!
In the meantime, stay happy, stay healthy and stay GRATEFUL.