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