What question do you hate to be asked.
Why did you divorce your ex-husband? You were married for over 20 years.
I don’t get asked this one very much anymore, but in those first awful days of separation and divorce, it was asked of me more than I care to think about. When I run into someone I haven’t seen for a while, who isn’t aware that I have divorced and remarried, they ask this, sometimes they are shocked, sometimes they wonder what took me so long.
Of course, it’s none of their godamn business, but this is a city of roughly 35,000 people. Too big for everyone to know everyone, but small enough that I know many people, and so does he. If I don’t give an answer, people will just make up their own and tell their friends.
In order to do my best to keep the whole mess factual, I feel I must defend my position.
Naturally, people’s minds will first go to infidelity as the answer. And it’s the wrong one. The fact that my former husband did his best to perpetuate this falsehood didn’t help the situation. Even going so far as to not only flat out tell one of my friends he was sure I was sleeping with her husband, but also telling my children that I had a boyfriend. Nice.
While Mr. The Cheeky Diva is my first love from days long past, he didn’t come in to the picture until months after I left my ex. In fact he lived 1200 miles away from me when we found each other, so I didn’t even see him in person until a full 8 months after my ex and I separated, 5 months after the divorce papers were filed.
That may seem like infidelity to some, but when God puts a miracle in your life, like the love of the one person who will never forsake you, do you spurn it simply because the slow grinding wheels of the court won’t give you your legal freedom? Again, thank you to my ex-husband for putting a rock in front of those wheels so they couldn’t move. From the time we separated to the day we finally got to court, it was almost 2 years. An uncomplicated divorce in Nebraska can be over an done with in about 90 to 120 days if both parties are agreeable.
So, what’s the real answer? Why did I leave my ex-husband? Why did I stay so long is a much better question. I was never more than mildly content in that marriage. A lovely home, food on the table, bills always paid. Nice, but not enough. We were never on the same wave length and as time wore on, and the kids got older, I began to picture a life with just the two of us in the house after the children had gone.
I imagined 30 or 40 more years of living with a man who was mostly motivated by material possessions and appearances. I was tired of living in a hamster wheel of trying to be something I’m not. Tired of being told to act a certain way so I didn’t cause embarrassment. Tired of being told my dreams and ideas were stupid. Tired of being told I was crazy. After 44 years, it was time to live like I wanted. Be who I wanted. To stop living for other people.
Of course, as a mother, this caused me enormous guilt. It still does to this very day. If I would have stayed, we may all still be living like that happy smile on a stick family. Pretty much like the one I grew up in. An alternate possibility is that my kids wouldn’t have a mom at all if I would have stayed. I was becoming a hollowed out shell of a person, and the shell was getting very thin and brittle. One good tap with the slightest bit of force, and it may very well have shattered.
Jeezzz, Michelle, you’re better than therapy!~Thanks!