When I tell people I’m divorced, typically the first response I get is “I’m sorry” like I just told them someone close to me has passed away. I suppose, in a way, something has died.
Love that was supposed to be there just isn’t there anymore and that’s sad, I guess. Life didn’t turn out happily ever after like it does in Disney movies. No, divorce isn’t ideal.
But I don’t feel it’s always something to be sorry for.
We Need to Change the Social Stigma of Divorce.
Society has the worst mentality toward divorce. Of course, divorce isn’t ideal in the most general sense of the word. No one goes into a marriage hoping the outcome is a divorce. However, I think once it’s all said and done, divorce isn’t all that sad after all. Divorce, to me, says “We have grown as individuals and the way I grew did not align with the way he grew.” And that’s OK.
Divorce also says “We no longer got along and it is better for us and the kids if we co-parent separately.” And that’s OK. Or divorce may say “I got away from an abusive or toxic relationship and I am better for it.” And that sure as hell is OK. Divorce is not a bad thing. It is admitting that people change and not always in line with each other. It is accepting that and doing something about it so that both parties can continue down their own path.
Instead of saying “oh, I’m sorry” to a divorcee, we should start saying “good for you.” Good for you for realizing you weren’t happy and doing something about it. Good for you for protecting your emotional well-being and realizing you deserve better. Good for you for understanding it is possible to successfully co-parent apart.
Divorce isn’t always breaking a family apart.
Sometimes divorce is fixing a family by restructuring something that wasn’t working the way it was.
No, these situations aren’t ideal and I think there should be a time of mourning for the loss of a relationship and what was or what could have been. But ultimately, regardless of the minute details, the reason for divorce is because one or both partners aren’t happy in the relationship and want or deserve better for themselves. Good for them for realizing it and taking action.
Good for them.
I can hear a voice in my head (probably from my church upbringing, but also phrases people actually said to me amidst the filing) saying things like “you said vows. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?” Or “you just need to work harder at the relationship. Nothing is easy.” “Breaking up your family this way is selfish. Think about the kid(s)!”
I initiated my divorce and two years later, still solo, and living in a tiny two bedroom apartment that doesn’t allow pets, I still think it was the best decision made for all parties involved. I wasn’t getting the validation and respect I deserved from my partner and after 7 years of behind-the-scenes emotional trauma, I told him I wanted to end the relationship.
I was spending days doing all I could to avoid arguments.
“Discussions” he would call it, although there was no discussing. There was just him raging on and on about how he was right. The only thing to end his berating tirade was usually me locking myself in the bathroom begging him to just drop it and leave me alone. “You’re right. You win.” No matter what I said, I was wrong.
I didn’t want my 1-year old daughter growing up watching me seclude myself from her father, walking on eggshells and afraid to have the “wrong” opinion. I wanted better for myself and I wanted to set the best example I could for her. Living a meek life behind a locked bathroom door wasn’t the example I wanted to set. Our daughter is now splitting her time equally between two loving, happy homes as opposed to growing up in one home with parents who aren’t happy and aren’t getting along.
Her father and I co-parent better now that we are apart. We focus more on her than we do on our own disagreements and feelings toward each other. I just pray he won’t treat her opinions, views, and values the same way he treated mine. I’m striving to teach her that regardless of what anyone else says or thinks, her thoughts, views, opinions, and beliefs are always encouraged and welcomed in our home.
The way I see my personal situation, and divorce in general is: it’s better for everyone — kids included — to live life in a nurturing, happy home and if that involves two separate homes for the kids, so be it. It is better to abandon ship, per se, than it is to submit yourself to emotional isolation, ridicule, or perpetual violence every day for the sake of ‘marriage’. Marriage is not worth your emotional or physical well-being. Again, marriage is NOT worth sacrificing your well-being!
No one knows the true-ness of your situation except you. No one knows what really happens behind closed doors, or what you feel deep in your soul when it comes to your relationship. It may look like you are living The Dream to outsiders when in reality you are living an internal hell. If getting out of that situation and saying goodbye to that relationship settles your soul, do it. And, good for you.