I Didn’t Know Divorce Was Going to Be This Hard

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I’ve heard of family members and friends getting divorced and it always used to seem like a routine kind of thing. “Oops, well, half of all marriages end in divorce.” No big deal, right? No. If you don’t agree on anything it turns into a prolonged court battle, paying an attorney $50 per email and what feels like a million dollars to get nothing accomplished. Just another hearing where everyone says, “Huh, they still don’t agree on anything.” If you think the court will help you, you are mistaken.

I hope that most divorces are amicable, but honestly, that’s hard to believe because otherwise people wouldn’t be getting divorced. In my case, it has been like a crashing and burning, spontaneous combustion, total tsunami terrible experience. Normally I’d have a problem getting through just one of the 99 problems I now have. Now I’ve lost my home, time with my kids, my money, my time due to court appearances, had to get a job, move, and start all over again with nothing. I’ve lost my best friend, the companionship I thought I had, sex, and the dreams I counted on continuing. I took for granted the fact that we’d grow old together and retire. I lost my financial security, savings, and any potential college fund for the kids all peed away on this divorce.

I’ve had to let go of all my attachments to material things I won’t get back because it’s not worth fighting over dumb stuff like furniture and things with only sentimental value. What is really important? When I die, I won’t be able to take anything with me.

I thought I had the perfect life for a minute. But, the amount of loss weighs heavily on me. If I could have avoided it, I would not have gotten a divorce, but sometimes there isn’t another option. Other people continually ask me, “Can’t you reconcile?” As if things were so black and white. “Lots of people stay together for the kids.” Well, what does that teach the kids? What kind of a life is that?

I find it hard to trust myself because of all the lies that somehow were entangled in the relationship right under my nose. I had been gaslighted so much that I eventually gaslit myself, if that’s possible. How can I ever date again when I fell right into all of his traps? There were red flags, burning flags, heck, the whole circus was on fire and I kept right on saying, “This is fine.” But, of course, nothing was fine, even from the beginning. I feel foolish and guilty because I’m putting my kids through something that should have been avoided. The relationship should have ended before it ever started.

I tried to reconcile with how this relationship entailed a cycle of abuse and I became swept up in it. My reality changed so subtly that I never realized my personhood had been systematically erased until I put up with things I would never have stood for before the relationship. Other people sometimes don’t understand. “Well, you must have liked it because you married him,” said my first attorney. The court system says, “He’s not that bad; we deal with worse all day long.” Does that invalidate my experience just because it’s not the worst case you’ve ever seen?

I worry that things are not going to get better. As I keep moving forward, the court case gets more contentious, emotions run high, and I wonder how I’ll get through it. I worry that I’m losing momentum and starting to give up internally, bending under the weight of all of this difficulty. I hope this divorce is the hardest thing I’ll ever have to deal with. I continually wonder how I got into this mess and how things got so bad.

My support system keeps me going. My faith allows me to believe that God has a plan for me. I know my life has a purpose and I am destined to go on to help other people. There’s no limit to the wonderful things that can happen. Just because they haven’t happened yet, doesn’t mean that they won’t.

In my divorce support group, we say the Serenity Prayer and I always remember the line, “That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You in the next life.” The goal isn’t to be happy all the time—if I settle right now for generally content and okay, that is excellent. I remember from Isaiah, how I will walk through the fire, but I will not be burned. I will go through the raging waters in the sea and not drown. That doesn’t mean I won’t feel pain or turmoil, but I am not alone. I’m not the first one to deal with this situation and others still have it worse than me.

I try to imagine how I am free now. I can do anything I want. As bad as things are sometimes, it also means that they can be better than ever if I believe and trust that the universe will work it out. My intentions are pure and I’m always trying my best to be a genuine human being, trudging through to find the rainbow at the end. One day, I’ll turn around and realize that this is all over. I’ll be impressed with how I got through this divorce period despite all the obstacles. My kids will also see it’s okay to talk about the hard things.

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