written by Mav, guest blogger
Has it really been a year already? Yep. 4th of July last year. The beginning of the most bizarre, yet rewarding year of my life. So much has changed the past twelve months....where to begin....
Well, let’s begin at the beginning, a SportCenter highlight reel of sorts....
Independence Day, 2011. It started with a long morning run (I was on the long journey back into running...painful). Then came that coffeehouse conversation, from which she drove away and simply never came back. A month of refusing to articulate anything (text, email, phone calls).....nope, nada. Silence. No verbal indication at all about where she was mentally or emotionally, and nothing about her plans as they related to us. It wasn’t hard to reach the conclusion that the marriage was over. But let me check first, I thought.
So I texted her....”Coming to the conclusion that you don’t want this, so planning on filing for divorce. If I’m wrong, please let me know.”
Her response arrived a minute later....”Stop harassing me.”
Well, I had my answer.
Honestly, I was okay with that. I’d fought hard for years, been trod upon and kicked around, and hung out on a ledge since the first month we had been dating. My biggest fault...allowing her to manipulate me to the point where I truly was insecure, scared, and subservient. So, why did I do it? That’s the question of my life....From our second week together, I knew she was a commitment phobe. It was hammered into me non-stop...week after week...month after month, the threat always with us of her impending and inevitable instinct to flee. But somehow I was different. With me, she hung around, holding me at bay, mind you, but still she stayed. I was different. I’d tamed the beast. Or so I allowed my ego to believe.
SMACK! Sometimes reality hits you hard right there on that bald spot, just south of your hairline and just north of your brow. Last July it walloped me.
“I’ve paid my dues....Time after time.
I’ve done my sentence....But committed no crime.”
Freddie Mercury never wrote truer words. After six years together, I’d been met with absolute silence, not even the respect to explain a thought process. Now, had there been infidelity, had I beaten her, had I killed her cats or burned down the house, perhaps it would have been justified, or at least understandable. And while I was no saintly husband, nothing I ever did or said justified her level of instantaneous abandonment. So, yes, I was okay with the end of the marriage. After all, for what would I have been fighting? To get back to a life of eggshells and manipulation?
Now, divorce is no fun. I’ve been through two, which makes me an expert, right? Wrong. Each one is different. Each is its own sickening masterpiece of evil. But we got through it....Yes, I mean “we.”
Not only did she simply walk away from me. She abandoned my daughters, her step-children, for whom she had so fervently convinced the world she loved more than life itself. With unbelievable callousness, she hopped on a plane for faraway places, pausing only occasionally in the past year to hurl insults and accusation about me toward them. Thankfully, the girls knew better. When you present yourself with one set of values and then throw them to the wind, authenticity has a way of biting you in the tail. Hard!
“And bad mistakes....I’ve made a few.
I had my share of sand kicked in my face.....but I’ve come through.”
We’ve survived, remarkably well, in fact. We’ve got each other, and my relationship with my daughters has never been better. We’re closer, more open, and more trusting...and that’s a helluva lot to say about any parent’s relationship with two teenage girls. I’m still the parent, but we’ve become friends, as well.
No, this divorce didn’t rock me the way it could have. A close-knit group of friends saw to it. They kept me from hitting rock bottom, and for that, my heart is open and my confidence in people restored.
For the first time in years, I’ve regained a sense of self, confident and happy with the direction life is taking me. Six months ago, I tossed away the security of a salaried profession, an action I’d wanted to take a year earlier, but abandoned when told by my spouse to “Man up....” In hindsight, it wasn’t about me. It was her unwillingness to accept uncertainty on her side of things, her need to be “in control.” And so, I had stayed, miserable in a position and organization that squelched every ounce of engagement, passion, and drive I had left. But this past December, with my life once again solidly in my own hands, I made that leap...and in doing so, I rediscovered my work-passion balance. I’m teaching and consulting, some would say more than full-time. Finances have never been better. I have the flexibility to spend more time with my kids. And I feel more alive than ever before in my adult life.
So, as I approach the first anniversary of the collapse of my marriage, I do so with unfettered joy with where the journey has taken me.
In life, we are constantly searching for our strengths and our passions. Well, I’ve found mine in unshackling the bonds of an unhealthy marriage. There was a time not so long ago that I cringed at the moniker “twice divorced.” But it’s not a bad thing at all. I’m merely twice educated....about what I don’t want, what I won’t accept, and most importantly about what I need in my life and who I am. In retrospect, I could not have asked for a better ending to that marriage. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. It was exactly what I needed. It’s become the Happy Ever After of my life.....