3. Finally calling it quits isn’t the end of the world, even though it feels like it. It took me almost two years of emotional upheaval before I made my final decision. I filed for divorce shortly before Thanksgiving, Vince’s favorite holiday. He was adamant about not wanting a divorce and I’m sure he believed I’d never make the first move. But he kept making promises he didn’t keep. There was a woman who kept coming back into his life despite his vows to never see her again. Finally, I saw the futility of it all. I was tired of living a soap opera.
That Thanksgiving was the first holiday we spent apart since we first met. I cooked all day preparing a feast for my kids and closest friends. Vince wasn’t invited. He later told me he drove by the house several times and that was when he finally realized that our life together was really over. He said he cried for the first time. I had been crying for months.
4. There can be a “happily ever after,” but it takes some work. The death of a marriage, especially one that is seemingly loving, is like the death of a dear relative. There’s deep mourning at first, but the grief lessens over the years. For a long time after Vince and I divorced, I kept thinking about what could have been — what we might have done to make things turn out differently. I missed being married. I missed being able to say “our” and “we” instead of “I” and “me.” I missed the social entrée that being part of a couple allows. But most of all, I missed the man I married. That person was gone.
Just after our divorce was finalized, I went to a counselor to help me cope with the sadness. After several sessions, she (a wise woman who had raised eight children, divorced a philandering husband and returned to school to become a psychologist) told me that I would one day look back on my marriage not as a failure, but as a wonderful life experience that netted me three beautiful children and a whole lot of wisdom. It took me a couple of years to realize how right she was. Stay positive, she said. I did and it led me to a new life full of happiness and contentment. But sometimes when I see an older couple glowing in the warmth of their many years together, I still feel a little sad for what might have been.