Separating from a marriage is a funny thing. It feels so much more formal than ending a regular relationship. Although I don’t know why. I never took my husband’s surname and other than having a ceremony at my church, life has never really felt any different. Until now.
Tell people that a relationship has ended and they kinda pat you on the back, say they’re sorry to hear it and everyone gets on with life. Tell them that you’re leaving your marriage and people are gobsmacked/shocked etc. Just for the record…… these are really unhelpful reactions.
Obviously some people have known for a little while, I consulted a couple of friends when first thinking about ending my marriage, I wanted a sounding board and to listen to the experience and wisdom of their points of view. Once I had told Stu where we were at I wanted to give him time to come to terms with things and then we could start telling people once the time was right. It didn’t help that all this happened over the Christmas Holidays (and no, wasn’t brought on by Christmas stress). What I hadn’t accounted for is, a few days after initially talking to Stu about ending our marriage, him convincing himself that actually it was just a near miss and as long as he helped out more with the house and kids, we’d be fine. This all came during Christmas week and certainly helped to drag out the process.
As we headed to the new year, it felt like we were going through the whole painful process again in order to be really clear that actually, it was time for our lives to move on. The waiting period had been purgatory and with Stu kidding himself then finally accepting things, it felt like being in Groundhog day but we got through it. I wanted to give Stu time to really, honestly come to terms with things and to start telling people. As it had been my decision to end the relationship, I didn’t want to jump the gun and force his hand by telling everyone around him while he was still feeling so raw about everything. At the same time, I had started to tell friends but asked them to keep the information confidential as we hadn’t told family and of course, our children didn’t know yet.
It was only when one of my friends, older and more experienced than me, pointed out that Stu was using the fact I hadn’t told family and was waiting for him to be ready, as a way to be controlling and not really move the situation on. And why should he? I’m the one who earns the money, puts a roof over our heads and food on the table. There is no benefit to him leaving the house and having to provide for himself (something he’s never done).
With this in mind, last week I went and told my Mum what was happening (as you can see in a previous blog post) and then during the week I told my twin brother and finally, yesterday I went to see my Nana and tell her. The importance of her knowing is that my Nana has always been a huge part of my life. As a child I lived with her and during my adulthood I have spent a lot of time with her and on occasion, caring for her. I knew she would be ok with it, 2 of her 4 children divorced and Nana helped them immeasurably with me and my siblings and my cousins. It really does feel that now she knows things will progress. Stu has now told his Mum and his Auntie so hopefully we can start to formulate a plan for moving everything on and the rest of the world knowing.
So where does the ‘almost’ in the title come in? Dad and I have a bit of a rocky relationship and I have not said anything to him yet. The last time I spoke to him was Christmas day. It’s not unusual for us to leave it about a month before we contact each other and I’m aware that with our relationship being relatively fragile, if he says the wrong thing, I could overreact and we could end up even further apart than we are now. It feels weird Dad not knowing (and to ensure he doesn’t know until I’m ready for him to, I haven’t told 2 of my sisters) and I think I’m almost ready to go and see him and tell him. Who knows, he may actually have the answer to getting Stu to leave and us all get on with our new lives. Watch this space…..