I spent what felt like an eternity wondering if I should end my marriage. I had tons of questions and very little answers. I knew I wasn't happy but, really, wasn't happiness overrated? I often thought: Were other married couples happy? Or did they feel how I felt, miserable.
What I learned was, couples in good marriages begin their days making the unconscious, decision to remain married. People in bad marriages begin and end their days in a conscious state of relentless stress and doubt. I know what it feels like to have your brain held hostage by sadness, unease, and upset. I was beginning to go mad.
Should I stay in this? (No.)
Will things get better? (No.)
What are my options? (Not a lot.)
Am I happy? (No.)
Can she be happy with this? (No.)
Is this what every marriage is like? (No!)
What should I do? (Get a divorce and stop this unhappyiness)
I was aware of the answers but I ignored them for many years. I lied to myself and I'd say, "I'm not that person who gets divorced."
What I learned over the years is that in order to fight for a marriage, there needs to be one in existence. I never had it in the first place and in reality neither had she. It never existed or was lost a very long time ago. What was I stating for? Absolutely nothing I was totally miserable in my marriage, it was over and we both knew it. We had conned ourselves that staying together was the right thing to do for the children. It was not the right thing to do. I did not want my children to live their parents misery and feel the unhappiness. It was beginning to effect their development and childhood. It is my job as their parent to provide better. I had witnessed poor children of people I knew live their parents marital farce and discontent. Mine were not going to suffer their parents failure.
Very early one morning I wondered into the kitchen to find my wife making coffee and we decided the marriage was over and we would separate. Over the coming months we sorted out many of our things without involving lawyers and much later years on we still are not divorced due to disagreeing on a few issues. But we have moved on and the our children have. Custody is 50-50 which translates to I have the children every Monday and Tuesday nights and every second Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
Separation/divorce makes you study the whole of your existence through a microscope an exercise you thought you'd never need. And, as things come into focus, "I'm not that kind of person," becomes, "Who knew? I just may be."
But divorce? Really? You're not lazy, uncaring, or irresponsible! So, how can it be you who is considering divorce? Of course that couple down the street is divorced because, well, they're them. But you? You're you. And last time you checked, you're not that kind of people.
Years ago, a therapist asked me point-blank, "What the f*ck are you doing in this marriage, Abby?"
I didn't have a good answer. I assume it was because I thought I wasn't the kind of person not to be. I wasn't the kind of person who would dismantle her life brick by brick. I wasn't the kind of person who would saddle her kids with divorced parents.
But then, as it turned out, I was and I am. I am that kind of person because I knew I couldn't be happy where I was. I am that kind of person because I wanted to show my kids it's okay to want more. I am that kind of person because I chose health over heartache, strength over fear.
I am the kind of person who gets divorced (and did!) because I get to choose what kind of person I am -- free of labels and judgment. And I'm proud to be that kind of person because I know the fortitude it takes to make such a monumental change.
Are you the kind of person who divorces? Perhaps you need look no further than your bathroom mirror. And maybe there, staring back at you, you'll see that kind of person. The kind of person who deserves something better and damn well knows it: You.