Though I started filing late October 2011, due to the slowness in the system here and other unpleasant hiccups, my divorce was not final until July of this year, nearly two years later. Not a day goes by where I waiver in whether this was the best decision for the children and me. However, the process of the divorce and the divorce itself have not left me unscathed. Through it, I have lost much innocence and naivete, giving me a taste of how cruel and bitter the world can be. At times, I have been left wondering whether there was ever any genuine love present in that relationship.
I gave that relationship, that marriage, everything I had. Everything. For nearly 11 years, we were married. Not getting out of the marriage was futile for the children and me. We were on a sinking ship that was going to sink, no matter what we tried to do to prevent the ship from sinking. It was a matter of whether we wanted to save ourselves or drown with the ship.
So, each day, whenever people see me with two children (the two younger ones who are twins) or all four of my children (under the age of 7) and make the following comments - "you've got your hands full" or "you're busy" - my response is usually brief and perhaps a bit lighthearted: "well, they keep me out of trouble." But, the truth of the matter is that I am more at peace and am, in some sense, less busy with him not around. Though all four of my children have very different personalities and there is an element of unpredictableness with children, there are no unpleasant surprises and life is predictable in the absence of his living with us.
Through many trusting relationships and through some experience from my own relationship, I know any relationship or marriage takes plenty of work and negotiation. Even the ones that appear picture-perfect on the outside are not without their struggles and difficulties on the inside. Challenges always comes from bringing two very different people, with varying ideas, commitments, and preferences together. Everything, from whether two people should go to bed together at the same time to how meals should be consumed (together, over designated meal times, in or out, who's cooking) or when sex is happening, takes negotiation and compromises. So, in some ways, my life is easier and much less complicated than those who have a partner. I do not have to answer to someone else. I can make decisions without conflict and various complications; I can move on with conquering the tasks for the day.
I will confess that anniversaries are hard for me. When others are celebrating wedding anniversaries, it isn't that I do not want others to be joyous or that I do not celebrate with them (after all, they have survived yet another year together!), but oftentimes something hurts. Sometimes that pain is a bit more of a stab than a jab. Sometimes it feels like punch to the gut, when I wasn't expecting any hits.
Or, when acquaintances or people I do not know ask me where my husband is, what he does for a living, or why I moved here, those are tough questions to answer. Are they really interested in my story? Or, do they just want to know the quick and dirty answer?