Ending your marriage is never easy but the hardest thing about getting divorced varies from person to person.
My interviewee David has been divorced for about seven years now and for him, one of the hardest things has been the disappointment. Here’s David:
I will certainly say that at the point in time when we were actually sleeping in different rooms in the house and then finally when I got a separate place, throughout that whole period of time, I was lobbying for us to work with someone to try to salvage the relationship. My observation then, and I would make it again, is that when you have kids in the mix you owe it to your children to try your very damndest to put your own wishes aside and work on making the family work. She just didn’t agree.
I can still remember this extraordinary feeling of frustration where I was saying, “We live in a city that has probably more therapists per capita than any other city in the United States and we have so many friends that are therapists, it would be so easy for us to find a really good therapist that we can work with. Let’s give it a shot,” and she said, “No, I’m done. I’m tired,” and that was that. You can’t fix a relationship when there’s only one of you.
The whole journey that my kids have been through, that we all have been through since then really all stems from that decision.
I think the hardest thing about getting divorced has been the disappointment and loneliness. My parents were married 58 years before my mom passed away and my expectation was never that marriage was easy, but that it was something where you really took that commitment seriously when you finally said, “I do,” then you did.
My view of marriage has always been through thick or thin, easy or hard, better or worse, however, you want to phrase it. It just didn’t turn out to be the case that I married someone who felt that same way.
It’s been pretty disheartening at times.
The times when I feel like it’s mom and the kids versus me, because I’m the only person that’s actually holding the line and has discipline, that’s been hard too. It’s made me occasionally really ask myself, “Am I doing the wrong thing?” and then I’ll talk to other people or I’ll just spend some time really contemplating the situation and decide “No, I’m doing exactly the right thing and I’m going to hold this line and I’m going to stay on this trail.”
The way I figure it is that even if my kids tell me they hate me by the time they graduate high school, then this is the long game and I’ll just hope that by the time they graduate college, they might say, “Oh, now I understand what you did, Dad. Thank you.”
On the upside, I have three fabulous children that I adore and they’re wonderful, wonderful young people. They’re going to grow up and be really interesting adults, but if I could go back and have those three kids with someone who would’ve said, “Hey, we’re having a rough time, so let’s get some help”, then I would absolutely do that in a minute.
The Divorce Coach Says:
What David shares here speaks to the loss that everyone feels with the end of a marriage and regardless of whether it’s you or your spouse who initiates the divorce, you will both experience loss.
It’s not just the loss of your relationship with your spouse but everything that comes with that. Those losses may be about your ideals and values such as the loss of your hopes and dreams of the future, the loss of what family means to you, or the loss of what marriage means to you. Those losses may also be more practical such as the loss of your lifestyle, the loss of your marital home, or the loss of time with your children.
It is critical to your healing process to recognize these losses – you can’t just ‘move on.’ You have to allow yourself to grieve but if you don’t know what you’re grieving the feelings of sadness and loss will continue.
To understand your grief, identify everything you feel you’ve lost and be as specific as possible. As you grieve each of these your pain will ease. You may find a divorce ceremony or divorce ritual helpful in bringing closure.
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