The D-word – Divorce is not something that anyone goes into a marriage thinking about. I mean, I certainly didn’t. However, I do believe that many people get married, unsure of the real work that it takes to make the marriage last.
I procrastinated for months on writing this post as it is a very personal part of my journey. But, nevertheless, it is a part of my journey and my transition, so it is a story that needs to be told.
I was married at age 27 and “divorced” at age 34. (I use quotes as it’s not government official yet). A lot of people may be wondering how we got here. Especially when I come from the millennial generation, only 3% of us get divorced, partially because we tend to delay marriage for as long as possible.
To be honest, for a long time, I wondered the same thing. The best way to uncover where you could’ve gone wrong is to reflect on the whole relationship. Over the past few years, I have done a lot of reflection, trust me! So let’s talk about the good, the bad, the ugly and where I am today…
We had the best of intentions getting into the relationship as most couples do. We had the typical courtship dated for a few years, lived together, got engaged, had the big wedding, and luxurious Hawaiian honeymoon. We had a great group of friends that were all in similar life stages, so we did a lot of things together, but we also had time for ourselves. When everyone around us started having children, we decided we weren’t getting any younger. We knew we wanted a family, so we got started as well. Unfortunately, that chapter didn’t go as smoothly for us, which you can read about in My Rainbow Baby post. We were blessed with our son Gabriel, 3 years into our marriage, and life seemed good, at least on the outside.
Beneath the foundation of our seemingly easy-going life was a lot of pain that stemmed from unresolved trust issues at the beginning of our relationship. According to marriage.com, the number one reason couples get divorced is infidelity, followed by money. Although those are very surface level problems, I genuinely believe it’s caused by a lack of communication, transparency, and compromise. The foundation of our relationship didn’t carry those essential characteristics and had fundamental cracks. I now realize that no matter what we built on top of the foundation, we were likely destined to fall at some point. Had those ‘cracks’ been addressed from earlier on, maybe our marriage would have survived. Instead, we chose not to address the core issues and just sweep the problems to the side and continue down a path of destruction. All the signs were there, but we chose to ignore them.
I spent a lot of my marriage feeling insecure, or like I wasn’t enough. I guess you can say that I didn’t know or couldn’t see my own worth during that time. But this caused me to have resentment towards my ex that often manifested as anger. I was angry with him all the time. Even when he attempted to make a situation better, I had so much built-up frustration that I always believed he had ulterior motives.
The day he asked me for a divorce, I was in total and complete shock. I couldn’t understand why he would do this to our family. In hindsight, I see it was the only option he had as he was already checked out, and I don’t blame him. He had his faults and had his fair share of blame in the downfall of our marriage. However, I was so blind to my contributions to our marriage’s demise, I failed to realize it takes two people. Like I mean total and complete oblivion of how I mistreated him over the years. I was so deep in my own toxicity, it took months of therapy to undo all the pain that I caused myself and him. But, therapy saved my life and taught me how to let go of the anger.
The most common question I get is, ‘did you try?’. Most people fail to realize that the period from the start of a breakdown to the end may seem short, but that’s because family and friends generally find out there is a problem when the couple separates. In our case, there was an entire year of us trying to mend the relationship before we got to the point of separation. We tried couples therapy, individual counselling, going on dates. But again, it takes two people and a lot of dedication. At the time, would I have chosen the path of separating? No. Do I think it’s the one thing that ultimately saved our friendship? Yes.
For about four months, I was in denial that we had separated and thought it was just a phase. I had hit rock bottom and was constantly praying for peace in my heart and for the pain to go away. I distinctly remember waking up one morning. Having this feeling of calm take over the next morning was the same, and all the mornings after that, I felt stronger, lighter, and happier. This was when I knew the decision we had made was the right one. I was beginning to feel whole again.
After that point, most of the unresolved feelings stemmed from our friends and family (This is the truth). There were many people in our corner rooting for us, and there were the few that weren’t. To be honest, I saw fault in both. For the people who were rooting for us, I couldn’t understand why they wanted us to remain unhappy for their own needs. I later realized they were mourning our relationship and what once was. Once my transformation came full circle, I was able to be more empathetic.
The after glow
If I am going to tell my whole truth. I was relieved. I had been carrying the weight, stress, and holding it all inside for so long that being honest with myself and others was the greatest form of therapy. The more I owned my part of the marriage breakdown, the better I felt and the happier it made me. I forgave myself and my ex for a lot of the deep-rooted pain. At the end of it all, we re-learned how to get along and have respect for each other that I hope will never fade. We continue to work hard on our co-parenting relationship while actively working on boundaries (as it’s easy to slip back into old habits sometimes). It’s hard for some people to understand why we can’t be together if we get along so well. But, I “Believe in what you pray for,” and my prayers were based around self-growth and happiness, and that’s precisely what I got.
So now I am 34, single and ready to mingle? Not exactly, I have spent the past year finding myself again. Getting to know what makes me happy and finally living life on my own terms. I can’t say that every day is easy, as I do miss that companionship. But, I know that I will find someone to compliment me and my life. For now, my focus is on my son and me, and the rest is still unwritten.