Divorce seems to be one of those topics about which everyone has an opinion: some of it may come from a religious belief, some of it may come from an ethical perspective, some of it may come from the media and entertainment and some of it may come from personal experience or an absence of such. Most likely it’s a combination of all those sources. IronSpineSally was no stranger to divorce – she’s a child of divorce and in some ways her own divorce brought her closer to her family. Here’s IronSpineSally:
My parents were divorced when I was three years old because my father is gay. I never really knew him being home…I don’t remember that. My sister always did and she was the one who had the issues because of it. To me, it was always the better choice, because I knew both my parents, I didn’t know them together. I didn’t know my father especially well, but I would have nights where I would come home as a child and say “why can’t I have both?”
But it was not a taboo because I knew that things were better the way they were than they would have been if my parents had tried to stay married. From a very young age, I knew why they were divorced, and to me, it would have been worse if my father had pretended to be something he wasn’t, and it probably would have ended tragically, so I didn’t have any problem with it.
I didn’t foresee it ever happening to me. In retrospect, I chose relationships just because I was happy to have anybody who wanted me at that point in my life, but it’s funny because in my family, once you’ve been through your divorce it’s like a badge of honor. My mom was divorced, my sister has been divorced, and it actually brought us all closer.
My mother has always been a problem for us. She has her own personal issues, and also tended to be very emotionally abusive and manipulative until I actually had to confront her and say “I’m leaving my husband. Either you can help me or you need to step aside, but you can’t interfere with it because I need to do it.”
I think she finally at that point accepted the fact that I’m an adult and these were the things I’m going to do. It’s my life and it doesn’t matter if it ruins your Christmas or not, I need to take care of myself and do what’s best for me. I think that she respects me more for that now. She doesn’t try to control me to the extent that she used to anymore, either. It’s also the bonding thing, we’re the strong women who got divorced.
The Divorce Coach Says
Knowing IronSpineSally’s story, when I heard her retell the conversation with her mother, I could sense how much she has grown – I imagine her somehow standing up taller so the growth isn’t just emotional. She sounds stronger, more aware of her own needs and assertive. I also love that her family has embraced the new IronSpineSally. Too often, just as in marriage, growth and maturity can lead to distance.
I imagine that gays entering into conventional heterosexual marriages is as old as the institution of marriage itself but I suspect that marriages ending because one spouse is gay is a phenomena of our times. I do believe that gay marriage will become legal throughout the U.S. during my lifetime, and even before then, the growing acceptance of openly gay relationships will mean fewer mixed orientation marriages.