When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn’t a sign that they “don’t understand” one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to.

12 Nov

We get along like two old friends, the comfy kind you have from high school who knows what it takes to make you blow root beer out your nose.

I find myself warmed by talking with him-not in the girly flirty way, but in the hey! I like talking to my friend! We get along and he’s funny and he laughs (sometimes) at my jokes and the look in his eyes isn’t cold like it was. kinda way.

I come home without the weight of what or if or should I on my back. No more constantly examining my marriage, no more staring for the flaw, picking at a scab of what was, trying for the sake of it. I come home and look into the eyes of my soon to be ex husband and I think I do love you, after nearly half my life, I love you to the tips of my toes, but you’re right you know, that love isn’t the wifey kind. It’s a warm glass of rum instead of the cold shock of tequila.

And now, on the other side of the table smiling at each other warmly, I am perfectly all right with that.


People gasp when you tell them you’re breaking up.  After all this time! How sad, they tsk, how sad. I suppose that it is, sad that we couldn’t manage to salvage what always made us so right for each other, sad that one, or both of us changed just enough for the other to not recognize any longer. Sad that I got sick, sad that he had to shoulder the burdens of a family alone through it, weather my moods and my ire.

It’s sad that we won’t have more time together, it is.

But that time is long past, the years of love not meaning obligation. The time when things were tender and devoted, not forced. We haven’t lived there in a long time, and I don’t know why. If anything kills me, it’s the not knowing why, why we couldn’t find the right way to this.

I can see the threads now, slipping downhill. I couldn’t see them before, caught up in the now, but I can stare back from here and see where it began to unravel, and all the places where I didn’t stop and pick it up, or where we together kicked the thread aside and moved ahead, without it. So many tiny moments that added up to now, to us both holding the sad dying pieces of a marriage, with the terrible knowledge that we couldn’t put it back together.

I don’t think we mourn it. Maybe it will be worse later, like it was the other day in the supermarket, as each item he liked grabbed me by the chest and nearly started the tears coming with how I’d never buy it for him again, how I’d need to learn what cereal someone else likes best someday. How I wouldn’t have a lover to smile for as I threw chocolate in the cart. I mourn in the strangest ways, the buildings where we sat, the streets we walked down, hands touching softly, the rooms where our new daughters once lay, and the beautific smile that graced his face as he rocked them to sleep.

I will mourn the us that wasn’t, that never could be, the lovers who couldn’t find the pace, get the steps. We tried, and once, we did hold it together, cradled the ball of us in our hands. But it was so very long ago, and life is so easily ran from habit, our hands splitting, letting go.

But we tried. We’ve spent the last few years trying, and finally, I’ve thrown in the towel as well, saying those words he’s so rarely heard from my lips.

You’re right.

Whatever we had, whatever flowered for 2 or 5 or 6 years, it’s long since dried up and become lost as we’ve grown up and apart. Think of it like a firework-beautiful, dangerous, and ultimately, never meant to last.

I like that image of us, exploding into ash to fertilize tomorrow. I like that.


We get along, and agree and plan and I can see tomorrow, I can see next month, and I’m not that scared! Everyone tsk’s and says they can’t imagine and I’m gleefully clapping my hands and saying But I CAN! see! And it’s not so bad! We divy up the goods and calmly discuss what custody will look like and if his new place will be up the street or down three more and I think I can do this. This isn’t the horrid divorces my friend’s parents had, this is our divorce, as two people who do care for each other, and more importantly, love their children more than life and realize that this, what we do right now, impacts every step of the rest of their lives.

And most importantly, because we will always be a family, drawn together by blood and time. I will always be their mother. He will always be their father.

We will be better this way. I am quite sure of it.


16 Responses to “When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn’t a sign that they “don’t understand” one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to.”

  1. kelly November 12, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    I don’t know what to say. I hope you can find remember to smile when you throw that candy in the basket for yourself.

    All my love, my friend.

  2. Molly Chase November 12, 2009 at 4:15 pm #

    When we got married, Dan and I committed to the idea that so many relationships fail because men don’t change and women do and there’s just no knowing who you’ll be ten or twenty or thirty years down the road. Sometimes it’s nobody’s fault and love doesn’t have to die for it to be over. Sometimes it just ends. That’s what’s happening to my half-brother and sister-in-law right now. It doesn’t have to be a tragedy. It just has to be navigated in an adult way.

    Five years into my own marriage, I still hope it lasts forever. But if it doesn’t, I hope it can end without imploding our entire world and the worlds of our children. There’s a right way to do everything, I guess.

  3. Green November 12, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

    I’m really happy for you that you two have gotten to this point.

  4. Marcy November 12, 2009 at 5:10 pm #

    You amaze me.

  5. Becca November 12, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    I haven’t commented in a long, long time, but I have kept reading, and wanted to say that I’ve seen it done, and the people who managed to do a calm, adult divorce have my deepest respect. I have confidence that you will too.

  6. slouchy November 12, 2009 at 9:43 pm #

    Wow. You are amazing. How can you be in such a good place in such a short time? What’s your secret?


    • thordora November 12, 2009 at 10:06 pm #

      I don’t discount the fact that this will, in all likelihood, get crappy for a little while somewhere…but for now, after making the decision and my initial OMFGWHATWILLIDO! freak out, it just feels RIGHT. I feel like a weight has been taken from my chest and I can breathe again. And it’s an awesome thing.

      I’m also remembering that I don’t hate him, and he doesn’t hate me. We just don’t work together anymore. It makes me sad, but also makes me remember that the girls deserve to have two function parents, no matter what side of the road we live on.

  7. flutter November 13, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    Big, BIG love to you.

  8. Vicki November 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    This is how it should be if it falls apart. You should be able to settle things like adults and work together for the things that are best for the babies. Does he know you write here? I would be curious to know if he appreciates how you are handling this so gracefully…

    • thordora November 14, 2009 at 12:01 am #

      Heh. No. Total lack of any interest in anything I do long ago. Part of the problem, at it’s core.

  9. landismom November 13, 2009 at 7:59 pm #

    This is a pretty amazing post, considering how little time you’ve had to work through the emotional upheaval. I’m glad you’re in such a good place right now, and I hope that it continues. And I think the best thing that could happen for your girls is for their parents to remember that they still love each other, even if it’s just as friends.

    I told my husband when I married him that the reason I agreed to marry him is that his parents had the most decent post-divorce relationship of any people I’d ever met, and it gave me the confidence that if we ever split up, we’d be able to do that too.

  10. Mogo November 14, 2009 at 2:54 am #

    um. i do actually follow along quietly. and i *am* glad it’s going they way it is instead of the way it initially seemed it might. just sayin’

  11. Karen Murphy November 15, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    In my experience (and I have many), there is more learned from the dissolution of a relationship than oftimes from the relationship itself. This is when people learn to drop their pretense and become real with one another – good, bad, ugly, beautiful. It’s all the same.

    Inspiring! I wish you always safe passage back to this feeling of I CAN!

  12. Quadelle November 18, 2009 at 12:34 am #

    I hope that the calm and clarity of now lasts, for your sake and your girls’ sake! It’s the best way to be during a breakup, but it’s hard work to maintain.

  13. leef November 18, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    Well, it’s your choice. Having a warm-trusting friendship like the one you describe sounds like a nice place to start on finding out what makes him hot for you, and vice versa. Maybe you’re both too comfortable to care, friendship is nice = ]

  14. Anthony September 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Wow! I didn’t think someone else could feel the same way. Strangely, I’m the guy in the relationship and feel EXACTLY like you do in terms of the realization that we just don’t work. I just told her yesterday and don’t know what the future holds for me, but I want her to be happy because I know I have caused her great stress just being me. I have been working at my relationship for 13 years now (dating then six years of marriage) and I have come to the conclusion that it’s not supposed to be THIS hard. Sure, it’s work, but this is to a different level. I truly hope I’m making the right decision because my wife is a great woman who truly cares for me but could never figure out what makes me tick…despite the fact that I actually communicate rather well. Although scared I feel like we’ve both held our families and friends hostage with this constant “what’s wrong now” thing. It’s time to enjoy our support system and add to their lives rather than take from them. To see my wife cry kills me but I hope she will see in the future that I was a decent man for doing this.

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