Today, I’m starting a new series, Divorced Before 30, featuring Emma. Emma is a blogger and her first post was How I Left My Husband on My Lunch Break. The header photo of Emma’s blog is from her wedding day – it’s very telling and we’ll get to that. First, let me introduce Emma.
Emma was married for just a year before she left her husband. What struck me about her story was the profound impact divorce has had on her. Before I started this blog, I hadn’t talked to many divorced women about their experience and I naively assumed that the ending of a short marriage must be relatively painless. Through my interviews however, I’ve come to understand that it just isn’t as simple as that. In coming posts, I’ll share Emma’s experience and how she’s grown since her divorce but to begin, I asked Emma when she realized her marriage was troubled and if there was a particular event that made it obvious to her that she needed to leave.
It was pretty evident just immediately after the wedding that it was not right for me. We were fighting a lot but he brought things to a new level. Just uttering one word – the C word – at me was enough to make me realize that anyone who would use that kind of word wasn’t someone I would even want to be friends with, let alone married to. It was just so wrong. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I did have glimpses of his behavior when we were dating but they were easier to recognize with hindsight. I consider myself a pretty strong woman and I put up with a lot of crap from him. It scares me to realize how I let someone else control me.
The wedding photo on my blog was taken before our ceremony. I was walking around with my bridesmaids and I saw the “Dead End” sign. I thought it would be funny if we all posed in front of the sign, just as a joke. We’re all making these goofy faces – frowning, rolling eyes, eyes closed. I think it captures perfectly what that wedding day actually turned out to be. It was very prophetic. It truly was a dead end marriage for me.
Emma’s C-word is what I call the Divorce Catalyst. For some people, it is a cataclysmic event, like the discovery of an extramarital affair, your spouse coming out or the disclosure of significant debt. For other people, the event is more symbolic. On it’s own it might be relatively minor but in the bigger picture, it symbolizes the hopelessness of the marriage. I had spent a whole year wondering if divorce was an option for me and then there were two events – I’m not able to publicly share the specific details of those events, but within hours of the second one, I had made an appointment with a therapist and found a referral for a divorce attorney. Those two events conveyed to me just how remote the possibility of change for the better was.
If you are divorced, what was the catalyst in your situation? Was it a major event or a minor trigger?