When divorce is the best option.

“When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn’t a sign that they “don’t understand” one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to.” –Helen Rowland

Judging by the opening quote it should be apparent what this story is about...D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Tammy Wynette, eat your heart out honey! I was married for 16 years and just recently came to my senses, deciding that either I was going to stay married and slowly molder away in an insane stew of family dysfunction or I was going to learn to live again without him. The subject had been batted around for several years, usually after he had consumed a few beers and was feeling sore about having it pointed out to him that a 40+ year-old man, with a capable wife, should not have his mother buy his underwear for him still! That is but one example of the swampy mess I found myself swimming in, struggling to keep my head above water so the wrinkled sea hag of a mother-in-law couldn’t pull me under.

No one really thought that I would actually ask him to move out, ask him to stop benefiting from my good credit, ask him to never touch me again or refer to me as his wife but, I did all of those things. This is a story about freedom.

 

I'll drink to that!
I'll drink to that!

 

If you made a list of reasons why any couple got married, and another list of the reasons for their divorce, you'd have a hell of a lot of overlapping.” –Mignon McLaughlin

Deciding to accept a marriage proposal is rather easy. The hard part is learning to accept the truckload of baggage that a spouse-to-be keeps hidden for years, only to have it sprung on you after common sense has returned a decade later. Truth in advertising is key and every marriage seems to be based on some sort of deception or another, which is unfortunate. Given the choice, I’d rather be happily married to a man I love and trust but, once honesty has been tarnished, love has a way of eroding like a handful of sugar trying to make a stand against warm water. I always assumed that marriage implied “trust,” as in, “I trust you enough to give you my last name. Or, I trust you explicitly and can sleep next to you at night without being fearful of you knifing me in the back while I dream about puppies and pretty flowers!” My dreams got pissed on for years and finally I decided to stop being all sweet like sugar.

Glad I paid that policy!
Glad I paid that policy!

“What a holler would ensue if people had to pay the minister as much to marry them as they have to pay a lawyer to get them a divorce.” --Claire Trevor

To know, in advance, everything about the person you are going to be “tied” to for a potential eternity isn’t really too much to ask in my opinion. I have nothing against the “tying up” option, it is rather exciting in fact, but I do feel that life can only be played out in a fair fashion when all players have every advantage and a level playing field. If we only knew what was ahead then maybe, just maybe, a wise and thoughtful consideration about true intent could be made when given all the facts. Do I marry this man, a man who hasn’t quite been separated from his umbilical attachment to this mother? An attachment that was fraught with discord and unresolved anger but…an attachment that knocked me out of contention none the less. This was a fact that I needed to know in order to make an educated decision but was blocked from viewing the full extent of the Oedipus complex in play. Is that grounds for divorce? You be the judge of that.

“A lawyer is never entirely comfortable with a friendly divorce, anymore than a good mortician wants to finish his job and then have the patient sit up on the table.” --Jean Kerr

So, when asked if I am “still in love” I say “No.” “Do you want to stay married?” Again, I say, “No.” Does he fully understand and accept? NO. Why is it that when women make up their minds men do not believe it? I have no frame of reference for this since I am the sort of woman who does what she says she will do and means what she says with no “take backs.” He asked, I told the truth and then immediately filed for divorce, no big surprise there since his last words were, “You can file and I won’t stand in the way.” I have always been the sort, when issued a challenge, to rise above and beyond and…I did just that. The papers were filed, he claimed we could still be “friends” and then had the nerve to suggest a parting fling for “old times’ sake.” Dear Lord in Heaven! If I was intent on divorcing you WHY would I ever agree to have sex with you again???? Again, grounds for divorce, divine justification even? You are requested, by me, to be the judge!

The paperwork was filed, we both signed with no fuss or debate but still, reality had not fully sat on his head like the warm hind quarters of a mother hen incubating an egg, nursing it into existence. THIS IS YOUR NEW LIFE! WAKE UP!

“Many divorces are not really the result of irreparable injury but involve, instead, a desire on the part of the man or woman to shatter the setup, start out from scratch alone, and make life work for them all over again. They want the risk of disaster, want to touch bottom, see where bottom is, and, coming up, to breathe the air with relief and relish again.”-- Edward Hoagland

I was set-up…no doubt! In being sold a faulty bill of goods I feel that I was fully within my rights to trade said “lemon” in and move on with my dignity intact. Truth be told, in the end that is what divorce is really intended to be. “I put up with your crap for odd number of years, you refused to work with/respect/honor/cherish me so therefore and hereto with…I am starting over without you. Best of luck, hope you and your mother are happy together and…I am selling the ring.”

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Comments 2 comments

helena 4 years ago

I enjoyed reading this along with your other entries, you are truely a gifted writer. You are smart for doing what you did, and i hope you are happy now!! Do you have any advice for a woman of recent divorce? My mother kicked out her husband about a year ago, for good reason. But as her adult daughter I often worry about her when it comes to her happiness and finances, I do as much as i can when it comes to support, but I don't know how much longer I can bite my toungue from saying "This is my father we are talking about do you really think I want to hear this terrible sh*t?" when she expresses her fear of lonliness, money and the divorce process. I'm not only her daughter but her best friend and the only person she trusts enough to vent to. But with that aside.. Do you have any advice at all that may help her? (Forgive me in advance i know this isnt ask abbey but you seem to have alot of insight)


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Elleasku 4 years ago from In your imagination. Author

@helena,

Thank you for the compliment. As for advice concerning your mother, the best thing I can say is that if fear is guiding her now rather than a true desire to move forward then she really should seek out either a therapist or a support group for the recently divorced.

You are her daughter, not her therapist, financial advisor or even life coach. This is a situation where boundaries are being blurred and whether you consider yourselves friends first and a mother-daughter duo second; listening to grievances about your father will color how you view her from now on. Trust me on this. You are doing her no favors by biting your tongue and have every right to put limits on what you will tolerate. Talking about her own personal fears is fine but spewing about everything your father did "wrong" may point to her being unwilling to see her own part in what caused the marriage to fall apart. It takes two to kill a marriage.

I decided to seek out therapy prior to divorcing so I could be sure I had all of my blaming under control and was truly equipped to live on my own. Yes, finances are tight but at least I am making it and feel pride knowing I can survive with less money and less drama! Your mother sounds like she has just replaced your father with you and now you are the "all access" sounding board. It won't work and you will just end up feeling resentful so please be honest with her and gently suggest she branch out, find a support group (they are free) of people her age in similar circumstances or check into individual therapy with a psychologist that specializes in marriage, divorce and conflict resolution. Your mom needs to learn who she is again and this will take time so be patient but also lovingly firm!

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