I'm no longer married. This transition has been happening for over a year, but now it's official. I'm checking off a different box when I fill out forms. My life has changed - logistically, emotionally, fiscally. But as altering as that is, I can roll with it. It's distracting enough. But when I check that box, there it is, without context, without ambiguity, without distraction: divorced. There's not another word in the English language more laden. At any given moment, that word can trigger frustration, hope, anger, happiness, sadness, relief, regret, elation, guilt, redemption, fear, anticipation, resentment, confusion. At this moment, it's acknowledgement. Simple as that.
This blog is my story, and I'm going to keep telling it. But divorce is a pretty major plot twist. It needs to be acknowledged. The story has taken a different direction, but it will keep meandering toward its point B. There, that wasn't so hard.
The hard part is real life; all the moments that happen when I'm not sitting in front of a blog template or Twitter. In my real life, my kids have to deal with the fact that life is now "mom" and "dad," not "mom and dad." And while it's true that they aren't forced into the conflicts that dictated our life, there was an "our life" in that equation that we all shared. They aren't old enough to understand that I wasn't happy, and that would trickle down to everything around it. I hope one day they will, but that doesn't change the emotions they feel right now, and no cognitive change down the line ever will. You can't retroactivley feel different.
And my relationship with Lisa. That's a doozy. I wasn't happy. I was quite the opposite of that. However, I did not want to be the bad guy. So instead, I harbored my resentment until it became a justification for anything and everything. I tapped out years ago, but I was too scared to just rip the band-aid off, put my head down, and deal with what ensued. At best, I hoped that she would catch up to my feelings about the marriage and we'd one day over coffee just say "so, you want to get a divorce?" At worst, I hoped that she would end up hating me so much that she'd be the one to make the move. She didn't. And even though we fought all the time, at least she was fighting for something. I wasn't. In not wanting to be the bad guy, I became the bad guy. For that I'm sorry. No matter how it ended, I would have been responsible for this marriage ending. I wanted out, she didn't. But what I feel is more important to apologize for is the hurt I caused, over so many years. Whether or not I liked how she tried, she tried. And no matter what resentment drove me to sabotage the marriage, I still did, and caused a lot of permanent hurt.
No matter how I felt about Lisa, I always loved and respected her family. In fact, I often joked to myself in the darker times that it was her family that kept me from pulling the plug. They gave me pep talks and provided a sympathetic ear during our toughest times. And this is another reason I regret going about this the way I did. It hurt them in a way that cannot ever be repaired. I would hate me too if I were them, so I can't blame them. I can't go back and change history. I can only apologize and learn from it.
This acknowledgement isn't going to fix anything, I know. But it's a necessary step toward my point B, and I hope it in some way helps my kids, their mother and her family toward theirs. We all deserve to find resolution. I only wish it were as simple as that checkbox. Only divorce can make you wish you were filling out an IRS document.