Divorce Will Change You Forever

Image source: S. Bielanko Private
Image source: S. Bielanko Private

Lots of people handle divorce really well. Everybody’s case varies a little, but the road picture is usually pretty much the same. Little by little, they gear themselves up for the big break all the while getting more and more used to living their days and nights without the other person around much anymore.

Then one day the paperwork comes in the mail and the thing is done. They have a few drinks, maybe toast their new life with a close friend or two, and that’s the gist of it.

I’m not that guy though. Not yet anyway.

It’d be nice, I figure, to merely climb out of bed one of these days and not notice right away that I’m divorced and that I still feel like I’ve had my damn leg cut off or something.

I feel changed forever now. Divorce leaves scars where there were never any before, even if your marriage was a real shambles. Even if you are better off being alone than being with the person you ended up walking away from.

Parts of my heart feels as if it’s dead now. I still hold out hope that it’s not, of course. I’m reasonably optimistic about my shot at future love. But still, after nearly a decade of a reasonably okay marriage (I’d give it a B- or a C+) to someone I was blind enough to simply expect to be married to — no matter how tumultuous or sad things got — I’d say now that it’s understandable why parts of me might have died with the divorce.

Love requires us to dig deep foundations. You can’t just throw up a tent and call it a love affair. You have to build a basement, dude. You have to work on walls for a long long time.

I did that. I know I did. Hell, I probably built too much on my particular plot, staked too much on not enough. But there you go. Fools love hard. Then they fall hard too.

Most days now I try and look at my three little kids and let their presence wash over me, splash away what’s left of the trauma, but that’s never enough. My kids are kids and their love, as monumental as it is in my world — it’s a different thing. It’s deeply-attached to my ex and our failed marriage in many ways, but in the end their love is separate, and doesn’t touch the divorce scars.

But if nothing else, there is balm in the knowing, I do believe that. And so these days I understand that the only thing that will carry me forward through a lot of the confusion and memories scattered around my feet like car crash glass is my own ability to simply accept my slow-to-leave blues as something that will live on as long as it needs to — not one day less or more.

I’m not trying to scare anyone away from divorce. I don’t honestly care much what you do. We all make it work or we don’t. But I am telling you that the scars are very real for certain people like me. You don’t just peel them off after a year or so. At least I haven’t, not yet.

The way I’ve been seeing it: divorce will change you forever.

I’m banking on that being a good thing. Only time will tell.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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