Try harder? What do people think I had been doing other than trying?!?
“It’s a shame you couldn’t have just tried a bit harder.”
I wanted to punch the person who said that to me hard in the mouth, an extreme reaction I know but when will people understand that getting divorced is an absolute last resort?!
Contrary to popular belief, and in my experience both personally and professionally, NO ONE actually wants to get divorced. Reaching the point of separation, especially when there are children in the mix is the most gut-wrenching, stomach-turning, vomit inducing feeling you could ever imagine if you’ve not been there.
I don’t wish divorce on ANYONE. When I took my vows I took them for life, like my Parents, my Grandparents and all that surrounded me. I wanted that security and comfort that everyone seeks from marriage. Even simple things I was excited about, to have the same surname as my Husband and then of my child. It was so so important.
Just imagine how it felt when I knew that no matter how hard I tried that the union I was in was not meant to be?
My Mum and Dad were amazing, on several occasions I came close to uttering the words separation and every time they would come up with some kind words and injected a bit more strength in me to keep going. Marriage isn’t easy.
My sister was the best. Constantly encouraging me, being a sounding board but never once suggesting being a part was an option.
The toughest part of my situation was that in order for our relationship to be harmonious one or both of us had to completely stifle their key personality traits.
Our opinions on every single little thing were different and it ended with one or both of us feeling sad or resentful or angry as there wasn’t space for compromise.
Compromise. The word banded around all the time when it comes to being in a relationship. What if compromise actually meant giving in? Taking on the view of the other person so that life could just about be normal? What if compromise was only one-sided and the only way for the other person to ever be happy was to always do what they wanted?
I made several huge changes, gave up my brilliant job so I could be home. Gave up financial independence and poured every penny into the joint account. I started asking to do things and to buy things and slowly I disappeared. But still no happiness.
After two long years following the birth of our daughter, I asked for a separation. The answer was no, clearly, I didn’t care about ‘my marriage. I did. I wanted it more than I have ever wanted anything in my life but I was empty. Nothing left.
In the end, two days after New Year’s Eve I left after a huge row where I clearly stated that I wasn’t prepared to live in a house where someone kept shouting at me. I calmly told him that I had given him seven chances (why seven I will never know) and that I didn’t want it anymore.
I picked up our daughter and stepped out of the front door and I will always remember the feeling of this being it. We were completely over. I drove to my parents with a sleeping toddler, arrived and cried. I cried and cried. I put Ez to bed, looked up and at my Dad and said ‘well I’ve really fucked it this time’ – I mean I’d been a pain in my teens but a child by my side and a broken marriage was a whole new level!
Eventually, he moved out to his Mums temporarily so that I could come home with my daughter and work and she could have contact with her Dad. What happened next is another story for another day.
I am writing this so that next time someone utters the words ‘I want to leave my husband’ just listen. Ask why not so you can tell her why she should stay but so that you can understand quite how far she has come to be able to say this out loud.
If you’ve been through it, please please offer comfort, what she doesn’t need is the gore of your break up or divorce, there is PLENTY of time for that! Share your emotion, empathize because you more than many REALLY know where she is at.
Finally, for all who sit with the friend who says their relationship is over, just help. She will be a wreck for a while to come, from being so strong you won’t recognize her, to being a crying mess on the floor, an angry confused teenager-esque stage will rear its ugly head at some point along with bitterness and drunkenness. Just be there for her. She will come out the other side, she will never be the same again, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.