November 11, 2014

think about the children

let the world break your heart

get devastatingly broken

then get up
you can't stay there

i wrote that down a couple of weeks ago when i was thinking about how my current circumstances might have once left me in bed for days but, so far, have not. it's true that the last time my heart was devastatingly broken, i was in my twenties and now i'm a bit closer to my forties with more than a dozen years of trying to be zen under my belt. so while i can say i'm pretty sure what i've felt in the last few months has been both devastating and heartbreaking, i'm moving through with a bravery i didn't even know i possessed.

i am not afraid. i am not afraid. i am not afraid.

that is something else i've been writing down a lot, lately.

this isn't going to come as a surprise. it shouldn't, really. we had a fifty/fifty chance. same as anyone. but after three-ish months of what i called an emotional separation, the decision to divorce became clear.

it wasn't one thing or another but ten years of all the things and finally admitting that we veered off course a few too many times trying to meet each other at least halfway. we were always on different paths, often facing different directions. we lost ourselves in the process of trying to keep it together and manage expectations that neither one of us really ever wanted to fulfill.

recently i ran into an old friend. i congratulated him on his newlywed status and he mentioned that he was on his third wife. 

"marriage," he said, "is something i've never been afraid to fail at."

it was an a-ha moment. we hadn't failed. for ten years, my husband and i had done the best we could with what we had. we did our best and it wasn't enough and that's okay. we could put in some more effort. we could keep rehashing old subjects or addressing newer ones. we could probably even create some more. but it's exhausting. 

the day i verbalized how seriously we should consider divorce, i later came across this vintage-y metal sign. i'd always wanted something similar to a hand-embroidered "recipe" that long hung in my grandmother's kitchen and later in my mother's. lately i've also been more than acutely aware of all the signs and "reminders" i keep around the house and how i've got to be better about reading them and putting them into practice before letting frustrations and low-vibrational responses get the best of me. this sign wasn't romantic, nor was it unrealistic, it seemed like something our family could truly focus on throughout the day during this period of transition. i hung it eye-level for the kids in our dining area and i find myself taking pause in front of it several times a day.

i keep hearing these imaginary people saying "think about the children" and i keep reminding them that i have. it's all i've thought about. our children are the only reason my husband and i have stayed together this long, we acknowledge that. it took a few people telling me that kids know and it's way better to divorce than stay in an unhappy or unfulfilling marriage for me to admit that i used to say the very same thing, before i was married with children. for many years it felt complicated, selfish, and scary to consider separating, how could i dismantle my family just because i wasn't happy? it can be said that staying together for the children is a noble cause but it can also be more damaging than divorce. in the process of exploring my ideals, i dug deep and the answer was still that simple: it's better to divorce than basically uphold a lie out of social obligation. happiness is an inside job, anyway, but i had to really consider what kind of example i was setting for my children by staying and repeating the same patterns, ad nauseam. i don't want them to settle for less than they deserve or to think they don't deserve much, in the first place. i don't want them to be so selfless that they lose sight of themselves in order to try to keep a broken relationship together.

see next: it is out of love, not hate or anger, that we are choosing this path. a strong love doesn't meet all needs, it doesn't guarantee open communication, and it doesn't always look ideal. at the risk of sounding like a wimp, sometimes love isn't all there is, sometimes it doesn't have to be this hard.

of course, there is some sense of sadness and grief. it is most definitely a loss, if only of ideas and a promise made to our children, but there is a lesson in all things and the relationship isn't coming to an end, only changing. we will, of course, continue to co-parent and also co-habitate. we want to slowly transition into a situation that doesn't just work well for us, but also the boys, since they have the least amount of control over the situation. we're sort of making the rules as we go along, with as much peace and grace as possible.

and so it is.

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