When Lorraine’s husband of almost 12 years walked out on her, leaving her an eight word note, she felt had lost everything. However, she did have the opportunity to decide what kind of person she wanted to be…
As much as I wanted to dump all of his junk in front of his squadron on the Air Force base and say ‘This is yours, cheater!’ and plaster his and his girlfriend’s picture everywhere, I just thought do I really want to be this screaming bitch that he ends up resenting or do I want to be the woman with class and dignity that he regrets doing this to?
I chose the dignity route and I think I’ve held true to that the whole time. You can’t always choose the path you walk down but you can choose how you walk down it. That was all I still owned in this whole divorce and that got me through a lot.
I felt very humiliated by everything and yet I still had to go out in public, I still had to conduct business on the base, still see my doctors, go to the grocery store and see my neighbors, half of whom worked with my husband. I had the military asking me questions but I didn’t want him in trouble. I also didn’t want an embarrassing scandal – the military is a very small community and everyone was already talking about us.
When it was time to go to divorce court, I just wanted to look to hot. I hadn’t seen the guy since he’d left so I desperately wanted to look fantastic so he would be like ‘I can’t believe I’m letting her go.’ I wore this very beautiful dress that was at the same time sophisticated enough for court. Sounds great doesn’t it? The only problem was I had broken my knee and I had this cast from my hip to my knee with these metal attachments over the knee. I’m last to walk into court and it’s dead silence. I’m trying to look hot and all you can hear is the “hee-haw, hee-haw” from the cast as I hobbled to my seat. It was like a scene out of a bad Goldie Hawn movie.
I did not want to be the victim in all of this but I did feel very victimized. I wanted to be the person that people said, ‘Wow. she has a lot of class and integrity and she’s very strong.’ That was hard and let’s be real here – I wasn’t perfect. There was the time I went to a neighbor’s party and drank an entire pitcher of Long Island Ice Tea and had to be driven home from next door!
Now, looking back, I do feel I was able to do get through the crisis with dignity and I am proud of that. The aftermath, how to be a single person, is what has been most difficult for me. And I certainly haven’t done what I thought I would do or accomplish what I want to accomplish.
I thought Lorraine’s conscious decision not to be a victim demonstrated remarkable objectivity when faced with turmoil. She reminded me of two of ladies who have shared their stories: Carol Grever spoke of looking at her divorce from the perspective of an opportunity and Kay spoke also about deciding not to be a victim. I suspect it takes a certain type of person to make this decision although I do think it could apply whether or not you were initiating the divorce. What do you think? Did you or are you going through the same decision-making process now?