Small Steps, Big Risks and a Reprieve From the Governor

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December 03, 2013

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I’m right smack in the middle of a breakup. Husband #2 moved out earlier this year and I’ve been living life one day at a time, searching for employment, making ends meet, and waiting for the day when divorce papers would be placed in my hand by the man I wanted to grow old with.

In October Husband #2 admitted to me that he had contracted a lawyer and started the proceedings. The filing of papers to end our union was in the works. And that’s all I knew. I had no clue as to how long the process would take or when a petition for divorce would arrive with a check in the box next to the text “The marriage is broken and cannot be saved.”

And the first curve ball comes out of nowhere. Prior to finding out that he had contacted a lawyer, I agreed to meet with Husband #2 on neutral ground, a city halfway between here and there, someplace we could have a date. I was troubled. Do I go? Do I not go? I decided to face my fear and do it anyways. What was the worst that could happen? After all, I had my own car and could leave if things got too rough.  It was me saying Yes to Life.

So I committed to a fun weekend.

The second curveball was finding out about the lawyer and filing. Again, I agonized over the commitment I made to the trip in November. This time I wasn’t going to meet up with a man who was unsure about divorce…I was meeting up with a man who had FILED divorce. But there is a very responsible part of me that follows through on my word. I decided to go and meet with Husband #2. I’m sure that many would think I was crazy. I blame it partly on my Wanderlust.

Like I said, feel the fear and do it anyways.

I went. It was wonderful. Deep down I knew it would be. Husband #2 and I have always enjoyed traveling together. It’s one of the things that makes us cool and interesting to our friends.

Thanksgiving came and went. I cooked for an army even though my army was away. I knew Husband #2 was off to spend the day with his immediate family. I called and left him a message of gratitude for being a part of my life over the last dozen years. Nothing too heavy, just a light little wish you well for him to listen to when he had a chance.

The email came in on Black Friday:

You are often in my thoughts. It is hard for me to want you and yet be so afraid of being hurt again. I am grateful for the time we had together and also your well wishes now. I look forward to the trip in January. Thanks for the cards. I know you mean well and are letting me in on your inner thoughts. I also ask for some space to deal with my job situation, my aging parents, the season and the holidays.  Give me a couple weeks to process everything as I am feeling overwhelmed by it all.

I responded back simply saying he had a sympathetic ear to listen if he wanted to talk about his troubles – as long as there was no conversation about “us” and our situation. I’ve recently taken the stance that we are not strong enough to talk about relationship problems. I’ve temporarily tabled all relationship talk until we’ve had a chance to build up some goodwill between us. Why try running a marathon when you’re suffering from the flu?

So Husband #2 called on Monday and, to my surprise, he wanted to talk about us. I agreed to listen but told him I would not comment. I was there for support.

And here is curve ball #3.

Husband #2 received the divorce papers from the courts earlier in November, before our trip to the neutral territory. He did not want to bring them along and ruin our time together. Then he held them because he did not want to spoil my Thanksgiving…or my Christmas. And by the time we see each other in January, the papers will be beyond the response date.

Who knew divorce petitions had an expiration date?

I listened as he continued to talk…

It turns out Husband #2 has decided to hold off on divorce for 2 years in an attempt to heal and build up some love, goodwill, respect and strength between the two of us. For my own part, I have decided to give our relationship my full effort for 1 year and made this decision after our trip in November. I just hadn’t told Husband #2 about it yet. So we came clean with each other and settled on a temporary divorce cease fire.

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Is it a reconciliation? Not by a long shot. We still live miles…states…time zones apart. But it is a large step forward in a larger journey.

I take comfort in looking back and seeing how different our situation is now compared to 2 months, 6 months, or 11 months ago. We are no where near running a marathon, but we are learning to crawl and taking baby steps towards an uncertain future.

The threatening black cloud of divorce does not hang over me, at least not for a while. For that I am very grateful.

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