the elephant in the room

Privacy has been on my mind lately, and discretion. The breakup of my marriage is the obvious reason for these thoughts. Getting divorced is definitely on my mind, and I have a lot to say about it, but it is a situation that doesn’t only affect me. It’s delicate territory, to write about my experience honestly and without betraying another person’s privacy.

I’ll try.

I don’t really have secrets. Sometimes I wish I were more mysterious, but most of the time I will give an honest answer to any questions presented to me. This is a good way to weed out people with whom I would clash on certain hot-button issues, and it is a great way to attract crazies. It might not always be the savviest approach (there’s something to be said for holding a few cards to your chest), but it is simple and easy. No need to remember who heard which version of events; everyone gets the same version, my version. Even the crazies…

So, all this. Eleven years of being together, and then not. Except it wasn’t sudden; it crept up and we ignored it until it was too big to fix. The worst part was having to go through it alone. Maybe I didn’t really have to do it alone, but it’s such a tricky thing. What if you tell your friends and then work it all out? You can’t take back the things you shared: the problems, the tense moments that grow worse in the telling. So instead of sharing with anyone who wasn’t my therapist or my husband, I went through it alone. I probably could have done a better job of talking it through with my husband – the time during which you are trying to save your marriage is not the time to spare feelings – but at best that would have prolonged the process. The end would have been the same. This song says it better than I can:

I’ve learned that a happily divorced person throws people off; we are threatening. I understand. It’s human nature to draw connections with other people and to understand ourselves through those connections. When you’re in a relationship, you don’t want to think about the end of it; you certainly don’t want to cast the end in a positive light. We see divorce as complete, objective failure.

That view is so wrong it makes me twitch. My relationship didn’t fail, it ended. I don’t suddenly regret the time we spent together; I won’t regret it. It’s a part of who I am, an experience that helped shape my life. The fact that we are not together anymore does not eclipse the fact that we shared eleven mostly great years. Our shared experiences are not erased by this. The love that we had does not suddenly go up in smoke. Getting a divorce does not mean that we failed, it just means that we changed.

It’s been a long time since I felt this much like myself. I’m excited for what comes next.

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5 thoughts on “the elephant in the room

  1. My breath caught as I read this. And I had to struggle to keep from crying.

    My marriage ended just over 10 years ago. How hard did I try to save it? How lonely did I feel? Your words brought it crashing back in my head.

    Still … what you say about failure is what I wished to comment on. For the longest time I felt a failure. The damage done to one’s self-image can also be devastating.

    It took a while … but I have finally come to that place where you have found and realized. Tis not a failure. It just … ended. Ran its course. However one wishes to put it. But no … not a failure. I too had amazing years…and will not recant them.

    Lets you know … you will be okay.

  2. Thank you so much for saying that, Katie. It breaks my heart that sadness at the end of something is made to eclipse all the good that came before it, and all the ways it changes life for the better. I’m glad you’re okay. XO

    • Thank you too for your kind words.

      And … I agree, tis a sad thing when people let the bad over ride the good. Lord….I need to listen to you … and myself.

      (Ack! I feel a bit of a hypocrite writing what I just did as I am just on posting something that is likely not too positive sounding! But healing is a process…and the end, if one reaches it, can take a while yes?)

  3. EB ~ You are someone that I am just starting to get to know. Still, in the past week or so, I feel connected to the things your have written. We share much commonality in our lives I think. Your writings have made my catch my breath at times as I read myself into your words. Yet you have also gone though a lot of things I have not … and have been trying to find ways to be at peace with things. I am placing this comment/note in the very first blog of yours that I commented on, as it was the one that started me following your writings. I am nomination you for the Inspiring Blog Award … for much of what your write is filled with self-reflection … and in these writings I see hope. Thank you.

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