My ex-husband ended our marriage on November 5, 2016.
It was late afternoon on a Saturday. We had gone to a friend’s wedding the night before. And we had spent the day supporting my younger brother at his baseball game. It had been a slow and lazy day, which is exactly how Saturdays should be.
But things were tense between us. We had argued the night before at the wedding about his alcohol consumption and left early. We hadn’t spoken much at the baseball game. In fact, he didn’t even sit next to me the entire time we were at the game. Nor did he order me lunch when he ordered his own. Still, I didn’t expect what happened when we got home.
I put our 2-year-old daughter down for her nap and prepared to unwind with him with a little television and snacks. I thought the easiness of it was exactly what we needed to get out of our funk. I got everything ready while he showered – set the channel, gathered snacks, cleared the couch. Except this man came out of the shower with a completely different plan. Completely. He calmly and sadly announced that he was “leaving” me. This was big, not only because of what he said but because he was rarely calm when sad. He’d clearly thought about it.
I was shocked. Though I didn’t quite know what to say, I felt I should say something. But I didn’t want to argue or spook him. So I spoke very carefully. (Or at least, I thought I did.) I tried to understand why. To convince him to stay. To sacrifice my own needs and wants for his, in order to keep our marriage together. But it didn’t work. The whole time I talked, he packed. In all of 45 minutes, he had gathered what he needed (which was apparently only one bag) and left.
I had a toddler. I had no job. I was on the mend from a surgery that had left me immobile for 8 weeks. I was… to attempt to name or describe the emotion I felt at that precise moment has been an incredibly difficult and, quite honestly, undesirable task. But if I’m trying, I felt sorrow, uncertainty, panic, and embarrassment.
I tell you this not to get sympathy, compare our stories, or bash him. Rather, I tell you this to give you my frame of reference and help you understand my voice.
I have found in talking with other separated or divorced women, that no matter how the marriage ended, we all have to face many of the same challenges. It doesn’t matter if he left you or you left him; if you worked or stayed at home; if you tried or didn’t try; if you’re rich or not. I won’t dare ask you what your circumstances are (because people’s comfort in asking that question gets its very own post). Instead, just know I’m embracing you, I’m praying for you, I’m sad/angry/confused with you, and I’m here for you.
Can you relate?