Upon learning of our separation, a friend insisted the problem with marriage is we make divorce too easy. . .
You’re not supposed to talk about your struggles of any sort or share your pains with the general public. So you’re clearly not supposed to talk about divorce. And, because of that, the narrative surrounding divorce gets to remain in the hands of those people, like the above-mentioned friend, who haven’t had to walk the coals. The conversation still assumes divorce is somehow easy, or that people who get divorced are in some way failures. So prepare to get a little uncomfortable, because I’m going to break a few things down for you.
Taking the Easy Way Out
Knowing that your family is forever broken . . . isn’t easy.
Financially supporting two separate households . . . isn’t easy.
Dealing with the shame and guilt friends and family place on you . . . isn’t easy.
Having to watch while your ex-husband gallivants around town with his new girlfriend and her child . . . isn’t easy.
Pretending that your life isn’t coming completely unraveled for fear of looking like the crazy divorced lady . . . isn’t easy.
Having to explain to your kids why you spent the day sobbing in bed . . . isn’t easy.
Having to comfort your toddler while she kicks and screams that she wants to go to Daddy’s house . . . isn’t easy.
Having to miss holidays and milestones with your children . . . isn’t easy.
Having to sit in a silent house every single night after the kids are in bed . . . isn’t easy.
Remaining unhappily married, is worlds easier in comparison
Making excuses for the inexcusable . . . is worlds easier in comparison.
Fighting daily with your husband . . . is worlds easier in comparison.
Keeping your mouth shut for fear of rocking the boat . . . is worlds easier in comparison.
Staying for the sake of help with the kids . . . is worlds easier in comparison.
Putting up a wall and staying emotionally numb so you can stay married . . . is worlds easier in comparison.
Living with a spouse who has put up a wall and is emotionally numb . . . is worlds easier in comparison.
When we were young and still unmarried we found ourselves pregnant unexpectedly. We had just broken up when those two pink lines made their appearance. And while the response from family and friends was split straight down the middle, half of the people we told insisted, assumed, and told their children we would marry. Because guilt and shame are powerful motivators (as is youthful optimism) we decided to walk down the aisle and become husband and wife.
Years later when our marriage started to implode under the weight of an affair, there were many cheerleaders of marriage who piped up and insisted that we could make it through this and staying together was a beautiful testimony to making our marriage work. Spoiler alert: it was just a testimony of anxiety and fear of change. The pervasive notion that a married couple with many anniversaries is the only noble way to function as a family has poisoned my life, and my relationship, for far too long . . . No more.
Our marriage was broken beyond repair. We stayed married years longer than we ever should have because of the shame and stigma surrounding divorce. I didn’t want to be a failure. I didn’t want to ‘take the easy way out.’ But I finally found the strength to bow out of the stamina race of misery. It was among the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But it was also among the most empowering and important things I’ve ever done. By our final divorce hearing, I was able to walk away feeling loads lighter, happy even.
I am eternally grateful to live in a time when divorce is legal, a time when I can walk away from a relationship and not be criminally prosecuted. My ex-husband and I are beyond fortunate to have walked away as friends. He will always be a part of my family – just not my spouse. Divorce isn’t easy, but it also isn’t bad. I do not for one second regret my choice to end my marriage. And while in those beginning weeks and months it was excruciating, I am so glad I pushed through and stopped taking the easy way out.