DO tell your friends.
Immediately after he left, I just sat there on my couch. My daughter woke up, and came into the living room to sit with me. I sat with her, nestled into my side, and thought briefly that this is what it would be like from now on. Just that thought choked me up a bit, literally. I felt myself about to cry. Not that pretty cry in the movies where one stream of tears roll down their cheek as they continue speaking calmly. Rather, I wanted to cry so hard that my body convulsed and my face scrunched up and my eyes shut and my nose ran. But I didn’t want to do that in front of my daughter. Suck it up, L!
I turned the television to Disney so she would be entertained. I gave her a snack and brought some of her toys over to her. She happily started to entertain herself. I got up and went to call someone. But who?
I needed to tell someone. I needed someone to know what I was going through. To understand how I felt. To maybe even fix it for me. But, I didn’t call my parents first. I was too embarrassed. I hadn’t told my parents we were having problems, and that he had threatened to leave before. Telling them he had left would require detailing the past 6 months, and I didn’t have the energy or the words to do that. So I texted three of my friends the simple words “He left.”
One of them is my best friend. I’ve known her since my first day of college 13 years ago. I had been telling her everything during the course of our marriage. The second and third are friends I had recently met in a mommy group. I told them a lot of the things that happened in my marriage because they were also married, and Christians. Each of them responded immediately with concern. And each of them told me they were on their way to my apartment.
They showed up, one by one. They hugged me, deeply and meaningfully. They didn’t pry me with questions, offer criticism, or add to my panic. They didn’t criticize him or speak about the future. They just sat with me, present in that moment. They listened to me ramble as I attempted to process what happened. They wiped my tears when I broke down of sorrow. They assured me of my self-worth when I blamed myself. They ordered food and made me eat when that was the furthest thing from my mind. They even entertained my daughter so she would not see my tears or feel my sorrow. And they didn’t leave until I assured them, hours later, that I would actually sleep.
I will never, ever forget about their support that day. Sitting on the floor, crying into their shoulders, feeling their comfort. That is friendship. I absolutely could not have started my divorce journey off so “smoothly” if it hadn’t started with them supporting me in that way. WE need loving and supportive friends in our lives.
It’s not a burden or an embarrassment. It’s love. Friends are meant to be there in your good times and your bad times. They’re meant to walk through life with you, without blaming or criticizing. They’re meant to catch you when you fall. I’m sure you’ve done it for them before; let them do it for you too. Because trust me, we can’t do this alone.
Have you told a friend? Are you leaning on her/him? What was their reaction?