Divorce simply by virtue – a piece of paper, a judgement, a settlement, does not so much make one divorced. Legally, all complete. Mentally, emotionally – stop right there.
Not so surprising when I consider how long I’ve known my ex: met at 18, dated at 19, married at 24, divorced at 52. That’s a helluva long time to know someone; their dreams, desires, fears and joys. Come to think of it, never gave much thought to my dreams, desires, fears and joys. Never occurred I could attain what I wanted. Did what needed to be done, ever the diligent and pleasant person, conflict was a stranger and I wanted no part of mingling with it. Thus, off I went, merrily along, many years of happiness, though lo and behold, not the most alert of the stay-at-home-Mom bunch. It is little surprise it’s taken me a while to let go of him, our roles, what I’ve known for so long.
To speak up, have a voice, I’m still learning to use both. This is especially challenging with my ex though not for reasons they once were. Fearful of his disappointment in me, the possible conflict of disagreement, I learned to shut down, was rather adept at looking the other way, my main concern keeping peace in my marriage, in the family. It’s what I knew.
Now I find myself not so much fearful, just having difficulty letting go of old patterns. Amongst all the growth, pain and turbulence, there is still comfort in old behaviors. Or is it I don’t wanna let go of what he and I had, or what I thought we had? No. I think I’ve had this wish, this hope, he would be different with me, how he treats me, put himself aside long enough to see how passionate and determined I am to reconcile with our children.
There was a time not too long ago I approached him for help – to work with me in terms as parents, show our kids what unification is, stand together in our love for them. I sent him a link, how to help young adult children when upon learning of a parental affair. Our marriage, the lack of emotional connection took little from our desire to be awesome parents. He turned me down, said nothing he could do, that I was on my own.
Divorce, no matter how amicable, it just plain sucks. It’s painful, rocks one’s world like nothing else, an alteration of such magnitude, reconstruction must be done with tremendous care, at everyone’s own emotional pace. One can not force another when, how, what to feel. Truly eye-opening for everyone involved.
I care. I must learn I can still care about my ex though remove myself from old roles. This has proven challenging more than willing to admit. I empathize with his own difficulties relating to his daughters.
Much of what I’ve learned about myself has been on my own. I’ve shared some my own progression with my ex, holding back yet allowing for expression of who I am now. The feelings of isolation from estrangement take me places I never thought existed. When there now, I don’t allow myself to stay too long, the recognition I’m a person who made bad decisions does not equate to a bad person. I can’t help my ex-husband anymore, not like I used to. This is a hard to face. It is not for me to judge how he is with his daughters or make things better for him. Allowing to keep an open mind, I desire nothing more than both he and I come to our own resolution within ourselves and who we are. Only then, I am willing to work together, the intention of being here for our girls, that our family, though dismantled as once was, never broken completely for there is something greater to behold – love, respect and forgiveness.