Today, I’d like to introduce you to Julia, a lady whose story reminds me of the role played by Julia Roberts in the 1991 thriller, Sleeping With the Enemy. Her story starts out like a fairy-tale. Julia and her husband met when they were toddlers together in a summer daycare program. They went to the same high school but didn’t start dating until she was a junior in college and he was a senior. They even thought they might be related because they discovered his great-grandfathered moved in with her great-grandmother after their spouses died.
Julia and her husband dated for a quite a while and lived together before getting married. They were married for seven years and split up just over nine years ago, when Julia was 32. They have two children who were just one and two when the marriage ended. Julia remembers quite clearly the night her husband said it was over. Here’s Julia:
He told me he was leaving September 11, 2001, the day of September 11th.
We had been going to counseling together and he had said earlier that week that he wanted to go by himself. I was thrilled because I thought he had so much he needed to work on. Then everything was closing because of the World Trade Center, people were canceling things, the world was shutting down. I called the counselor and asked if he was still seeing clients, he was and so my husband went.
He came back that night and said he didn’t want to do it anymore.
I was shocked.
I begged him to stay.
I did everything I could and about two days later I finally said,
“If we’re getting divorced, then you need to leave.”
Well, we both grew up here so what ended up happening was that we alternated nights at home with the kids and at our parents’ homes. We did that until January when we were supposed to met to talk about what we were going to do.
Then on the second or the third, a friend called me and told me she’d seen my husband with a woman on New Year’s Eve, holding hands, kissing. I was devastated because I didn’t know and he’d said he wanted to get back together. I’d tried to call him on New Year’s Day and he’d told me he’d been working out. When I checked at the fitness club, I found out they’d shut down for the New Year. So I knew he was lying to me.
When we did talk, he said,
“I definitely want to be with you.”
I was like “are you kidding?” and I asked him about the woman. He told me that she was encouraging him to try to work things out with me. I just said,
“No, I’m done.”
Within about a week, we moved backed in together and we lived in the same house, in the same bed, until I moved out in August.
The Divorce Coach Says
Writing this, I’m realizing that I don’t actually remember the date when I told my husband I wanted to end our marriage. I can remember the circumstances of several of the conversations … the phone call when he was on the way up to the mountains skiing and I told him I was seeing a counselor, the conversation after our summer vacation when I told him I couldn’t work on our marriage, the conversation when I got back from Christmas in England when I told him I hadn’t changed my mind … but I can’t remember the dates. I wonder if it being September 11 makes a difference or if the finality about it makes a difference? What do you remember?
I guess I should have asked Julia about why they both moved back in together when they knew they separating but truthfully, that didn’t seem that odd. My husband and I stayed in the same house, in the same bed for six months after I said I couldn’t work on our marriage. He said he was having difficulty finding a rental; I think he was hoping I’d change my mind. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it – constant tension all around.
PS … I think we need to rewrite some of these fairy tales so the happy endings are always tied to a Prince Charming.