This Is My Life 6 Months AFTER the Divorce

Love & Learn 15

It’s been over six months since I moved out of the home I shared with my husband after it became apparent that that was my only chance at moving on with my life. I tried you guys. I really, really did. That’s the thing that people that haven’t been there don’t understand -- nobody wants to get divorced; sometimes it’s the lesser of two terrible options.

I won’t get into too my details, because as much as I like to write about my life, he’s still the father of my children, and he’s still a person, and he doesn’t deserve to be slammed to people that don’t know him from Adam. Also something about the high road -- grumble grumble.

I will say that we had very different ideas about marriage -- and I’ll leave it at that.

So by the time I threw in the towel, I felt a lot like Cartman in South Park, except instead of saying I was going home, I was finally leaving home. And I made a new home -- one that was and is just mine (and the girls’), free from the miserable drama that had encapsulated me for so long.

And it was awesome. Duh, I had my sad moments, and I cried a lot when I felt like it, but the dark cloud was gone. It was, in a word, liberating. I did things I was never “allowed” to do when I was married, like go skydiving or get a tattoo. I stayed up late, let the kids jump on the bed, and listened to pop music whenever I wanted. I even got my very own full-time job as a staff writer at this very website where I’ve been freelancing for years. It’s a good life -- and there's a lot I even like about being single again.

All of that (and more!) is still awesome, but in the last week or two, it’s almost like the euphoria of the escape from the bad marriage has worn off a little, and there’s a whole lot of holy crap, that actually happened to me setting in.

Divorce is seen as failure in our culture and, more often than not, treated as such, and there’s a stigma that comes with that. Heck, I was actually ex-communicated from my (non-Catholic) church for the “sin” of filing for divorce. Seriously you guys, that happened.

But even in our secular culture, people who haven’t been through this probably believe I failed -- didn’t try hard enough, didn’t communicate well enough, didn’t forgive enough, etc. I know this because I used to be one of those people, holding onto marriage like it was the Holy Grail, rather than accepting that divorce isn’t failure -- it’s just the end result of a failed marriage.

I don’t regret leaving. Not even an iota. Maybe that comes from too many years of staying because I thought I was making the best of a difficult situation, or maybe it comes from the naiveté of youth and only being six months out.

Nope, I don’t regret, but oh my goodness do I grieve. I grieve for my kids, who won’t know what it’s like to grow up in a loving, intact home. I grieve for my younger self, who also had a warped view of what marriage should be. I grieve for the people that would judge and condemn me, because I know from experience that they’re likely struggling too.

So what now? One foot in front of the other, I guess. Move forward with as much dignity and grace as possible, reminding myself that as much as it hurts, it’s in the past. And I’m pretty sure Rafiki from The Lion King had some great advice in that department: “The past can hurt ... but you either run from it or learn from it.”

Here’s to learning.

Have you learned any painful life lessons?

Image via bored-now/Flickr

breakups, divorce, marriage, single moms


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redK8... redK8blueSt8

In the end of the day, you are only 1/2 of the marriage, and you can be the poster girl for "Exemplary Super Awesome Wife" and it won't make a difference if the other person isn't equally invested in the marriage.

I'm really sorry your church betrayed you like that.


adamat34 adamat34

Amen redk, sometimes i think churches.forget that Jesus died for. Our sins and.ifbwe truly repent He will forgive us. Self riotous people are annoying. Love the Lord and he will provide.

Fondue Fondue

" I grieve for the people that would judge and condemn me."  This coming from the biggest Judgy McJudgerson at The Stir?  I had to laugh.  Sorry. 

I am sorry you're going through a divorce.  I've been there--I know how difficult the decision is to make.  I, too, thought that it would never happen to me, and that unless there was something tangible going on for the world to see, anyone who divorced was obviously not trying hard enough.  It taught me not to judge somebody for their decisions without walking in their shoes.  Hopefully this is a lesson you'll learn, too.  The world looks different when you've had a dose of humility and when your high horse takes off from under you.

Best wishes.

Kate Stokes

Beautifully written, Jenny. There is a wonderful plan for your life... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Don't forget that. :)

nonmember avatar randi

@Fondue, I'm right with you. I'm sorry, Jenny, that you're going through a hard time and i hope you and your kids come out better for it. Maybe this will help you to have a bit more compassion, as I feel that after reading your articles for years, it's something you sorely missed.

nonmember avatar bette

@adamat34: For the love of God, please learn to spell - that's WAY more annoying than self-righteous people are! And by the way, not everyone believes in your jesus.

wamom223 wamom223

I think a relationship between two people in love deserves to be grieved when its over and to be honest,  I would think it said if it wasn't.  I grew up with divorced parents and with in a year (or within a week for one of them) they were already in new relationships and I think those failed because they didn't take the time to grieve and learn from what they lived.  Just my opinion.

Mark Daniel Johansen

Huh. My wife divorced me 17 years ago. And divorce IS a failure. I don't see what else you can call it. I remember when after the separation, the first time I had to take the kids back to her place after my weekend with them, and I went back to my apartment and wondered if I would lose my children now too -- that was the worst day of my life. Maybe it's your fault and maybe it's not. To this day I wonder what I could have done differently to save my marriage. And while agonizing over it is painful, I'm glad that I do, because the alternative is to treat a vow made before God and man as something trivial, to treat my own word of honor as something to be broken whenever it becomes too much trouble to keep it. I don't know your particular situation. Maybe it was all your fault. Maybe it was all your husband's fault. Maybe it was 50/50. My children's school once had some program to teach kids about "different family styles", and advocates of the program said that one of the goals was to teach kids that there was nothing wrong with divorce. Excuse me? As a divorced person, I will strongly say that the absolute last thing I want anyone teaching my children is that divorce is just perfectly okay and perfectly normal. It's not, and lying about it won't make it so.

George Pratt

If you think a mother with children should go skydiving, get a tattoo, stay up late, listen to pop music whenever you want and let the kids jump on the bed, then you are an undisciplined loser.

But it's all good, my kids will need yours to clean their toilets.

Nicole Casteel

My husband of ten years recently left me for a chunky 20 year old. Mostly because i am in the best shape of my life both physically and emotionally and after a decade of being there for him and weathering his many tantrums I expected him to honor his vows and be my partner instead of an absentee husband and father. After spending the last year or so of our marriage as little more than a housekeeper and child caregiver I was at first devastated but soon realized he had done me a favor. I would have stuck it out no matter how uneven our relationship was. He has given me the freedom to find a partner. Someone who will consider my happiness and well being as important as his.

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