I know, I know… there have got to be millions of blog posts on divorce, and a million more on divorce when kids are involved. And this isn’t even a divorce blog, right?
Although it may be a little unrelated to blended family life, I figured that giving you some context would help to explain how I ended up a divorced 28-year-old with two kids.
I am assuming many of my readers will be friends and family, as I am sharing this blog on my social media accounts. If you are looking for some dramatic, juicy vent sesh where I disrespect my Ex or anyone for that matter; you are not going to find it here. I will share openly and honestly about my experiences, but my goal is not to drag anyone through the mud, and if that means withholding some details here and there, then so be it. My relationship with my Ex and his family are EXTREMELY important to me. I believe that my kids’ happiness and ability to become well-adjusted adults depend on it.
Now that we got that over with, on to my divorce… Strangely enough, and this is likely because I grew up with divorced parents, I never thought that divorce was that bad. I mean, I never thought I would get divorced, but when I heard about people getting divorced, I assumed that the couple probably tried very hard to save their marriage, and there really were no other options. Why live an unhappy life forever? Oh, that’s right… because marriage is SACRED. It took me actually being married and then contemplating divorce to understand the gravity of the decision.
To back up a bit, my marriage to my Ex was actually, pretty ok. We rarely fought, we agreed on most things (I now know that this is just because he is a highly agreeable person in general and left all of the daily decision making up to me – something I totally took for granted), and we were a pretty good parent team. We laughed, conflict was low, and we liked most of the same TV shows. We were best friends, and that’s what caused our divorce. I know, I sound crazy… You are probably thinking, “You got divorced because you married your best friend?!” Well, I can explain. Have you heard of the “friend zone?” Let’s all take a second to think back to a time in high school or college when we straight-up-friend-zoned someone… And now let’s think about a time when we were put in the friend zone – unwillingly, and unhappily “friend zoned.” Ok, now that we all remember that frustrating feeling, imagine being married to the person you friend zoned, and even worse, the person who friend zoned you. Ouch.
This may sound extremely harsh, but my only regret about my divorce is that I didn’t do it sooner. My Ex is a great man, and I had him locked in an eternal friend zone. He was getting short-changed on the daily, and I was just hanging in there… and all for what? Oh, right… those two precious babies that we made together.
Not sure if any of you have experience with counseling or therapy, but like many other things in life, too much of something good, doesn’t always equate to great… After I had my daughter, L, I realized that I couldn’t shake the friend feelings. My son, W, was 3.5 and I started wondering if he noticed that were “just friends.” By the way, I KNOW that this is not the type of relationship that my Ex wanted to be in, or that he deserved to be in. He deserved love and cuddles and warmth, and all he got was me… someone who called him “dude” on a regular basis. Knowing that I wasn’t the wife that he expected, or needed for that matter, added to the stress and the pressure. Counseling helped me at first. I got to dig into my past and unwrap a lot of what makes me, me. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like talking about themselves once in a while? 🙂
I tried to put some things I learned into practice and nothing really stuck. Things got awkward, so I decided to tell my Ex how I was feeling. He agreed that we both needed to work on our relationship together, so we went to counseling for just about two years; sometimes on a weekly basis. We learned a lot about ourselves and each other during these years, but as we grew, we grew apart. Earlier I mentioned that too much of a good thing isn’t always what is best, and around the end of the second year of counseling when I was faced with making the decision to divorce or not to divorce, I looked back on our countless counseling sessions. I looked back at all of the things that each one of us shared. I shared ALL of my feelings, and sometimes feelings aren’t nice. Too much had been said; too much space had been laid down between us. So, we called it quits. Well, I called it quits and he agreed.
It was hard. The guilt/relief/fear combo I was feeling after I had finally committed to uncommit was suffocating. In any given moment I was like, “Woohoo! Ugh, my poor kids. I should leave him the silverware, right? I hope he finds love. Is L going to remember us together? I’m free? I’m free! I home alone, what was that sound?! I miss his family. Does this mean W is going to have an unsuccessful marriage?” Seriously, it was exhausting. The hardest part was telling the kids. We planned it out with our counselor, and it was 10x more excruciating than I ever thought possible. I stayed strong, but I could feel everyone around me crumble. W cried like he knew this meant everything would be different, and he was right. We explained to him as a united front what our plan was, and how things would look in the near future. He calmed down pretty quickly, and sweet little L had no idea that her world was changing significantly. Everyone’s world was changing…
After being with my Ex for nine years, we parted ways. And suddenly, I was a single mom.