It’s been over a year since Joe and I split up. I was chatting with him recently and we agreed that it seems like a lifetime ago that we were married. So much has happened in the past year that our previous life together seems unreal. I can’t speak for his experience in all this, but I thought I would write a bit about my perspective.
The hardest part about a divorce, especially after 9 years of marriage, is figuring out the relationship with in-laws. Being married at 18 means that I grew up with these people. I spent every Christmas of the last decade with them. I’m godmother to my niece Emily. Joe’s mom was there for Jack’s birth and I work with Joe’s brother (which was a little awkward at first but is totally fine now). I have struggled a lot with the question of whether divorce means that I lose these connections, if I give up the right to know what they are doing. I am still hopeful that that is not the case. How does one divorce a person without making their whole family feel divorced? I still have no answer.
Another difficult aspect of a divorce, at least one with a child involved, is the part where you still have to deal with many of the issues that were there in the marriage. A procrastinator spouse may be (endearingly) annoying, but when that person becomes your ex and you are suddenly dealing with waiting to hear back about a custody schedule change or something, it becomes a giant bone of contention. After divorcing someone you end up dealing with the bad stuff without enough of the good stuff to balance it out. That came as a bit of a surprise to me. I did not realize that separation and divorce are not all that separate.
All in all I think our split has turned out better than anyone could have expected. Jack is still the well-adjusted funny little kid he was before but now he gets dedicated time with each parent. Both Joe and I have met wonderful people who make us fantastically happy. Jack has four parents now to teach him and care for him, and we all bring different strengths to the equation. When Joe and his girlfriend moved last month, David helped them. It was surreal for me, having my boyfriend help out my ex-husband, but it is how I hoped things would be. I feel very lucky be surrounded with people who want everything to go as smoothly as possible and recognize the importance of one another’s roles. I feel lucky that everyone is moving on and finding happiness instead of continuing to struggle with a marriage that just wasn’t working.
Our divorce paperwork is in the final stages. The papers are all filled out and in proper order but the courts are not making it easy on us. The papers have been rejected twice and the second time was completely unexplained. This last technicality lingers before I can have a final resolution to that story in my life. I’m very much looking forward to the future.