I kid you not, someone said that to me not too long ago. I shrugged it off at the time and didn’t even offer a response to the co-worker who offered up that pearl of wisdom. She had– surprise!–just gotten married. But just like “don’t go to sleep angry,” the idea is nice in theory, but it’s a complete load of crap IRL. If I had a dollar for every night I went to bed, not just angry, but hating my husband with a burning hot rage.
But seriously, does anyone enter into a marriage thinking about divorce? No, the answer is no. Ok, so maybe there are a few out there who get to the alter and wonder how the hell they got there. But generally we believe that we are marrying the person we’re going to spend the rest of our lives with. We want to be in the 50% of marriages that don’t end in divorce. When my soon-to-be ex husband proposed to me more than 25 years ago, divorce was the last thing on my mind. Although it probably wasn’t the LAST thing on my mind, I certainly wasn’t asking myself how we would treat each other during a divorce settlement meeting, even as we were separating.
Lucky for me, I got the answer to that question today, whether or not I wanted it. And for the record, it was awful. And I say that as a person who can honestly admit that most of my marriage was wonderful. We were great partners, we had and raised great kids, we enjoyed each others company, and shared too many things in common to list here. Wr were happy and we loved each other. But, while he was, for most of our marriage, a great husband, he is a terrible person to divorce. Just awful.
I suppose it’s Pollyanna of me to expect a civil and respectful divorce. Divorce hurts. And while sometimes it feels like I’m the only one who feels pain of going through this, my logical brain tells me that it hurts him too. It’s human nature that when we hurt, we tend to take it out on other people. We do this whether we want to or not, whether we realize it or not. But it still sucks. It sucks a lot.
Without diving too deeply down into the divorce rabbit hole, let’s just say that today’s meeting with both attorneys and the private judge we’ve hired to mediate didn’t end well. Can it ever end well when a 25 year relationship boils down to a couple of spreadsheets and something called the Dissomaster? Again, no. No it won’t. Did I ever expect that the husband I loved for most of my adult life would call me a liar and accuse me of things worse than the meanest girl in my middle school? No, absolutely not in a million years.
Even though we just hit the two year mark of our separation last week, I still wake up some mornings and forget that I’m in my bed alone. I still read articles and think about how my husband would enjoy them. I have to stop myself from calling him up when I have good news to share and also when I need support during the not so great times. Twenty five years of habits are desperately hard to break. Which is why it stings so very much when the person who knows me better than anyone else, better than I know myself even, throws out accusations that are so hurtful and also so wrong.
Of course I wasn’t thinking on my wedding day about how hard it would be to be his adversary 25 years down the road . Nor did it occur to me when we bought our first home or when all three of our children were born, or when our first child headed off to college. I could never have dreamed how bad it actually would be. But would I do it all over again knowing what I know now? Yes. In a heartbeat. I’ll keep wishing for the impossible though, that we can come out of this and be the friends that we owe ourselves to be.