This is the last post in the Student Mama series and maybe it would be more aptly titled, To Be Continued because you never know how these things can turn out. Student Mama has been separated from her husband for about five months. Emotionally, she says they’re in different places and right now she’s focused on letting the decision to divorce proceed at a pace that’s right for both of them. Here’s what she said.
The last five months have been very challenging. I think my husband feels that he would like to continue our relationship whereas I’ve said, “I’m not going back to our marriage.”
We have a five-year-old and a long time ahead of us to co-parent. It’s important that we come to a constructive, working relationship but right now, we’re in different places emotionally.
Logically, you would start grieving at the point you decide to separate but I feel for me, it was way before that. I had a whole year during couples counseling when I thought I was working on myself. Looking back, what I was really working on was healing from the end of our marriage, even though it hadn’t ended then. There was this feeling in me and I was coping with that along with the grief from the affairs. I don’t think he’s gone through that process yet – he’s just at the beginning now.
I felt that grieving before you and your spouse have agreed to end the marriage wasn’t possible. I didn’t want to say it out loud – somehow it didn’t seem right. I read one of the posts on here and thought, “Oh good! Somebody else thought that too.”
I feel lately that I’m in a different universe to him or we’re speaking different languages – I’m saying one thing and he’s hearing something else. Maybe that’s the denial stage and that’s been hard.
I wanted so much to fix our marriage that I would have done whatever it took. But I had reached the point where I was giving up a piece of myself everyday I stayed and I couldn’t do it anymore. There wasn’t very much left of me to give up. That was when I realized, I couldn’t continue and it’s been hard to hear now, 18 months later, that he wants to fix it.
It’s amazing to me to reflect on how committed I am to getting divorced – it’s not out of stubbornness or anger even. It’s just an acceptance of that’s where I am, this is what I want, it’s the right place for me to be. However, it doesn’t feel like we need to get a divorce right away. It doesn’t feel like it’s the right thing to do even though it’s what I want. I’m trying to let it progress naturally.
This has definitely been a growing experience for me in many ways and that’s very, very good for me. I’m happier now and that’s a good place to be, no matter what the outcome is.
The Divorce Coach Says
I think Student Mama is smart to let the divorce process move at it’s own pace and it’s particularly smart to wait until her ex has accepted the decision. I think that could also set the stage for better settlement and parenting negotiations when the time comes. I also think that putting some distance between separating and the negotiations allows time for the emotions to diffuse and that will also make a difference to those negotiations.
I’m not sure which post Student Mama is referring to. My post, Divorce is a grief process, talks about how a person goes through a grieving process with divorce just you would with the death of a loved one. I’ve also written about how I felt I was grieving the end of my marriage for months before my ex actually moved out. A resource that talks about divorce and grief is Bruce Fisher’s book, Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends. Fisher talks about how the grieving process begins when you realize the marriage has ended and that may be a long time before you talk to your spouse about it. And each partner will grieve differently and at a different pace.
Photo Credit: Flickr: reegone