Given that I often read or hear comments about how easy it is to get divorced or how people don’t work hard enough at their marriages, I like to ask my guests how their perspective of divorce has changed. My current guest, Terry was thirty-five when her marriage ended. She had been with her husband for fifteen years. In the three years since then she’s become healthy, she’s gone back to work full-time, and she has a healthy co-parenting relationship with her ex. Here’s what said about divorce:
Before divorce, I was terrified of the concept of divorce. I didn’t think I could be on my own. I really didn’t. I never wanted to be divorced, from the time that I agreed to marry. I never wanted to be divorced, and if I was going to have children, I really didn’t want to be divorced, just because I had seen it be so hard for my friends growing up, that I didn’t want to do that to my child. I knew it happened and you need to do that sometimes, but in my head, I was not going to get a divorce because I didn’t think I could be on my own.
I was terrified about being on my own because I wasn’t working full-time and I hadn’t worked full-time in eleven years. I’d worked from home, but not full-time with benefits and he was a computer programmer, it was a decision he and I had made because he made a decent wage. When it happened, I was sure I was not going to be able to do it, but I did it. Now I think I don’t ever want to do it again, because it was very painful but sometimes it’s a good thing that it happens, for your own self, even if it’s not what you wanted at the time.
At the time I was sure I didn’t want it. Now I look at how healthy I am, how good I feel and have done since a few months after the separation and I can’t imagine spending these last three years doing what I’d been doing before. It would have been terribly depressing and horrible. So although I didn’t want it at the time, I am glad it happened, even though I know it’s really hard.
The first time I changed the large fluorescent light bulb in the garage, which would have been something the husband did, I knew I could be alone. I thought for sure I’d drop it and there would be glass shattered everywhere, but I didn’t and I felt really, ridiculously good about changing the light bulb. I still remember how good I felt about that. It is the silliest thing to feel so good about but it would have been his job before. It made me feel that if I could do that, I could do anything. I think that’s where I turned around and started to feel good about it.
I hope I never have to go through divorce again but I know now I would be able to. Believe me, when he first left, I didn’t think I could. Honestly, I was sure I couldn’t and it’s silly to think that now, because anybody can survive anything, I think, if they want to. I used to just looked at the kids, and I wouldn’t break down in front of them. I think that helped me get over it a little faster because I didn’t grieve every day.
I just want to make sure that I’m trying to take what I learned in the first marriage and apply it to the second one so I don’t end up in that same position again, and part of that is having a full-time job.
The Divorce Coach Says
I think Terry’s sentiments are shared by many of us:
- we never wanted/expected to get divorced
- it was very painful and difficult
- we wouldn’t want to go through it again
- we survived, even grew stronger and could do it again if we had to.
I laughed at Terry’s light bulb story – it reminded me of Evvy’s light bulb moment and my own light bulb battle . The victory that made me feel ridiculously good was realizing that the electric drill had a forward and reverse gear and that when it was in forward gear, drilling holes was easy! I know that might seem like a true “blonde moment” but it went way beyond just being able to fix the bolts holding my mailbox in place. I figured it out on my own and if I could do that, then I was perfectly capable of figuring out lots of other things.
My other victorious moment was remembering to put the garbage job – it had always been my husband’s job and no it’s not difficult, it’s not particularly strenuous and it doesn’t demand much intellect so I can’t tell you why it was so significant but it was. I think that’s what I so enjoyed Antonia Raggozzini’s Taking out the trash story.
Do you have a moment of victory? What was it so significant?
Photo credit: kimncris