When a marriage ends
My husband and I decided to separate with the intention to divorce 25 days and 6 hours ago. To say that I have been in the depths of pain would be an understatement. The first few days felt like I had been punched in the stomach. There was one day where I cried every single minute of that day. My heart has taken a brutal beating these last few weeks.
The story of my marriage is no fairytale. We met, we were swept up, we bought a house and got engaged within 6 months. Looking back now, it felt right. But we didn’t really know each other like we do now. Not even when we walked down the aisle a couple of years after we first met.
What happened to us happens in many marriages. Lack of communication, drifting apart, different wants and needs, changing values. We tried a bit of therapy. We were too far gone. Gone from each other and who we were to each other. The chasm between us had become too large and we let go. If you had asked my husband 6 months ago if we would ever get a divorce, the answer would have been a very firm “no”. We had intended to stay in the marriage even though we weren't happy (I was more happy than him, admittedly). And then one day the pain of staying in the marriage became too much to bear. Even for the sake of our child.
And so the decision was made. We decided to “consciously uncouple” - yes, it’s actually a thing. We wanted to put the needs of our family first before anything or anyone else. We did really well for the first few weeks--successfully negotiating a separation agreement that put the needs of our child first, making living arrangements that would work for both of us for the short-term, and navigating these murky and choppy waters. But we have fallen down in the last couple of days and my hopefulness on this process has been replaced by worry and sadness. It’s not going to be a perfect or free from pain and mistakes. It’s an evolution and we will keep trying.
Is mindful divorce harder or easier than a regular divorce? I’ve wondered about this a few times and I honestly don’t know. I think there is often a lot of anger in regular (unconscious) divorces. This seems to fuel many of the battles you see and hear between couples. While anger is definitely an emotion I have felt over the last few weeks, there really is no place for actions that are rooted in anger in mindful divorce. While action from anger can feel like a momentary release, it can cause so much pain afterwards.The challenge in mindful divorce is you have to be hyper aware of the emotions rising and falling within you - when you want to scream at your former partner, it can be tough to move through those emotions without actually doing it.
One day at a time
Throughout all of this I have kept a practice of self-care and self-love. It also hasn’t been perfect, but it has made ALL of the difference. I meditate and journal daily. Yoga helps blocked energy move through my body and release. Reciting mantras helps to calm and focus my mind. I have been consciously choosing my thoughts about myself and my divorce. I have also tried my best to eat nourishing foods through this time, but it’s been hard. My appetite is gone. So are my deep and peaceful sleeps, but I know they will return in time.
The greatest comfort through this time have been my friends. In the last few years, the pace of life coupled with the fact that I didn’t really feel comfortable sharing the state of my marriage, kept me at a distance from these important relationships. But despite this, my friends have rallied around me. They have (literally) lifted me off the floor when the pain was too much. One night a friend of mine that is in an earlier time zone called me close to midnight. She had a sense that I would be awake. I was. And so she just let me cry. I am so grateful to her for that. Or my other friend who calls me almost every morning even though she is also going through a tough time. Or my other friends who despite their busy lives have made time to see me and hug me and tell me everything will be okay. I will be forever grateful to them for showing up for me in what has been the hardest time in my life.
Here’s the thing: I know it will all be okay. I know I will be okay. I know this because I already am. Yes, I’m still a little wobbly on these newly single legs. But I know I will walk strong again--on my own, in all of my power.