There is no instruction book for going through a divorce. Believe me, I searched…and searched… and searched. Maybe it’s because every end to each relationship is different. I have yet to find another person ( Elin Nordegren Woods was close, but I’m not her personal friend, so it’s hard to say) who has gone through the same divorce I did. And I’m sure there are millions of people who feel the same way. That’s why it is such a lonely thing to go through, besides the fact that you are losing your best friend and someone you loved. If you find yourself in the same situation I did, seemingly happily married, but your husband had been cheating on you for years, there are a few pointers I would like to give you.
1. You are going to go crazy. I mean psycho crazy. Not your normal everyday crazy. Now I am a bit crazy to begin with, but with this situation you can find yourself crossing a line… To those people who stood by me during my crazy period, thank you. You will never know how much it means to me that you stood by, listened and watched, and yet don’t hold that against me today. There is no one that can stop this crazy from coming out and many times much of the crazy you feel you are is all in your head. Yeah, other people don’t always see it. Crazy right? My point exactly…
2. If your situation is similar to mine, you will be dealing with this sudden unexpectedness, and immediately become a single parent, all alone, on your own. The other person is going to be investing their time into saving the other relationship. They are not currently invested in what you or the children are going through. (Sidebar: My children’s father is an involved and loving father, but it took him some time to get his shit together, if you know what I mean.) You need a support group, family, friends. I would say co-workers, but let’s hold off on that one, I’m getting there…
3. Do NOT, under any circumstances, take your shitty baggage to work with you. Best case scenario you have some time you can take off, especially if you are dealing with the general public or are in a service field. I can’t tell you how many people forcefully encouraged me to go back to work, like the same week it happened. Being around people is all well and good, but you really need to take some time for yourself to get yourself in a better place. There are always people that are willing to be with you if need be, but NOT at work. More than likely, in the end, you will be without a job…
4. People will be supportive at first. Your true friends will be supportive the ENTIRE way through. There are people who will keep their distance. They don’t know what to say or do for you. Don’t be offended, and pray that it never happens to them.
5. Accept that no matter what you did before, or what you do in the present and future, you will most likely be in the wrong. I’m talking about your ex and those who don’t get what you are going through. Your ex wants nothing to do with working it out, he could give two shits about what you are feeling or what you are going through. If you feel the need to vent at him, go ahead, but realize it is NOT going to make a difference in the end and will either A.) be thrown back in your face or B.) cause him to treat you as if you are the only crazy on the planet.
6. Get yourself a good shrink, and expect to be in it for the long haul.
7. Expect to be doing a lot of the explaining and excuse making about what happened in your relationship. Your ex will be focusing on the next one and not have time to go through it with your friends.
8. Expect to question the very existence of your being. You will question yourself, what you did wrong, what you could have done to stop this or to make your husband happier. You will feel like the worst parent in the world. You will be blamed by the other person in the very same breath they use to say “it’s me, not you.” They will not understand why you can’t just accept the situation and move on.
9. This is a biggie: Expect everyone to question what you are doing with your children. No lie, I took my oldest to a psych and at the parent meeting, with my ex in the room with us, I asked about the speed with which everything was moving. The girlfriend, moving in with here, the girls staying with them – all before the divorce was final, the impending marriage, the baby coming. As an adult I couldn’t wrap my head around it all, let alone a 7 and 3 year old. I was told (for serious people) “Kids are resilient, divorce doesn’t effect them as much as people think. What is more important is how you are handling this, how you talk to them, how you react to what their father is doing. That is what can be harmful.” For serious buddy? Yeah, I didn’t really like him from that point forward. Something, a certain Je sais pas, didn’t sit well with me. It was almost as if my husband had gotten to him first, talked to him, guy to guy. “Hey buddy, I got this thing going, I really need to focus on it, my ex is gonna be all “up in my grill about it”… ya think you could help me out?”
Granted, I was going through my crazy spurt at this point, so maybe I blew it all out of proportion, but seriously the gist I got out of it was, “Ah, their gonna be alright, no real lasting affects, kids turn out normal from divorce all of the time. Just watch what YOU say, K?”
10. Expect to lose a lot. I lost my entire life, other than my children, which I thank God for everyday. I have my family and I know who my real friends are. I know where I stand in life, and after all of this, I am glad I do. One of the hardest things you will lose, almost instantly, is his family. That is the hardest part. No more holidays, cookouts, laughing, breakfasts, hanging out – all gone, in one moment. Your children will be with your ex and his family for holidays and birthdays, and you will no longer be a part of it.
(Sidebar: I don’t even know what my kids get for Christmas and birthdays. Most of it never comes home, they could have a full wardrobe there and I would never know it. The girls have bikes and a Barbie dream house at their dad’s, hell, they have their whole old house, all of the perks I wish I could give them, but I can’t, and I’m glad their dad and his family can, even if the girls get angry at me occasionally and throw it back in my face.)
Yeah, there’s probably a lot more, but those are the main things. I hope no one else I know ever has to go through what I did, but if you do, come sit down next to me….If ya haven’t got anything nice to say…