Separation to Divorce
My parents have been married for over thirty years. Their love is unparalleled to anything I have ever seen. As their daughter I always wanted to live up to their expectations, as well as follow into their footsteps. My parents have been married through thick and thin, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. They have surpassed and forgiven each other for many things life has thrown their way.
On April 16, 2010, I took the biggest step in my life. At the time it didn’t seem like the biggest step since I had already started a family prior to this moment in my life, as a women I have now realized that it had been the biggest event of my life. I was marrying the father of my children, my high school sweetheart, my biggest fan and supporter as I attended college, my therapist, my best friend and my lover for all time. The wedding was perfect to me. It involved my closest friends and family. It was a small intimate wedding. It wasn’t perfect but it was very close to being a fairytale wedding. Every person in the room was teary eyed and I didn’t even make it pass the threshold without tears streaming down my face.
The minute I said I do, it was almost as though I accepted a new role for myself. I was no longer his fiancé or girlfriend. I was now his wife. With that new title came new responsibilities. I had to think “we” before “I.” I had to always consider his feelings as well as mine. Allowing him to feel comfortable in the marriage was always my number one goal. When you are married everything becomes shared responsibility, you cannot be selfish, you have to be prepared to really give your all. As I took in this new role of being a wife my whole life began to change.
The first year was magical. It was the honeymoon phase of our marriage. It was perfect. I was a wife, mom and a career woman. My career had started to pick up a lot. As my career excelled so did my salary. I was spending less time with my husband and family because my job was very demanding. However my salary was paying the majority of the bills in our household.
Three years into my marriage I remember waking up and sitting on my bed. I reflected on literally everything slowly. I paid the rent, I paid for groceries, I paid for the car insurance, I paid the car note, I cooked, I cleaned and I have gained forty pounds in the process. I worked forty to sixty hours a week. Who is this woman? Who am I? This is not the girl I knew. I had lost myself in this marriage and I needed to fix that. I approached my husband and told him things needed to change. Marriage is not a one sided relationship. Marriage is a duo partnership. Everything is included in marriage including your finances.
We separated after the conversation. He moved in with his father as I continued to live with our children in what I use to call our apartment. He felt as though I was not being the wife I had promised to be. His exact words were “as my wife and partner, if you’re making more than me, then you should be the provider” he also would repeatedly say “ you married me under the oath of god, you will never divorce me.”
Five months later he proposed a plan to me that seemed appealing, however actions have always spoken louder than words. He promised to get a better job and was even thinking about the possibility of juggling two jobs at the same time. He said he wanted to contribute as much as possible. He wanted me to stop doing so much because he was feeling the affects of my hard work. I needed to see this plan in action. I’m not going to lie; the plan gave me so much hope for our marriage. This man took the time to make a plan to make our marriage work. He was willing to put in the hard work as my husband. His words alone were enough to put me in a different state of mind, I believed in him. However I really needed to see it play out first. I told him that he would need to get the job or jobs and would need to give me a deposit before ever stepping foot into what I still kept calling, our apartment.
In a very odd turn of events the plan never initiated, because a few weeks later, I found out someone else was having his child. In this very moment was when my whole world came crashing down. I felt so destroyed inside. I was so mad! When I confronted him about it, he simply denied it. A denial turned into, I was drunk, I was under the influence, I was stupid, and I didn’t know she wasn’t using birth control. I felt so betrayed. Nothing he could say could ever take the pain he inflicted on me with this news. This man had cheated on me, manipulated me into believing his lies and now he was irresponsible enough to get someone else pregnant. It was in this very moment that I knew we could never work it out. I just couldn’t find it in my heart to forgive a child during our separation. He even had the nerve to blame me! He literally said I pushed him to having another baby because I wouldn’t let him come back home. I couldn’t believe he would even fix his mouth to blame me. This man had a way of manipulating things into his favor, however not this, not a baby, not me. I had come to the realization that a divorce was the only way that I could liberate myself from this demon of a husband. I contacted a lawyer and started what I knew would be the longest and most bittersweet divorce.
A baby! I remember keeping this a secret for a really long time. I didn’t tell my kids, I didn’t tell my friends. I was secretly dying inside and no one ever knew. I went to work and still did my job. I did this for three months, for three months I held everything inside. Then it happened, I couldn’t keep the secret anymore and I told a friend. I told a friend because I really didn’t want to think I was crazy for feeling the way I felt. Telling a friend broke my silence and also lifted the windows to the tears I had held in for so long. Woman are the most powerful creatures on earth, the fact that I held in the secret of a baby and this man’s betrayal for so long and went about my usual duties as a mom, daughter, friend and somebodies teacher, still amazes me till this day.
So the best advice I can give anyone going through a divorce, is consult a lawyer. As a career woman and mother of two, there was just no time for me to see a judge, be in court or request personal days for the matter. A divorce is time consuming and an emotional process. Having a lawyer lifted a lot of weight off my shoulders. Even though my spouse did not want a divorce at all, my lawyer was able to consult with him and also give him options. My spouse really thought we still had a chance. He hated that he was having a baby with someone else. He complained to me about it for about seven months, he would text me saying it’s not what he wants. He would say things like he wanted his family back. It was just all too late. My spouse did not accept papers being served to him for over a month. Once he finally accepted the paperwork it took him thirty days to sign and agree to all the terms. All divorces can be different depending on the route you take. I highly recommend a lawyer because you do not have to deal with any paper work or courts.
“It’s cheaper to keep them” is a saying I heard tossed around a lot. Never really understood the words until my personal experiences. I paid less than fifty dollars for a piece of paper to say I was married. I paid $2,300 for a divorce that would help me keep my sanity. My ex-husband and I try to maintain a great relationship because we still have to co parent. Even though he hurt me it didn’t mean my kids had to suffer. So I decided to be the bigger person and reach out and plan for him to make a schedule that involved him, his new child and the kids. Life is not perfect, however it is what you make it.
The dating scene for me is different. It took me an entire year to date again. I decided to work on loving myself as a person and loving my body. When I was able to appreciate my beauty and see myself worth. I was able to date some men who really treated me like a queen. It has actually been quite fun dating again. It’s like being in a candy shop with all the options women have nowadays. I actually do a lot of swiping left and right because of time constraints. I plan on doing some speed dating over the summer. There are so many options.
Will I ever get married is a question I am asked a lot. My answer is, heck yes. Just because I had one bad experience doesn’t mean I can’t try it again. One thing that I would definitely do different the second time around is speaking to my spouse and making sure they understand that marriage is a partnership and it is never one sided. You must be able to give and receive. A healthy long marriage involves trust and most of all love. Each person in the partnership has to be able to say they want the best for one another. You cannot be selfish and you must be able to give your all mutually.