A Pain you cannot prepare for
I recently went through a separation and finally a divorce and the pain and heartache that comes with this journey is something no one can prepare you for.
For many years we’d been trying to “fix” our marriage, without success. We’ve considered divorce before, but neither of us were willing to share our young son with the other on a part-time basis. We scrapped the idea and carried on with life as we knew it.
We had another beautiful baby boy and that temporarily shifted our focus from our own issues. Of course we had good and bad times like all other couples and honestly, in our case the good or neutral outweighed the bad.
Why did we decide to divorce then?
Lack of Intimacy
Intimacy had been an issue in our relationship from even before we got married. We were just not on the same wavelength. We had come to a point in our marriage where it couldn’t be ignored anymore, where it couldn’t be talked away. We argued constantly about something that should be bringing us closer together, but instead forced us apart.
We lost ourselves
When we met, we were both very passionate; driven; goal-oriented people and I’m sure that is what attracted us to one another. We seemed to have completely lost that in ourselves.
While crying my eyes out during the most honest conversation we’ve ever had, I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore, that we keep, “trying and trying” and we keep failing. We kept making empty promises to one another without any follow through. We were killing each others’ spirits.
We were best friends; a great team, but we were not lovers and had completely different needs. I told him that we had to either seek professional help to assist us in our healing process, in order to truly work towards saving our marriage or we would have to let go. Purely because we were doing more harm to one another with the accusations and resentments than good.
Seeking Professional Help
Although we’ve been for a single appointment with a Sexologist years prior and my husband refusing that we continue with consultations as he didn’t see the value, I was still shocked with his response to my request. He bluntly said that he’s not going to see a professional as they were “a waste of time and money” and that we could figure things out by ourselves.
My heart sunk. This was it. We were back to square one. After years of being in this hamster-wheel, having the same conversation every six months, come to the same conclusions, make the same promises, just to fail and start all over again. I knew we just needed some outside help, some guidance to get us on the right track. On our own, it could not be done. He just shook his head and gave me a firm NO.
That very day he moved to the other side of the house.
I clearly remember with every box, bag or piece of clothing he moved out of our bedroom, it felt like a piece of me ripped out, until there was nothing left.
We became Housemates
For months we stayed together as two individuals sharing a home, meals, parental duties, but each turning into our own bedrooms at night. It nearly killed me.
I just wasn’t made for sleeping alone, or perhaps it was because I kept hoping he would just come back to bed. I tried lingering in his room just a little too long with the kids sometimes. Another time I pretended to fall asleep while we all watched a movie on his bed, expecting him to just let me be. Nope, he woke me and sent me off to bed. It is quite comical to think back on it now. Back then, it tore me to pieces.
Absence DIDN’T Make the Heart Grow Fonder
A very good friend of mine suggested that maybe some time apart, really apart, was all we needed. It would give both of us time to realize what we have and that perhaps we would be willing to work harder towards saving our marriage, together.
He moved out…he never came back.
I was furious!
At her? How could I be mad at her for giving advice that I had the choice to follow?
At him? For not loving me enough to want to make our marriage work? For our family not to mean enough to him to come back home?
At myself? For thinking it was a good idea to let him leave in hopes he would return?
Soon my fury turned into hurt, SO MUCH hurt. There were nights when I had panic attacks – for the first time in my life. My chest feeling heavy, like I was lying under a ton of bricks, moments where I literally could not breathe. I remember not being able to cry anymore, where I would find myself just staring into thin air, not sure about how much time had passed since I’d been sitting there.
There were nights when I would send him message after message, trying to find out what went wrong.
Why he wasn’t willing to give us another shot, whether he ever really loved me.
Did I ever mean anything to him?
What about the kids?
How can we be so cruel to do this to them?
He would read my messages and just ignore it, no answer, no explanation, no band-aid for my broken heart. One thing was for sure, he was not going to give me any hope, not even false hope. Now, I appreciate it, back then I hated him for it. Just give me a little glimpse of something, that there might be a speck of a chance, one day, someday…anything! Nothing.
He was a good person, an amazing father, which I never denied. I’m sure he was hurting too, if he was, he never let it show. He was much stronger than I thought, much stronger than me.
I Finally Had Enough
One day, for no specific reason, after crying myself to sleep, like so many times before, I woke up and just decided, NO MORE. I cannot carry on like this. I was half the size I use to be, always exhausted and went through life like a robot.
My kids deserve better than this. I deserved better. I am a strong person and had to remind myself of that. No man was worth my downfall, especially not at the expense of our children. This is when I started the divorce process.
My Support Circle
I started spending less time with the people that asked why we split up or whether I was coping and more time with the people that know ME, without him. Those that didn’t see me as an extension of him or us as a couple, but that saw me for me and LIKED me for me.
Once I singled out these positive people that encouraged me when I was down, listened when I needed an ear and the rest of the time kept me in check when I was even for a moment considering throwing a pity party for myself (especially when the divorce started to get dragged out), the pieces of my life started to fall back into place.
I could sleep in my bed again without one of the children to cuddle up with, just me and my furry little girl who’s purring was my lullaby for a very long time and some puffy pillows.
I learned a very valuable a lesson from a beautiful women that also went through the hurt of divorce and the struggle of being a single mother, Natasha Sutherland. She once told me “just because we’re divorced, doesn’t mean I have to stop loving him”. This line was said to me many years before my divorce, in fact, I had only been married for a year at that point and it had no current value in my life, but it stuck with me.
I realized that I had to let go on my time; learn to be without him and accept it, on my time.
Perhaps I’ll never stop loving him, he was and will always be a large part of my life and that is okay too. Whatever he feels; whatever decisions he makes, it doesn’t have to affect me.
My healing process happens in my own time.
Read about our co-parenting story The Tears of Every Other Weekend