It’s no secret that I have recently gone through one of the more negative life changing events, divorce. Honestly, it all happened very fast. Last Thanksgiving the thought really hadn’t crossed my mind and by February of this year, my husband had moved out and the process began. I am not writing this post to air my dirty laundry or “ex-husband bash”. When it all went down, I asked him to move out and he obliged. I think we had both realized that the relationship was either on it’s way out or had actually ended a few months prior. It was slightly emotional but honestly, there were never any huge cry sessions on the phone, never massive brawls on who did what (not to say we did not have a handful of arguments over the kiddos), or never any talks of missing each other or getting back together. We both seemed to resort to an auto-pilot co-parenting mode and began our new lives immediately.
I have been wanting to write this post for some time but wanted to make sure that I had a very clear, unbiased mind before doing so. I have been getting tons of questions and up until now, I have chosen to dodge the subject. After 7 months of my new single momma life, I think I am ready to write on the subject in hopes to help other ladies who are going through the same thing.
When to Know it’s Over.
There are different aspects of a relationship that will indicate when it is over, and to be honest, not every scenario is the same. I clued in to the ending of my marriage when I noticed that I was becoming exceedingly needy in my feelings and nagging in my tone. I felt completely unfulfilled and according to my husband at the time, he had no idea on how to satisfy my needs. I also observed a change in his demeanor as well. He became very distant and completely resistant when it came to the relationship. Maybe he just didn’t want to be around a nagging wife? It seemed that we had both developed a case of resentment towards each other, the ultimate relationship death if not resolved.
We had tried counseling, tried to change for each other, weekly date nights, and a while slew of other things. It all boiled down to one thing. While we enjoyed each other as roommates and friends, we just weren’t right for each other in a marriage any longer. Somehow we had grown apart or maybe we never fully grew together? I’m not really sure where it all went wrong. It just did. I am so thankful that we have maintained a friendship type of relationship. He is very non-confrontational and honestly, I can be pretty confrontational but we both care so much for our kiddos that we are super respectable of each other. We communicate very neutrally with a friendly tone which prevents huge fires and keeps our little split family happy. That is key when having kids. If you are in the same situation, you need to understand that while you are divorcing, your children’s father will ALWAYS be a part of your family whether you like it or not. He doesn’t play the lover role in your eyes any longer, but it is ok to care for him as a family member and if you treat him like you would a family member, your new split family will run super smoothly. It goes both ways though… He needs to reciprocate.
How Did it Affect Me?
I can’t speak to this topic on a general level as all situations and circumstances are very different but I can go over the characteristic changes that occurred within myself. In the beginning, once I had come to the conclusion that this is what had to happen to better my, my ex-husband’s, and my boy’s lifestyles for the future, I began acting on auto pilot. I made a cognitive effort to shut off all feelings and focus on the task at hand. I felt like he knew it was over too but was not going to make a move. I needed to implement the change for both of us. I am not trying to act as the martyr or hero of this divorce, but I am a big picture kind of gal. After taking many aerial view trips over our relationship, as bad as I wanted to see things differently, it was just clear. After moving through the motions, much in a robotic fashion and refusing to allow myself to feel anything, the divorce was final. That was when my emotions wavered a bit. Not because I was feeling regret, but because the past 5 years began flashing before my eyes and the memories that came forward excluded the bad ones. I began to recap when we met, when we moved in together, when we got a house, when we bought a family car, our first son, our second son, the birthday parties, Christmas, being pregnant in our house, the sleepless nights waking up with the boys, the business we once had together…and as I looked up at the judge and watched her stamp the paper, I realized that all of my memories had been reduced to a piece of paper, and that was that. Stamped, closed, next case, next chapter. It was bitter-sweet but still I marched on.
How Did it Affect the Kids?
My kiddos are only 1 and 3 so honestly, it hasn’t effected them tremendously when it comes to emotions. Sure, there are lots of questions and statements like, “Mommy, remember when daddy lived here?” “Mommy, daddy finally has his new home!” “Mommy, do I have to go to a new home too?” (this one kills me) “Mommy, remember when this was daddy’s room too?” “Mommy, remember when me and you and daddy would snuggle in the mornings?” (awkward)
I always acknowledge the question and answer very neutrally without much explanation. Yes, there is always an overwhelming amount of guilt when the questions come and I want to explain how “mommy isn’t the bad guy” but he is 3 and his little brain is not developed enough to know blame or to comprehend the complexities of divorce, so I just tell myself to not take it personally and to move on. Chances are, he will not remember his dad and I together, therefore it may not affect him to the extreme that it would had he been older. My parents divorced when I was 3 and it really did not affect me emotionally at all. I had so much love from both sides of my family and while I missed my dad when I was with my mom and vice versa, I was able to learn different things from both families and developed just like any other child.
I ask myself this on the daily. It is going on 7 months and I am still trying to get into a new routine. When your life has been one way for 5 years, it is hard to wake up one day and do everything differently. I have learned several big lessons through it all, one of the most important lessons has been to nurture myself. When you are going through a divorce, the only person, other than yourself, that can totally relate to your situation is the person going through it with you. I think this is why it is so scary and also why it is so easy to try to lean on your ex’s shoulder. I have been extremely careful about not doing this. It will only cause confusion and additional stress on the situation. Instead, I have learned to confide in my closest friends and soak up the love from my family. I don’t like to burden my family with my issues and I don’t want to create a distaste for my ex in their eyes since he will still be around for a very long time, so instead I just soak up the moments and love they have to give and take the time to nurture myself back to an emotional healthy state. I have learned so much about myself through this self nurturing process. I have allowed myself to say “No” more and to take time to focus on my boys, business, and my own health. I am making an effort to do more of what I love and to rediscover who I am again.