“How Did You Know For Sure?”
Since I announced that I was filing for divorce, I’ve gotten a fair amount of emails from mothers who are considering leaving their partner or husband. They aren’t happy. Maybe they’ve tried counseling, maybe their partner is abusive, or an addict, or cheated, or is simply absent, like mine was. Whatever their situation, they always ask me the same question. ”How did you know, for sure, that leaving was the right thing to do?”
Or as I like to put it, where is the line between “marriage takes work”, and “this marriage isn’t working”?
No matter how many times people ask, I still never know quite what to say. I think we can all agree that the idea that marriage is forever, no matter what, is antiquated. But the threshold for leaving is different for everyone. It’s so personal that I can’t possibly pretend to advise anyone on what to do… nor would I want to. All I can say is simply, I didn’t know for sure. No one can.
I knew that I was unhappy when he was away, which was most of the time. That turned into being unhappy when he was around, because when he came back he was still absent. The week I filed for divorce, he came home after being away for months, he ignored me all night, and in the morning he went to get Caroline from her crib and she screamed in terror and would not calm down until I held her, because she did not know who he was.
Of course I can’t just blame him, because there must be things I did and not do that pushed him to that point. But in the end I would rather be alone than know in my bones that the person I am with does not love me.
I know this is controversial, but I personally believe that there doesn’t have to be any big, heavy issue like abuse or addiction to justify wanting out of a marriage. To me, it’s as simple as this: if your relationship does not ever make you happy, then there is no point. What else is a relationship for?
I can say that I knew for sure within a couple of weeks that it had been the right thing to do. When it was said and done, when papers had been filed, when he had moved out, and all I felt was relief and a weight lifted, I knew. When it was clear that my child’s life would be more peaceful and happy with divorced parents as opposed to married parents, I knew.
There will always be sadness for what “should” have been; there will always be guilt for what we did and did not do. But if you’ve tried everything, have exhausted all the options, and all you can see in your future is more tears than laughter… why would you stay?
So, what do you think– where is the line? If you left, where was it for you?Add a Comment