On Divorce

Anna’s ‘Storms of Marriage’ post provoked quite the response from you, our readers. There were those of you who are adamant you’ll never get divorced, those for whom divorce is a practical if unpalatable concept and those who were undecided on how they would react should their relationship get to the point where ‘divorce’ became a very real thing.
Then there was this lady. Anita wrote to us with her story, and I am not ashamed to say that I cried. Twice. Anita has dealt with more trauma in the last 18 months than most of us could fathom and yet in the closing paragraphs of this piece, she exudes hope and strength and it is beautiful to witness. Bittersweet, yes, but beautiful nonetheless.
Anita, after reading this, we cannot doubt that you absolutely will have your happy ending….
I haven’t had a first wedding anniversary.
I know lots of other people haven’t either, but the difference is that I have had a wedding. And it was 18 months ago.
My wedding day was the happiest day of my life. My husband made me feel like we were going to take on the world together –and win, like we were utterly unbreakable. We had friends who had got divorced, and I sometimes said, ‘what if that happens to us?’ and he’d simply say ‘we’re not like that’, and…I believed him. I have often described our relationship as being like ‘movie love’, because that was what it felt like. The stuff dreams are made of.
So what made it turn into a nightmare?
I really don’t know. Honest.
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Don’t get me wrong, there were external factors. Immediately after our wedding, some very stressful things happened –my mum was diagnosed with cancer, and my husband started a new job working long hours and with a long commute. It was tough. But I still kept saying ‘we’ll get through it’.
So when, 9 months after my wedding day, my husband said to me, ‘I can’t do this any more, I’m moving out’, all I could think was ‘what happened to my dream?’ I would have given anything to make my marriage work. I’d have cut off my own arm if it would have helped matters. It wouldn’t have, but talking would. But how do you talk to someone who won’t talk to you? How do you fix what they won’t let you fix?
It took a long time for me to accept that the relationship was over because I was so insistent that we were better than this. We had a whole future planned out, how could we just give up on it? We were MOVIE LOVE for heaven’s sake!! Divorce was something that happened to other people, not to me. Needless to say, being Catholic didn’t exactly help with dealing with all of this. I had said ‘for better for worse, til death us do part’ and that was what I was sticking with, no matter what, even if he didn’t feel the same.
After a while I started seeing some small positives in the situation –I had the freedom to spend as much time as I wanted with my mum without feeling guilty that I was neglecting my husband, I even had the flexibility to move away from the city my husband and I were living in (which I’ve never liked much anyway) and start a new life and find some adventures in a new place. I rediscovered some independence and resourcefulness I’d neglected in the past 5 years –managed to rearrange my house myself, fix my burglar alarm and even see a solicitor about the situation, to get financial and legal advice and consider the next steps. But even after thinking about those positives, I STILL didn’t want to get divorced. I was still waiting for my fairytale, for my husband to come back so we could have our happy ending. I swear I could even hear the romantic crescendo music in my head sometimes.
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Dreams are all very well, but sometimes you have to face up to real life. And sometimes when you do it makes you stronger. When my beloved mum finally passed away a month ago and my soon-to-be-ex-husband only sent a brief text, I thought, ‘So be it. If other people are going to let me down, I’ll have to be self-sufficient and look out for myself because there isn’t anyone else to do it for me’.
After lots of thought, lots of heartache, constant moaning to friends and GALLONS of tears, I realised… Why would I want to spend the rest of my life being tied to someone who didn’t value me, and didn’t value our relationship, enough to stick around and support me when the going got tough?? And how can I ever regain that trust with someone who has done that to me, how can I trust them not to do the same again and hurt me even more? Wouldn’t I rather find the inner strength to look after myself and put myself first, rather than wasting all that strength wishing for support that I’m not going to get? Because if I can’t love myself enough to do that, who else will??
Why should I have to compromise on everything I need and deserve just to avoid being a ‘divorcee’?
So I’m not.
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And I’m still going to get my happy ending, it’s just a different one from the one I was expecting. I’ve just had my decree nisi and in 5 weeks will get my decree absolute (all being well). And I’ll be free to live the life I deserve, not the one I thought I had to.
I don’t know why my marriage failed, but I know why my divorce will succeed.
Categories: Divorce, Family, Friends and Relationships, Life Experience, Our Favourite Posts
19 interesting thoughts on this

17 Comments

  1. Posted December 21, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    I'm so sorry about the loss of your Mum.

    Thank you for being so brave to share this with us – you deserve so much more from a marriage than what you got. So while your 'story' hasn't gone down the path you anticipated, the path you are now on can only lead you to better places

    Xxx

  2. Posted December 21, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Anita, reading this, incredibly well written, post as a stranger I wanted to stand up and say 'Go Anita Go!' With love to you as you grieve for your mother and for all you may experience in 2012. Thank you for sharing your story with us x

  3. Posted December 21, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you do much for sharing this with us, I
    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mum.

    I hope your new path takes you to places you have yet to dream off. X

  4. Fee
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Huge condolences on the loss of your mum – you sound so brave to be dealing with it on top of everything else and still maintaining a positive attitude.

    I think your story highlights what so many people forget- that marriages that end in divorce aren't necessarily built on a foundation of doubt- often, they are very much built on love.

    I believe it isn't necessarily realistic for anyone to put their hand on their heart and insist their marriage will always be a happy one – as you say, life has a habit of throwing curve balls at you and whilst you can control how you react to them, you can't control how someone else does, no matter how well you know them.

    Wishing you the happiest of Christmases and lots of luck for the future x

  5. Posted December 21, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Well done Anita, that's all I can say. Well done for not lying down and letting circumstance dance all over you in hob-nail boots (which is what I'm certain I would do), for standing up and giving life a bunch of fives to the nose. I'm so sorry about your lovely Mum. One thing I do know -with guts like that, girl, those long overdue good times are just around the corner.

    An inspiration. Thankyou.

    Px

    PS. Found out a friend of mine's 7 month marriage in dire straits…they got married 3 weeks before I did. This is a lot more prevalent than a lot of pretty weddingland would care to admit. Well done AOW for showing us real life.

  6. mahj
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Anita, you brave and wonderful soul. Im so so sorry for the loss of your Mum, but your last couple of paragraphs made me swell up with such pride for you. I wish you all the very best in life for your next steps.

    xoxo

  7. Esme
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Wow, Anita. I'm sure so many of us couldn't even contemplate not celebtrating our first wedding anniversay. We all think *we're* above having those sorts of problems – we're going to be together forever, aren't we?

    And so I'm so pleased that you wrote this – to show us that something good can come out of your worst nightmares. I wish you the strength to enjoy your life and reach the happiest ending possible.

    xx

  8. Posted December 21, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Anita.

    I don't have the words to say what this post did to me.

    I just want to say thank you. I think you've given our readers (and us) a huge lesson, shown us dignity and bravery and redemption and hope. I resolve to never be complacent, and if I ever go through a tiny fraction of what these past 18 months have done to you, I can only wish I have the strength and grace to face it as you have done.

  9. Posted December 21, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Anita! Wow! I really wanted to stand up and applaud when I got to the end of this, but it would have freaked out the dog. I'm so sorry for everything you've had to go through over the past 18 months, but I am bowled over by the strength with which you faced it all (and sometimes crying gallons of tears is the strong thing to do).

    I'm also really excited for you. You are, as my grandma would say, a girl with her head screwed on straight, and I'm sure you'll have some amazing adventures in your new city.

  10. L
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    What a dignified and honest read. And you're absolutely right about someone not valuing or supporting a relationship. That's not fair on you and you deserve better, especially with what you were going through at the time. All the best for the happy ending x

  11. Posted December 21, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Ladies, thank you for your lovely comments. When Aisling emailed me and said 'you're so brave' I replied 'I think you may have mistaken me for someone else…I'm the one drinking gin in a sobbing heap in the corner…' but what Fee says above is so right -you simply cannot control someone else's responses to things (as much as you might like to!) and, as Anna K so wisely says, never ever be complacent, never ever settle, make yourself and your relationship (or lack of relationship in my case!) the best it can be.

    Ahem, end cheesy American motivational speech here.

  12. Posted December 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I actually had to stop reading this earlier due to the minor issue of crying on the tube. I'm now reading it it private. I cried again.

    Anita, first can I just say I am so so sorry for the loss of your Mum. It sounds like she fought so hard, but she's at peace now. Sending very big hugs your way.

    Second, you are phenomenal. You're so brave. I know you don't feel it because you're huddled and scared but as my husband-to-be recently told me, if you can face down the tough stuff in life and you don't feel terrified and you don't cry and cry and feel that your world is ending, that's not bravery, that's being too stupid to know what you're going through or what you're risking, bravery is carrying on despite the fear and the sorrow. So you are brave. And stronger than you know. And when your happy ending comes it will be brighter for this, because you will be stronger. You're honestly an inspiration, and lesson to us all that the worst can happen, but you can get through it too.

    K xx

    K x

  13. Posted December 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I am so sorry for your loss Anita, and for what has happened.

    I am sure you will have much more luck in your future and will find the one who deserves such a special lady.

    You are incredibly brave and amazing and I wish you so much luck for 2012 and beyond.

    xx

  14. Posted December 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Anita, I'm so sorry to hear what a totally rubbish year you've had. One of my friend's mother's died this time last year and she is slowly moving forward day by day. It's not easy but it sounds as though you are looking ahead to what the future will hold – brighter and better things I have no doubt – my heart goes out to you and I wish you much luck, love and happiness for 2012. Cx

  15. liana
    Posted December 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    You poor poor thing. In some ways I think the death of your mother must have put the loss of your relationship into perspective. Losing a man who would only send a brief text to console you is not a loss at all. It's a liberation. You are incredibly brave and I felt proud of you when I read this. I wish you so much luck and love for the future. Your mum will be watching over you I'm sure xxx

  16. Posted December 25, 2011 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Losing a man who would only send a brief text to console you is not a loss at all. It's a liberation.

    So true Liana. And thank you all for the lovely comments…

  17. Carolanne
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    High fives lady. Big awkward British ones. X

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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