I finally did it!
Getting the courage to tell my wife that our marriage was doomed took a long time for me. Despite being a journalist, I hate being the bearer of bad news, especially something as emotional and hurtful as divorce.
Anyone considering making the dreadful announcement should know there is NEVER a good time to voice your intentions to divorce. Is there a good month? Heck no! Many people do it after the winter holidays as these days only exasperate their situation. Is there a better day of the week to make your divorce announcement? Mondays would seem bad as it is the beginning of the work week. Fridays are the end of the work week. And, do you want to ruin one’s weekend?
After researching the heck out of “When is the best time to make a divorce announcement?”, I chose the morning of Saturday, November One. It was very calculated for various reasons.
1. My apartment was not available until Halloween. Making an announcement beforehand would have been awkward and expensive as I would have had to move to a hotel until my apartment was ready. A second big reason was that I was truly concerned about my physical wellbeing.
2. This may sound funny that a man thought a woman would harm him. I truly did due to her Lorena Bobbitt-like threats to me if she caught me cheating. Though an extramarital affair was not part of my situation, I thought leaving would trigger uncontrollable anger in my wife.
3. My wife had a haircut appointment that morning at 8:30am. Since it was a thirty minute drive to her hairdresser, I figured having at least two hours to move my things without her present would be ideal for both of us. I would not have to fear retaliation, and my wife would not have my move shoved in to her face.
Author Simon Sinek once said, “More information is always better than less. When people know the reason things are happening, even if it's bad news, they can adjust their expectations and react accordingly. Keeping people in the dark only serves to stir negative emotions.”
Like Sinek, I figured my timing would give my wife the time to react accordingly. I think Sinek is wrong about negative emotions. Leaving someone in the dark is a lot easier than informing your spouse, but telling your significant other that you want a divorce will definitely stir negative emotions. My wife had strong negative emotions as she felt completely surprised. Many of you will have the same reaction when you make that important announcement. Thanks to a monolithic cable company telling my wife in late-November that I called them in early-October to switch financial responsibility of the account, her surprise turned in to stronger anger. Like I said, there is no good date!
Catch 22 to announcing the bad news?
I certainly think so. But! There is a better side to that law, Captain John Yossarian. It is better to move forward with your new life by announcing your intentions to divorce. Why live a life of misery for months, let alone more years?
For several years, my wife and I had less and less in common. My communications to her were met without any actions on her part. I was miserable, and the only way to change my situation was to boldly make the dreaded divorce announcement. I know I did the right thing as listening to WCPE one December morning as I drove to work reminded me of why I want a divorce from my wife. It was nothing unusual that this great classical music radio station was doing.
What triggered my mind was that Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32 was being played as I drove down the highway to downtown.
Now, you are asking yourself, “What does music by Tchaikovsky have to do with this man’s divorce?”
When I was a young man, music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was my very favorite. I still remember buying Swan Lake, Op. 20 as my very first classical music album. It is still in my records collection. Listening to Tchaikovsky that morning did not have the effect on me as it did in 1977. This is due to the fact that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is by far my most favorite classical music composer. In 37 years, my tastes in classical music has changed.
It is a microcosm of what has happened to me since I bought that LP in a Salt Lake City record shop. I have changed; I am no longer the same man I was when I got married in 1985. In my opinion, people can change quite a bit from their 20s to their 50s. I certainly did, and it is a big reason my first marriage was no longer working. Most likely, my wife has changed, too, accentuating the irreconcilable differences between us now.
So, November 1, 2014 became the date that I separated to initiate a new life…a life that would reflect the changes I have made in three decades.