Um, Excusez-moi, I Didn’t Want to be Single.

I’m getting divorced. I didn’t want to get divorced but seeing as my husband has split (it’s been a few years now), it is probably time for me to face the music. I don’t want to be single but there’s no dignity or integrity in staying married to someone who has created a whole new life for himself.

Roughly 2/3 of divorces are filed by women. It’s easy to read into this that women are the initiators of divorce but that may be a convenient stretch. How many of those filings are attributable to the simple lack of physical filing on the part of the husband (as in my case)? I’ve witnessed numerous husbands who border on despondent yet stay married. Is it possible that men just don’t take the initiative to file for divorce even if they are in sex-less, life-less (I don’t generally believe in love-less*) marriages?

At some point maybe I’ll reduce myself to articulating, on this blog, the ridiculous lengths I went to to “save” my marriage. Well, it’s saved! I’m still married but I have no husband in the flesh. He’s gone and we are only a partnership in that we share children together (whom he sees when his schedule allows) and we still share a bank account. For starters, the book Divorce Busting by Michele Weiner-Davis was my main resource and I spent a great deal of time on the forums of Divorcebusting.com . Go ahead, check it, get a good laugh at the expense of desperate left behind spouses seeking communion, support and advice from virtual strangers. Once in a while a couple makes it back together and the gaggle of hopeful romantics (translation- delusional broken-hearteds) dine on crumbs of evidence that maybe, just maybe it will all work out.

I don’t want to be a fucking divorcée. I don’t want to inherit all of the characteristics that accompany that title. But, am I any better off being the estranged “left behind wife”? I’ve resolved that the answer is no.

I do believe that men and women screw each other over pretty evenly. I don’t know a man or woman who hasn’t come through divorce wounded and with great difficulty. I just know that who actually files does not indicate what the circumstances were that led up to the divorce nor does it indicate who is suffering more.

I’m still a fan of marriage and a huge proponent of keeping our commitments to each other. I still believe that children thrive in intact households. I still wish that marriages could be held together by the will of one but, I’m proof, they can’t (beyond just staying married on paper).

*Overall, I truly believe that in the majority of marriages if you loved someone enough to marry them (Brittany Spears and her ilk excluded), you will always love them to some degree even if you convince yourself otherwise or try to revise history. It’s okay. You can love someone and not even speak to him or her for the rest of eternity. That’s just my opinion of course.

Oh, one more thing, I linked to the Divorce Busting book and website because I think a) they can help people stay together before the shit hits the fan and b) they did help me find some solace in not being alone and knowing I would survive regardless of the outcome of my marriage.

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6 thoughts on “Um, Excusez-moi, I Didn’t Want to be Single.

  1. I admire your ability to “still be a fan of marriage.” I am – for others – if they enter it with their eyes wide open (which is, of course, the problem in this country).

    Then again, our ridiculous Divorce Industry is also the problem. That’s a dissertation unto itself.

    As to the highly misleading divorce stats on women doing the filing, as you rightly point out, we’re often backed into a corner to do the filing or “left” to do the filing. Hardly the reflection of a desire to be divorced; more accurately the necessary act of yielding to an unmovable force – not to mention – insufficient $$ to just keep going.

    You may find the About.com Divorce site of use. I only wish I’d had it as a reference when I went through this more than 10 years ago. It would’ve made an enormous difference.

    My only advice at this moment?

    Assume nothing. Research on your own. Protect yourself and your kids, especially financially.

  2. Thanks for your comment! Sage words. I’m a few years into this separation and pretty apprised of my rights etc. but I do live in fear of the actual divorce (clearly why I’ve stayed married though husband-less).

    I am a fan of marriage because I think it is optimal for the kids and I still long for a legitimate partner to share this journey with. I am an even bigger fan of couples NOT divorcing with children involved. Of course, I’ve discovered that the damage is done by the separation and destruction of the family unit, not as much the divorce itself. And, as there are many ways to skin a cat, there are many ways to destroy a family.

    My greatest hope and current interest is in how we may modernize and evolve our concepts of male/female relationships so that marriage becomes viable in a new paradigm. I think much of the problem now is the adapting of men and women to huge gender shifts that have happened relatively quickly.

    Anyway, your input is so appreciated. I have been to your blog many times. It’s quite flattering to have you here. 🙂

  3. I didn’t want to be divorced either. I had great fear of that station in life. I found out that “divorced” is only a word. I was the same person outside my marriage that I had been inside but with a deeper understanding of myself, what I wanted to do with my life and the path I would take.

    I fought the divorce, like you I hung out on the forums at divorce busting and did everything in my power to save my marriage and keep my family intact. I look back now and wish I had put some of that energy into accepting that I didn’t have the power to do that.

    You are at a difficult stage in this process. It isn’t easy to have to go where you don’t want to go. If it is any consolation, you will one day look back and appreciate who you became because of all the adversity.

    • Again, thank you so much for your sage words. It is consolation. I am here writing because I have made it to the acceptance phase (at least as much as humanly possible). The divorce itself means potential financial hardship and less time with my children. That would be okay if dad was around to pick up the slack but he’s not and they need at least one present parent. Truthfully, he and I are both hanging on to that last thread of enmeshment. We got together very young and we are still attached. I spent most of my adult life connected to him so it will be scary and liberating to fly solo. But, at least now I want it!!! I mean I really want to be free. Amazing how a few years will alter one’s perception. Anyway, those divorce busting days are far behind me now. I’ll be writing more about them at some point. I hope you’ll stick around.

  4. Since I was normally the one who got stuff done, my wife left it to me to file. I insisted through the mediation process that she be the one to file if she was the one who wanted to leave. It wasn’t going to save anything, but it would make me feel slightly better about myself about having the divorce forced on me.

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