Great Thanks to the always awesome mikothebaby for her editing magic, and patience with grammar, spelling and punctuation. Her valiant attempts to make my stories readable are much appreciated. As Always, any and all errors are mine, and mine alone.
I've had MANY requests (OK more like demands and threats) to write a follow-up to the flash tale "Anatomy of an Affair", so here goes. Also while this saga is in story form, the attribution of this fable had a lot of "help" from the same place as Anatomy of an Affair.
We all know that about half of marriages end in divorce, but not a single one of us ever thinks it will happen to us, which is why it felt all the more unreal and heartbreaking when I was served divorce papers by my husband. Of course, I never thought I would have an affair either. It was just a long fling I ended months ago. I was so careful! Did he find out? How did he find out? Everything is going through lawyers now. It was like I was living word for word the "18 things no one tells you about Divorce" from ivillage, as my husband, my soul mate, the man I wished to spend the rest of my days with will not even speak with me.
Tazz once wrote "When it is time to pay the piper-the coin of the realm is expensive."
Informing the kids was the hardest moment of my life. I wanted us to tell the kids, share the news together as a united front. It was a trial to just get my husband to agree to be there, but only so I would not try to demean or shift the burden onto him. I know it was my own mess to clean up. The children blamed themselves first, which was the hardest. Then they blamed me outright. I was not prepared for anger, tears, screaming, then silence. My youngest a preschooler, did not get it right away. Which means I'll have to have some version of this conversation again and again.
I do not know how my husband did it, but he did not bad-mouth me to the kids. I hope he never does. I know what I did to my ex in the marriage but I want my kids to love me. I just pray he will not make snide remarks about I did, it just won't help them. It will cause confusion, pain and more heartache than they need. The goal now is to present as united a front as possible, and I can't do that if he is constantly tearing me down, although I know deep inside I do not deserve his consideration.
Even when I have treated their father with nothing but respect in the children's presence, the kids have started to point fingers. They may have overheard something or jumped to a conclusion or just misunderstand. All I can do is gently correct the facts, remind them that I love them no matter what, and do my best not to take it personally. I know children go through their own grieving and sorting-out process and this is just part of it. But God it hurts when my children have taken sides against me.
Wow, I never knew how the big "D", divorce, made people so uncomfortable, and their wish not to be around me. It is so unfair, as friendships I genuinely shared with my now ex-spouse just up and left me. The husbands all felt I would be a "bad influence" on their wives. I thought the days of the scarlet "A" were over, but friends that did not disappear, all seemed to take his side. When we split, I thought "my" people would go with me. I tried to surround myself with people who could see me for me, but it is hard, as all I seemed to attract were other cheating divorcees, or sleazy married men looking for a quick screw.
I cannot believe how tight money is. Neither one of us were millionaires, and even with the child support my standard of living has really dropped. I had to sell the home I loved so much, and downsize to a smaller crackerbox house. The precious savings evaporated to cover the legal bills. I wanted to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, now I am back at work. I do my best to keep an eye on the budget, but I only pray the added financial pressures won't last forever. I am exhausted just trying to make ends meet.
Why do I cry spontaneously all the time? The trigger could be anything: A family walking down the street. A pregnant woman. A co-worker announcing her engagement. Or the fact that the dumb cable people were three hours late. Why can't something just go right?!
You would think after I let it out that I'd feel better, but I don't! There are some things I just do not feel like doing, especially if it involves celebrating someone's marriage or baby. I tried to go anyway, well one time I did ... what a disaster! Every time I approached a group, the conversation would lag or go silent. Yes, I put on my game face, but my friends, who've I thought would have been there for me are nowhere to be found.
Breaking up really is hard to do. My therapist said the experience of divorce is second only to the death of a child in terms of stressfulness and associated pain. That is so true.
I never knew the tremendous amount of guilt divorce comes with. It's hard to not blame myself for, well, pretty much everything. I keep trying to tell myself, Number one: It's not all my fault. He chose to end the marriage. But why? Why did he not agree to counseling at least. Nobody chooses to end a marriage unless they've wrung their heart dry with trying.
Why did he want move forward so quickly and leave me behind. Other couples have gotten over a partners ... indiscretions. Am I not worth another chance? I am so depressed and nothing seems to help, I tried to spend time with my few remaining friends. Even going for walks and splurging on a spa day. Will the guilt of divorce and my actions to cause it ever go away?