I recently learned that my ex husband got engaged. After living for more than three decades with this man in my life, I must admit, hearing this news was a punch in the gut. I spent the next two days with a horrible feeling surrounding me, you know that uneasiness you get in your stomach after someone close passes away? My body was on edge, I shook inside, and could not shed the anxiousness of impending doom. Even with all of the horrific things that transpired between us, I had an emotional reaction to his engagement.
I’m not really sure why I felt the way I did. I knew he was dating someone exclusively and we haven’t been part of each other’s lives for six years (as he severed all ties when he met her), and yet, I felt a tremendous sense of loss. Loss of the life we were supposed to live, loss of the family I so desperately wanted, loss of many dreams.
I thought I had grieved the divorce and moved on, my life is on a wonderful trajectory and I’m happy, but, there I was again, right in the middle of the pain. Divorce truly is the gift that just keeps giving!
Today, I have a long list of things to do. There are work projects that must be completed, meetings to attend, a haircut appointment, and household chores. Today is like any other Monday, except it would have been my 30th wedding anniversary.
Thirty years ago today I said “I do” to the promise of sharing my life with another.
It was a beautiful day filled with happiness, love, laughter, and a world of possibilities.
Growing up, like most other young girls, I dreamed of the day I would find love. I had my entire life planned out. And for two decades, for the most part, I lived that life. But, as I soon learned, it takes two people to make a marriage work and ours wasn’t meant to be.
Recently, I was in a round table discussion in which we talked about interpersonal relationships. A repeating theme of the conversation was that people felt like they were replaceable, that there was no value given to them and/or a relationship by a friend, partner, family member, or employer.
Hearing so many people express the same feeling made me start to wonder if we have become a society of disposables. It reminded me of an expression my mother used to say: “Out with the old and in with the new.”
It seems like just about every aspect of our life today is disposable. We throw away televisions, computers, clothing, phones, food, furniture, and so much more.
By contrast, when I was growing up, we fixed everything. There was a neighborhood television repairman. We ate leftovers for dinner. We took our shoes to the local shoemaker for new heels. Baby diapers were cloth and appliances were kept until they could no longer be repaired. We drove the same car until it died on the road. And most marriages lasted “until death do us part.”
According to Terry Orbuch, PhD, there are more than 100 million single adults in the United States today and four out of every 10 were already married once. Close to 50 percent of married people will become single again before the age of 50 – either through divorce or death.
Close to 50 percent of married people will become single again before the age of 50!
Recently a friend who was contemplating separating from her husband gave me a call and asked my advice. A few years ago when my emotions were spinning out of control and I was in the throes of my marriage breakdown I would have shouted “Divorce the bastard!”
Now, a few years post-divorce, I have gotten off the emotional rollercoaster called relationship breakdown and a cooler head prevails. My advice to her: slow down you move too fast!
I was watching television recently when it happened … I saw the first commercial for the Valentine’s Day diamond collection – you know, the gift that every woman will treasure. As I listened to the music and watched as the camera panned the romantic setting, waves of emotion overcame me like a tsunami. At that moment, in my mind, everyone in the world was in a loving, committed relationship and I was going to be the only person sitting home alone on February 14 (most likely eating ice cream).
Another year has come to an end and a new one is just beginning. As is tradition, we use this time as an opportunity to reflect on our life and set new goals.
I’m sure you have seen this Brad Paisley quotation many times in recent weeks: “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
As you embark on this task and create your resolutions for the year, I ask, is your priority a WHO or a WHAT?
When I was a young girl, I never would have imagined that so much of my adult existence would encompass working with survivors of divorce. Heck, I never would have imagined that I would be one. But as we age, the old saying, “it is what it is” becomes more and more relevant.
One of the aspects of divorce that I cannot comprehend is that for many men, it is an invitation to relinquish their parenting responsibilities and put their needs and desires ahead of those of their children.
More and more I see women being left to assume the primary care giving responsibilities of their children while the fathers go on to lead their own lives and in many cases, start a new family, leaving behind the old.
A few nights ago I was having dinner with a group of women when one of the ladies remarked, “My ex-husband’s new girlfriend is a demanding bitch and he’s jumping through hoops for her.”
I joined in with the group’s resounding “halleluja … amen sister!,” but when the evening ended and after I returned home, I began to ruminate about what my friend said and what her words actually meant.
I dissected the language.