The ordeal of divorce

A very dear friend got divorced after struggling to fix her marriage for six years. They’d been married for ten.

As I sat with her trying to commiserate in some way, I had no words. I’ve never been divorced and I’ve not experienced an unhappy marriage. I wanted to comfort her but honestly, I would’ve had more words if her husband had died.

She said a lot of things while we sat together, analyzing her marriage.

“ I should’ve let him take that job opportunity. He grew resentful of me when I didn’t let him to go to another state for his dream job”.

“I should’ve cut back on my hours. I was working a lot. He didn’t like that”.

“ I should’ve contributed more financially. I knew he didn’t like spending his own money”.

“ I shouldn’t have stopped seeing his mother. He hated that I couldn’t tolerate her. That was the first assault to our relationship”.

May be her ex-husband is having a similar conversation somewhere else. But likely not. He’s likely blaming her for the failure of this marriage just as much as she is blaming herself. I wanted to ask her many times why she’s blaming herself. Why was it her responsibility to maintain and water and nurture their marriage? Why she didn’t ask her husband for fairness? Why did she try to make it work like a crazy person and then got divorced because HE had had enough? Why did I always see only her making an effort? Why was she constantly hustling to be a good wife, mother, partner? Why didn’t she ever say that there was some physical violence involved? Her explanation is that telling people of several blunt physical blows by her husband would color their image of him. Why did she care so much about it?

She’s not one of those women that you’d advise to “become independent”, “get out there”, “get yourself a hobby”, “let your husband beg you for your time”. She’s already not dependent on her husband financially. She has a large number of friends. And yet, she is heart- broken. She has been given kids, a half-ass marriage, a divorce, a slew of insults to last a lifetime, all in ten years of marriage.

Her ordeal isn’t over yet because her husband’s last words were “ this is your hour of reckoning” (or some other insensitive spiel along those lines).

So now she’s reckoning. Today she never once repeated the insults that she told me so often of in the last two years. Neither did she mention the backhanded slap across her face. There must be more to this story. I’m sure she’s embarrassed to tell all of it because she believes that she brought it upon herself.

I can see the cogwheels turning in her head. The “had I been” and “I should have” syndrome that a woman deals with after a divorce.

Patience, fortitude, sacrifice, resilience, spirit are the words that we teach women. And most of the time these words lead to a woman’s rip-off in the form of divorce. My friend has been ripped off. She mourns a marriage that was abusive. She still loves a husband who was likely a bad case of classic narcissism. I’m sure there were good days but when I see how happy her kids are with the divorce, I feel like those good days couldn’t outweigh the bad. So in a moment of darkness, her children’s laughter brings hope for my friend’s future.

May we all find the loves of our lives the first time around. But it is possible that we don’t and if that happens, don’t be shy to accept it, communicate it to someone and separate yourself from the unhappy. Also, let’s empower our women in finding true love. The life of a divorced woman, a widowed woman, an abandoned woman is really hard emotionally . And the people who question her the most are other women. This culture of sanctimoniousness just because my man isn’t done with me yet has to go.