“I want a divorce…” Those four words will either make you feel angry, sad or happy, but for me I felt numb. I wasn’t numb because I didn’t know what to say… I felt numb because this is the second time this year we were having this conversation, again. For some, it may be the first time they are hearing these words, but for me… this felt like the 100th time.
I would say that at this point in my marriage, divorce was a regular conversation. One day we would be doing great and the next, one of us would be ready to throw in the towel and say those four magic words. I remember watching Sex in the City movie and in it, the characters, Miranda and her husband Steve, were asked by the therapist to create a list of the pros and cons of their marriage and determine whether or not they wanted to be together. They would then meet at a mutual spot to decide if they wanted to stay married. A little background about that scene, Steve had cheated on Miranda and she had asked for a divorce. They created their list and both met on the Brooklyn Bridge (I believe) and worked it out. Great ending, right? So, we decided to do the same thing. I created my list and I couldn’t even find three pros in my marriage. No matter how hard I tried, everything I used to love about my husband, I hated. At this moment, everything was a con. As mentioned before, as I heard those four words again…I knew it was for the last time. I was ready for this marriage to end.
I’m not sure if you are familiar with the five stages of grief, but I promise you I went through every single stage. In Five Stages of Grief by Elisabeth Kübler – Ross and David Kessler was a topic I studied in undergrad many years ago and I actually have gone through these stages in various moments throughout my life. One in particular is my divorce. I want to share with you how I identified with each of the five stages of grief as I am currently going through my divorce. Yes, it is still going on! Ugh! When will it be over???
Remember when I mentioned earlier that I felt numb??? The first stage is denial, the feeling of being numb fell in this stage. I didn’t really think I was in denial, but looking back on when the process started, I guess I was. Although, I knew one day this day would come, I was still totally in denial. I mean, we had this conversation about divorce over and over again, but we always made up and “tried” to make it work. We would live the life of a lie for a few months and back at having the conversation again. “Why did you get married?” or “why would you stay?” you may be asking. I didn’t want to be alone. If we divorced, I would be a woman with two children—that was something I did not want to add to my resume. Yes, a lot of women do it, but to me it’s all about image and being a single woman with two kids wasn’t it for me. It wasn’t because I was fighting for our love because there wasn’t any. We were just existing at this point in our marriage. I was fighting for this marriage for our children, I am not sure what he was fighting for. The day my children and I left Las Vegas to move in with my parents in Louisville I was still in denial that this life that I was living was ending and now, I would have to start my life all over.
I remember the day my good friend from Vegas sent me a text with a photo of my soon-to-be ex and another woman and was said “who is this???” I remember thinking “WTF, so we are doing this now?” I was soooo furious! I mean shit… the children and I hadn’t been gone a whole 60 days and you have already moved on to your next victim! I became so ANGRY. Angry at myself for being with a man for all those years who obviously didn’t give a damn about me. Angry at him and his audacity for posting photos of him and another woman on social media, “We are still married!”. I was so angry! I felt defeated… I had lost… as if this was a competition and I had to come out on top as the winner. I was mad at everything possible, especially my life and how turned upside down it had become. I had so much anger pent-up from everything I went through during the marriage and the changes going on in my life. If I didn’t have the support from my friends and family, I would be a lost cause and still stuck in the second stage of anger. I am thankful for everything they have done for my children and I.
After a few months had past, I remember this conversation my soon-to-be ex and I had. He wanted to work on our marriage and you know what the conversation sounded like? Allllllll the other conversations we had from before. Everything about our relationship was a cycle. My soon-to-be ex even bargained with me. “Why don’t we have an open marriage? We can see other people, but we would still be together as the main unit. I love you, I want us to work it out… blah, blah, blah.” I am not even going to lie, I thought about it. I mean, he is the father of my children and maybe I can just deal with “it”. I thought to myself, what if I looked the other way… I can try to do that? That wouldn’t be hard, would it? The “what ifs” started in my mind. Did I make the right decision to leave? Now, I feel so stupid sometimes for even considering working it out with him. I know my self-esteem had gone down, but it had really gotten to a low point. Coming out of the bargaining stage was not difficult for me to move on at all.
My self-esteem was low, really low actually. I was broken. I had gone through years in that marriage feeling worthless and felt like I wasn’t good enough. I had become so depressed that I didn’t want to eat. I had lost a lot of weight and wasn’t feeling attractive at all. I would cry for no reason. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to raise two children on my own. I was scared, I was emotional, I was lost and I was lonely. I felt like a loser. Everything in my life was not at the point where I wanted to be. I felt like my life should be very different then how it is.
Those key words “should be”. I was recently watching an episode of Insecure (if you haven’t seen it, please do and thank me later). In the Hella Questions episode from season two, Molly visits her therapist and the therapist focuses on how Molly uses the word “should” frequently when describing her life moments and the therapist points out that Molly feels her life should be a certain way. In the episode, they called it “Magical Thinking” and define it as when we believe what we want can influence the external world as opposed to accepting things as they are. That episode really hit home for me. All I could think was “wow that sounds like me!” I could relate to Molly and her situation, I felt like I have done certain things and my life was not what it should be. I find this topic very interesting, so I will be writing something about it in the near future. It was awhile before I was able to get out of the stage of depression.
Finally accepting that I am where I needed to be took some time. Two years to be exact, the day I filed for divorce, felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I felt so free, I hadn’t felt like this in a very long time. I know God puts you in certain situations to get you where you are, but I felt like God could’ve gave me a different experience. I didn’t realize how strong I was until I went through that experience. It was truly humbling. I don’t feel like I am a bad person or treated anyone with any disrespect, but I was being taught a lesson for a specific reason. I’m still not sure what it was, but I am good on those life lessons. At this time in my life I can laugh about it now, before not so much. I read a quote that said, “The person who tries to keep everyone happy often ends up feeling the loneliest.” Going through that experience while trying to keep my children happy and my family together while wearing a smile was challenging, but I did it. Every single day. Now, I can say I am truly happy, I live my life with no regrets. I am learning to accept things as they are and learn from my experiences.
Love life and full of smiles!