“A divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there’s less of you” – Margaret Atwood

Yes, I am divorced. Rather recently in fact. While the filing happened a year ago, the actual process took a few months and it took this past year to finalize.

It was quite amicable. For that I am glad. My ex and I found it incredibly hard as it was to decide to end our marriage. To make it more difficult and fight over who got the stand mixer versus who got the Saeco coffee machine made no sense to either of us. It was all “stuff”. Stuff that could be replaced, repurchased, or simply discarded. It didn’t matter.

What did matter was that we had two wonderful boys to co-parent. Reenacting The War of the Roses wouldn’t have benefited our children in any way. Their well being was always at the forefront.

Our pro se divorce was so good in fact; many questioned why we even divorced at all. If you can divorce so nicely, why can’t you stay married?  Ah, good question. I won’t disclose the issues that occurred in my marriage. I will try not to place blame or point fingers.  It is not fair to my children or their father. I can say with total confidence (and believe he would agree) that we were both very much to blame. It takes two to tango and tango we did.

One of the most troubling aspects for me in contemplating my divorce was my daughter.

Yeah, my daughter. She doesn’t even live here. I have never spoken to her or met her yet in making major life decisions I still consider her.

  1. Would she be ashamed or embarrassed by me if she were to learn I was divorced? (And is that any reason to stay in the marriage?) Does my marital status have anything at all to do with the state of our reunion – past, present or future? If she were to tell her adoptive parents about me – her conservative Catholic adoptive parents who have been married for a long time – would she choke on the words “divorced” or would she just avoid it all together? Why does this matter to me at all? If she hasn’t embraced me in three years is being divorced or not going to make any difference?
  2. How could I possibly separate two more children (my sons) from their parents after having separated my daughter from hers?

The second issue was extremely hard for me to contemplate. Somewhere, somehow, some part of me felt like I was again, abandoning my children.  I was going to hurt my sons like I hurt my daughter.

Daily, nightly, even hourly I was plagued with questions like :

  • Is it better to come from a broken home or live in one?
  • What affect will my divorcing have on my sons and their future relationships with women? What affect will staying in my marriage have on them? How will they mirror the relationship I have with their father in their own relationships?
  • Will my sons worry that I will give them away now since I won’t have a husband? My oldest son is very aware that one of the reasons I lost his sister to adoption was lack of a husband and support. What will he fear if his father and I divorce? How do I address those fears?

On and on and on the questions came. Rarely were their any answers.  In the end, to settle this topic of my children and their view of my divorce, I had to think of the following:

If my sons or my daughter were in the type of relationship I was in, what would I tell them to do? What would I want them to do?

I concluded that I would tell them to get out of the marriage. I would also support them in doing so before, during and afterwards.

Once I came to that conclusion, once I realized that it is what I would tell my children, it became what I told myself. If I would tell them they deserved to be happy, why wouldn’t I expect  – no, demand – the same for myself?

Yes, my daughter knows I am divorced. I did mention it to her in an email. Nothing big. Not a big drama story, just a data point. In her typical style, she did not respond or comment in any way. I have no idea if she even read the email.

It doesn’t matter.

The type of mother/woman/person I am has nothing to do with my marital status.

I wish I knew that 22 years ago.

4 Thoughts.

  1. I definitely think that my mother was a good role model in not accepting the life/relationship she had with my dad. It’s not that the divorce wasn’t hard for me but that the outcomes were better for me than if they’d stayed together. Who knows — maybe someday your children will be contemplating a relationship that isn’t working and your example will give them the strength to step away from it — even if it seemed “good enough” on the outside.

  2. As a child of divorce/abandonment, I also thought my mom was a good role model in being a strong woman able to stand on her own and seek out a better life than she had. The hard part for me was all that was lost in their particular divorce- a parent, extended family, home country, etc. But, if yours is an amicable divorce, then your sons shouldn’t lose their other parent. They should be able to have you both, but (hopefully) in a better situation.

  3. Divorce is never easy, but you and your ex-husband have gone through this challenge calmly and sensibly. They are seeing and spending time with both of you. Even though they may have some fear for the future, reality is showing them that you and your husband will both continue to be a part of their lives.

  4. It doesnt matter how intelligently or rationally a divorce outcome is, it changes everyone in the household. Life changes and everyone has to adjust. Does a strong solid foundation for this exercise help the boys with their loss. Even tho’ they get to have Dad on Sundays?
    I hate divorces. I could have written the War of Roses! Sure, kids are versatile and they adjust, but they do it in their own way!
    I wish you well. This is a big job.
    If in the end of War of the Roses, had they not died I can tell you about Part II.

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