Three years. It has been 3 years since my divorce, and what has changed? What has stayed the same? It’s springtime and in addition to cleaning the house, my mind calls for organization, and accounting.
There are the big, obvious changes: I’ve got my Master’s degree in psychology now, and a really good job that I love. I have a beautiful home that I share with my daughter, and it is just perfect for us. I take care of my household without the help of a partner, and this place looks pretty great most of the time. I pay my bills on time every month. I’ve paid off my car, and a credit card. Another big change is that I have a professional life; a real profession where my ideas are valued, my presence is necessary. I manage my life from day to day without constantly thinking I need input from other, more capable people. That right there is the biggest change: I feel powerful. I can say no to an invitation to a party without feeling guilty. I can sit down on the couch after a long day at work, and do nothing, without feeling like I should be. I can use my spare time to make a painting or a sculpture, without hearing a voice in the back of my head telling me I’m not being productive. I can blow my tax return on a trip to NYC for my daughter and me, and feel like I deserve it. And these things make me happy!
It took a long time for me to feel powerful, and with it has come happiness. As a mother, I’ve always felt happy, and powerful, but as an individual, not so much. I think I had the thought “I’m happy!” for the first time about a month ago.
Three years! It makes sense that there would be changes in any life in three years time, but divorce changes everything. Feeling truly happy even though I’m single, feeling valued as a person even though I’m somewhat socially awkward, feeling like my presence on the planet makes an impact: this feels good! So much has changed but it also makes sense that there would be things that have stayed the same.
What has stayed the same? I’d say that about 4 times a year, or maybe 5, or maybe it’s 20 times a year- I am filled entirely with anger, sadness, rage, seething fury, sorrow, despair, wretchedness, horror and grief. Even though I am so happy in my new life, there was still something taken away: The miscarriage. That ending. The event that meant my daughter would not have a sibling. My husband and I were supposed to carry that together. Instead he met a woman with 3 children, and got engaged to her. Now my daughter has 3 siblings when she is over there, but when she’s here, she is still an only. So why can’t I just be glad she has them in her life? Of course I am, but there will always be the knowledge of rejection in the face of my failure. My body couldn’t do it, I failed, and I lost the baby. I lost my husband. He left, and found a woman that could give him the family he wanted for himself, and for our daughter, the family they both deserved. The kind of family that I can only surmise, I did not. I will sometimes walk into the empty house when my daughter is at her dad’s and the emotion- the hate this made me feel reaches out from some deep chasm and restrains me and I’ll be locked in it’s fierce grip for the night.
Sometimes what hasn’t changed is the disappointment of being of a certain age, and single. Again, what he did to me- he left me for this much younger woman. He did it just as I was reaching an age of feeling and seeing a decline: skin wrinkling,
eyesight failing, hair turning grey, back problems, and pre-menopause. These are things I thought I’d go through with my partner. As a couple we were hitting that phase where the effects of age became a common experience, and we had each other to laugh about it with. As I write this now, I feel that bitter pill stuck in my throat.
My partner decided he no longer wanted to be in my life, and it’s not just that: he despised me; he couldn’t stand to be in the same room with me. He said he never loved me. Will I be able to open myself up to trust after this? I know I am not alone in having had an experience like this. After 3 years I still sometimes feel the shock of it as if it is happening right now, so sharp is the pain. Three years. I have not had a real relationship since my divorce. When these windows open onto my pain, I am not sure if I’ll ever be ready. That other life was not perfect, and in retrospect I could never have become powerful in that relationship. I celebrate the work I can now do with my brain, my soul and my hands now that I’m not confined by the partnership that wasn’t a partnership, but my body, my mind, my neurons, my cells were all changed by the trauma of my broken heart. I find the healing to be slow.