My divorce was my choice. My fault.
After being married for twenty years, I made the decision to leave. I wasn’t happy. I tried…talking, counseling, begging, changing, bartering, giving up, medication, education, and so many other things. Maybe I finally saw I wasn’t going to have that “dream” marriage.
It was good. There were times it was excellent but too often, I was miserable. Dr. William Glasser states that you should marry someone who you can be friends with, even if sex isn’t in the picture. And at the time of my divorce, we couldn’t even call ourselves friends.
I suppose my ex would have continued to be married and live his life as it was. But he wasn’t really happy either. We worked at it for many years but at some point, one person has to say enough. It’s like a game of tug of war. The rope keeps moving back and forth. But nothing is gained.
Neither of us deserved to be unhappy. Walking away gave each of us a chance to be happy. However, my biggest regret was my children. They suffered in ways I hadn’t imagined. They lost financially with now two households with less income. Their own image of their life had to change, as they went back and forth between houses. No matter how much two parents put aside differences and remain focused on the children’s best interests, the children suffer. Gone are the family vacations. Gone are the extra funds for wants and needs, and sometimes, it’s as simple as you need to talk to mom when you are at dad’s house.
The unknown answer is how much staying together would have harmed the kids. In my case, I’ll never know. I took the plunge and walked away. I took much less than I could have. I shortchanged my own needs to make things better for my children, at least economically, although there were still times they were shortchanged. I suppose that’s the most difficult part of parenting, those times when you know you have let your child down. Now the time you didn’t buy them the new toy they wanted but the time you couldn’t leave work to pick them up when they were sick.
For years I beat my head against the wall, hoping for a different outcome. Until the day I stopped and turned in a different direction.
Was I braver? No. I was still scared to death. But I decided to put the energy I’d spent fighting into a different action.
Was I smarter? No. I still had times where I stumbled. But I didn’t let those bloody knees keep me down.
Was I happier? Yes. And in turn, I hoped my children were as well… I know I became a different person, one with more patience and more compassion. More generous with my time and my gifts.
Truly each day is a gift. No one day is promised. Don’t keep beating your head against a wall, and regret the time you could have been climbing that mountain.
Musings from Michigan