Tag Archives: children of divorce

Feeling a bit dim

rv-ad529_divorc_g_20110708181412So, I’m walking home today and thinking about Christmas traditions and how we as a family have so few of them and it suddenly dawned on me that I had actually destroyed my family when I left my ex.

I feel like an idiot. I hadn’t actually realized that before. Well, I had, but not in such detail.

I destroyed the family traditions, such as they were, destroyed the extended family, messed up the getting together for everyone.

I mean, I knew I was wreaking havoc when I left, but the kids were grown up, pretty well. I thought they’d be okay, and though I still care about and respect my ex, I wasn’t as concerned about him for a variety of reasons.

And I suppose I shoulda realized the eddies of my decision to save myself. But at first, the relief I felt at my escape was so huge, and then I had to deal with the MS thing, and the depression thing and I thought, maybe, we were okay with separate holidays and traditions as we weren’t that into Christmas and all that. Everyone SEEMED okay.

As I watch the families getting together for the holidays, the joy expressed by parents on FB, the happiness I hear about and remember when we were all together, I wonder. I wonder how the kids felt when I left. Did they feel gutted? Did they feel there was nothing left? Did I inadvertently cast them out onto the sea of isolation without meaning to?04-how-could-this-happen2

They never spoke much about it. We explained everything calmly. We didn’t yell and fight over things. We co-wrote our separation agreement and all was civilized, but the kids were quiet. I should perhaps have pried more.

A few years ago, one said, “I understand that you two are better off on your own.” Which makes me wonder if they thought I left singing and happy and destroyed their home life just out of selfishness, gaily stabbing my ex on the way out the door.

In a way, I guess I did. I couldn’t stay, though. It was not possible. I never dreamed I’d get divorced – but I somehow married the wrong fellow, and it wasn’t sustainable after the heavy work of raising children was done. It hadn’t been warm and friendly for over ten years, and in a way I knew it was over when he dropped me home with my brand new firstborn and went back to work. No fault to him or me – just our mutual differences were too much to take. And by the time I left, neither of us were willing to put in the 100% needed to save things. dave-willis-quote-quotes-marriages-love-marriage-is-not-50-50-divorce-is-marriage-is-100-100-not-dividing-everything-in-half-but-giving-everything-you-got-davewillis-org_

And in the midst of that life change, I tore much apart. At this time of year, I can’t help but wonder where we’d be if I hadn’t.

I’m so sorry, kids. In all of the things I’ve done, I’ve always wanted to spare you hurt. But I guess I still did.

And it only took me ten years to realize it. Forgive me…

The GOH and the HH

So, the gang of hoodlums are coming by again this weekend, but I will be away, far away, all because of the Horrible Heffalump.

Those of you who have gone through the “new relationship” thing with a divorced/divorcing fellah know about the Horrible Heffalump – that would be the scary ex-wife, who rightly or wrongly, feels wronged or righted from the marriage  and its breakdown.  It’s not easy for anyone in the whole marriage breakdown thing, and I urge any of you who are contemplating leaving a marriage to seriously think it over (unless you are being abused, of course, in which case get outta there!). It does suck, and not like a Bissell. For everyone.

Divorce/separation reminds you that the two of you were barely managing on the money that was coming in and you were sharing phone and cable and electricity and even heating. It reminds you of how much easier dividing and conquering your own personal GOH was when you were talking easily to each other and not biting off each other’s heads. It reminds you of the joys of shared household duties and how lovely it was to ask your spouse to get a thing of milk and then have it appear mystically in the fridge.  It reminds you of the awfulness of waking alone at 3 AM, worrying about the future or the crack in the foundation or why your youngest insists on sleeping with his construction tools or who is going to chip the ice off the driveway,  versus having someone in the bed with you who you could either cuddle or throw things at (if snoring).

It reminds you that over half of your lovely things now live far away, and those are always the things you really need, right NOW. Finding screwdrivers is easier, since they stay where you put them, but on the other hand, if you can’t find them, you’ve no one to blame but yourself. This is harsh.

And then there’s the recycling. I hate recycling, and I remain suspicious this is one of those “keep the people quiet thinking they are being a help” ruses to encourage more consumption since you can now recycle those packages. Or maybe I’m just fed up with trying to figure out the byzantine rules. When I was married, I let my ex handle it.  He hated it, too, but I could make him deal with it and forget it. Now I have to read all the rules, look at the bottom of the plastic bottles, figure out the cans. It’s almost enough to send me running back to him, but alas, while I’ve been gone another woman has snagged his prodigious sorting capabilities.

It just isn’t easy.

Some people seem to really get into the making it as horrible as possible thing, though.  I mean, the marriage ends, it’s tragic, of course you’ve tried to patch it together, etc., but it fails.  What’s the point in making each other’s lives hell? Hatred and anger damages most the person expending it (believe me, I know). I’ve always felt the best revenge is living well, and when I was feeling better and dating like a mad fool, I felt such total power over my ex just because my life was so much better through the sheer effect of living separate from him. Unfortunately the gods listened, and just like when I used to think I skated well, they threw me to the ground. But wotthehell, toujours gai, as Mehitabel the Cat would say.  I still can’t see the infliction of pain on him as a winning strategy.  After all, I loved the guy once, and we have shared history, some good, some not so good.

But there are other people, the HH for one, who seems to delight in making her ex wriggle.  I’ve met women and men like this, who deny their ex the basic needs of life, who argue over every last visit, who even devolve to flinging appalling insinuations about abuse of all sorts to prevent child access. It’s wrong, it’s evil. It arises from the deep deep hurt of having this closest of relationships melt away, of having the life you planned dissolve before your eyes.

But looking at things, the fault in a marriage breakdown is always shared. There are no angels, no devils in a relationship – at least until the end of marriage arguments start. (Again, abuse is always wrong and should be punished, totally). One half of the partnership might be more involved than the other, but both contribute to a marriages failure, or success. It takes time to realize this, of course.  It’s ever so much easier to paint the other as THE PROBLEM, rather than look into your own soul and see the nastiness squirming there. But, hey, if you have kids, it is the most important thing to act reasonably, respectfully, while inside your heart is breaking.  They will always need you both.

It makes me sad.  And grateful.  For my lovely ex, with whom I do have my snappish thoughts, has always treated me with respect. He’s a gem among men, and I wish him well in his new marriage. I can’t live with him anymore, but I’m sure she can, and I’m so thankful he didn’t become the horrible Heffalump he coulda been. Well, except maybe sometimes…;-)

Thanks, D. And good luck to all of you who are dealing with HHs of your own who can’t see that the result of (relatively) sane children and an easy friendship is the best outcome of a destroyed marriage anyone could wish for.