As I sat in the car my toddler was quick to notice that his father wasn’t riding with us. So he immediately asks,
“Mommy! Where’s Daddy?”
“He’s going to drive the other car”, I said, nonchalant and flippant.
For some reason this affected my otherwise extremely happy-go-lucky toddler so badly that he threw a huge fit. Eventually my husband had to ride with us and we postponed bringing my husband’s car to the dealership for minor car work.
I hope my son realizes someday the privilege that he enjoys by having both parents living under one roof. I hope he acknowledges that this is a stroke of luck that his parents are together even though the divorce rate in dual provider families is at an all-time high. I hope he sees how sometimes divorce touches the best of us and leaves a lot in its path of destruction.
I’ve never been divorced. My parents never got divorced. But many people I know, some I call family and other friends, got divorced. None of them enjoyed it. They did appreciate it for the emancipation from bad relationships that it brought a few years out but no one enjoyed it or even liked it in the moment.
So I want my kids to see the privilege they enjoy by being able to sit in a car with both their parents as a family.
I want myself to understand how fickle any marriage is and the reasons why some last longer than others aren’t generic or huge. Sometimes it’s just fate. Some marriages aren’t made to last. Some are made in heaven but destroyed on earth.
Any marriage or relationship, the best and worst of them, runs the chance of separation. Do some get resuscitated heavily by their owners? Yes and, as we all know, resuscitation can add years to a failing entity. Sometimes however, resuscitation comes at the expense of life with no dignity or meaning. Sometimes resuscitation can lead to a walking corpse.
Why people get divorced is sometimes dissected in social circles. Many people try to understand why a happy-appearing couple is separating. There are verdicts and sentences. There are explanations and narrations. There are blames and insults. There is a whole speculation of the life after a divorce. There is analyzing of a relationship that we didn’t live. There’s also judgment of a marriage that we won’t ever understand.
I think the reason why people get affected by divorce is exactly the reason why people get affected by death. We see divorce as a tragedy that we escaped. We don’t consider it luck. We consider it a pragmatic effort towards a better marriage that helped us avoid it. Just like we explain someone else’s death against our life. We are living because we take care of our health. They’re dead because they didn’t. We oversimplify life and love. It’s a kind of defense mechanism. In fact many defense mechanisms. Denial, displacement, sublimation and a little bit of a superiority complex. They all work together for us to allow some sanctimoniousness in the face of things that other people broke while we kept them intact.
It’s easy to cast aspersions on people who go through a tragedy. It’s hard to understand our inability to comprehend the tragedy.
It’s easy to simplify a divorce and lay the blame on the man or the woman. It helps with reasoning through it. It’s tough to understand things like cognitive dissonance, different interests, a slow drifting away.
It’s easy to be surprised when we hear the news of a previously happy couple divorcing. It’s hard to know that this could happen to us too.
It’s easy, just in general, to live in privilege. It’s easy to have the same spouse, the same “love of our life”, the same white picket fence that surrounds us for all our life. It’s easy to not have a past or a custody battle. It’s easy to not have child support issues. It’s easy to never feel like a dagger went through our heart when our ex-spouse remarried or even starts dating. It’s all easy.
But it’s hard to give space to a marriage that is no more. That society can’t do. It’s hard for us to not judge a divorce. It’s hard for women to understand why some women choose to be miserable through a divorce. It’s hard for some women to understand that a divorce happens when a marriage becomes truly more miserable than a divorce. It’s hard because the bubble of privilege that a stable relationship provides takes away introspection and insight.