First, let me start by saying divorce sucks. I don’t care if it is wanted, not wanted, both parties agree it is the best decision for them both, or one person is still holding on to something already gone. All the way around….divorce sucks! No one gets married to get divorced. I firmly believe that. But sometimes, forever is limited and it just comes sooner than you think. Sometimes, it ends up being the best thing that ever happened to a person. Sometimes. Yes, there are hurt feelings…yes, there is sadness…yes, there is guilt and the feeling of failure…yes, there is anger, (and believe me, you have to let yourself feel ALL of that!!)…but sometimes, although it sucks, divorce does not have to be devastating. It doesn’t have to fit into the “War of the Roses” theme of two people hating each other for the rest of their lives, and the once loving relationship becoming more of a competition to see how much one human can hurt another human. And oh yeah, if there are kids even better, because they can now use them as a pawn to hurt the other one even more. Sometimes this happens. But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes a divorce can create a relationship(s), that are more meaningful than one can ever imagine. This is the kind I want to talk about. My kind of divorce:
My ex-husband and I were young when we got married. Young and in love, and 100% sure we would have all the answers to questions we didn’t even know existed on our wedding day. We stayed that way for quite a while. We had two great kids together (plus a golden retriever, a black cat and the house… minus the picket fence….). But as time went on, our life and each other became versions neither one of us recognized. It wasn’t an immediate action that caused our divorce. It wasn’t a betrayal (other than betraying our true selves for so long, and what we were really feeling about our marriage)…..no, it was a slow, day by day decay of a once loving and naive relationship. It was two people still loving the other one for the person that they were and respecting them immensely, but no longer “in love”. Two people truly desiring a different way of being, of living. That can be the most painful. You see, when someone does something that hurts you, it is easy to think bad thoughts about them or to end the relationship. But when it is more subtle and there is not that “one thing” that he or she does, and you actually deeply care for that person, but know it is not what is best for either one of you to stay, then that is where the pain lies. How do you say goodbye to something (to someone) who you actually really do like and care for, but no longer in a passionate and “can’t live without you” type of way? What then? Who is going to say it first? Who is going to open that pandoras box? Well, in the end…that person was me. And it sucked. But life got so much better…for us BOTH!
Flash forward 6 years later, Christmas Eve 2015, and this is what my ex-husband and I’s family looks like now:
(My ex-husband, his wife, her two kids, my husband, his daughter, my parents, my ex-mother-in-law, and mine and my ex-husband’s two kids……one big, beautifully blended, modern version of what extended family can mean)…..
In the past 6 years there has been a lot of changes for both my ex-husband and myself, personally, professionally and all of the above in the change category! But, through all the changes in the years, we have always stayed focused on doing what we felt was best for our children, and so from the start we never had the traditional divorce. We never felt we had to be dictated by the legal system when each of us could spend time together with the kids. We never bought into the one year here, one year there mentality. It has always been and always will be, what is best for the kids. What do THEY want? And oh, by the way, I still enjoy spending time with my ex, so why not just jointly celebrate life’s biggest moments TOGETHER?!! Yes, this is how we define divorce. It is not a he said/she said type of divorce. It is not a “do anything I can to prove I am a better parent” type of divorce. No, far from it. It has become a respectful and loving relationship that includes being deeply grateful and happy for the other one when they finally found their true soulmate. When I see my ex-husband and his wife living their life, enjoying the moments together and raising a family together (yes, that includes my two kids…), it truly makes my heart smile. I wish nothing but the best for them. My kids have twice as much love and support, so how can that ever be a bad thing?
Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the two people who make my relationship with my ex-husband possible the way it is today. My husband and my ex-husband’s wife. You see, they are obviously divorced as well, and may or may not have the same experience with their former spouses, but, they both accept and encourage the relationship my ex-husband and myself have created, and they have become a part of it. The four of us together have united to become parents to my (now “our”) two children, and it is wonderful. It is more love for them. More support for them. More life experiences to pull from that may help guide them. Has it always been easy? Hell no! In fact, the four of us together experienced one of life’s most difficult parenting moments back in 2014, and it was tragic. It was an unknown experience that none of us knew what to do with. The four of us went to counseling as a group for “our” child. The four of us loved and supported “our” child in the darkest of days. The four of us…well, will always be the four of us, and I wouldn’t want it any other way!
Is the relationship that my ex-husband and I, and now our spouses have unique? Maybe. Maybe not. Is what we have for everyone? Absolutely not (so please don’t berate me with how I don’t know how it feels to be blank, or whatever….because, maybe I don’t!…I get it…)…..Believe me, all any of us can do is speak from our own experiences, and I am not naive to think there is not some absolutely terrible circumstances when it comes to divorce, so please know I am not saying everyone’s divorce HAS TO or SHOULD look like mine. I will never say that about anything I choose to write about!!….but, what I am saying is that this is what mine looks like. That it is possible to be divorced and it doesn’t define me or what I choose my life to be like. It happened. I also want you to know I am not an advocate or cheerleader of divorce as well. My hope is that anyone going through a troubled marriage can in the end, mend it and go on to live happily ever after. BUT, sometimes that just isn’t real life. And this is real life my friend.
So, can I look back and go “hooray me, I am divorced”!!….ummm, no….but I can look back and continue to be proud of myself, my ex-husband, our spouses today, our kids, our combined extended family and be so very thankful and happy for what was, and what is still to come, because being beautifully blended since 2011 (the year both my ex-husband and myself got remarried) has only enriched my life in a way I never thought possible. For this, I am forever grateful.
I know this was a long post my friend. Thanks for hanging in there with me. As we close 2015, I want you to know that this blog, as a place where I can be myself, and speak my experiences and feelings out loud, is one of the things I am most thankful for. YOU are one of the things I am most thankful for because you are here. You listen. You let me know your thoughts as well. You let me know I am not crazy and hopefully I do that same for you! Let’s do it all again in 2016! 🙂