Submitted by: Maya
I have a male friend whose divorce appears to be inevitable. He’s been married for about 25 years. They just took their last of three sons off to his freshman year in college, some two-day drive away. As he and she were driving home in the warm Virginia sunshine, she told him that it was now time for him to pack his things and get out.
He’s mindblown. It is not unexpected but the timing was hard for him. They were going back to their empty nest and I think that he had anticipated a little bit of settling in time before approaching her about a separation.
He wants explanations for her abrupt decision. I, having been the one blindsided in my own divorce, knew exactly what he was feeling but I also know that he has not been happy in his marriage for at least ten years. I also know what his wife was feeling as his love drifted away. I feel that I am in a bird’s eye position to know a bit of how they are feeling.
His wife does not know me and she is threatened by our communications. He and I have known one another since primary school and have re-established our excellent brother/sister thing. I understand how she feels about me but at the same time I wish that she and I had communicated back when things were good with them ~ before she began to feel the walls crumble.
In every communication that he and I share, he has always been decent and respectful in defining his wife. I imagine her version is that he has been lambasting and bashing her in words. All I can do is to remind him, as I try to remind myself every day ~ to keep the head up, keep the mind looking ahead and to proceed with caution, and always with dignity.
He states rightly that people often assume that one party (generally the male) skips away to a brighter horizon with a young woman, eager to free himself from the ties that bound him to his slaveish life and unhappy wife. He wants to say that he hurts too. And that seeing his long-term partner with a tear stain on her face makes him want to gather her up in his arms and say that it’s okay, that they’ll get through this somehow and that he really wants to still be in her life.
I hear him. I believe him. I believe that when we separate, most of us were once two hopeful and tender people with dreams to share. I believe that we are still those same dreamers but with different dreams. I believe that we have to honour that young person in whom we once found solace. To not forget the truth of the past and to forgive the each other for having taken a different path.
I am still struggling to move completely out of the shadows of a very nasty divorce. I held tight to what I have just stated but he let that part go. Maybe what he did was right, but it wasn’t right for me.
I don’t have all of the answers but what I do have is a clear heart and a clear conscience. I have a thought that this is what I will look back on as I grow older, and that I will know I did it the best that I could. I know that my ex will never be able to face that same past with the openness and honesty that I can. I think that’s sad.
I’m the perpetually broken record. Act with reason. Act with integrity. Act with the love that you own. Act with respect. PROact, do not React. I often think that I am in the minority when I hear the rage that emanates from broken people but I keep believing that if we can pull ourselves back on track, if we can lug those bleeding hearts back into place, if we can locate our presence of mind, we can heal our worlds and guide our children without malice.
That’s what I tell my friend. That’s what I wish I could tell his wife. They are simply a good man and a good woman whose marriage has disintegrated. There is no need nor is there room ~ for hate.