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It would seem that making the decision to divorce would be the hardest part. I would argue that dealing with the consequences of the decision are far more difficult than reaching the conclusion. Once the decision to divorce is made, then you have to endure all of the opinions or reactions of those that know you and your spouse.
I was not prepared for the “I saw your wife” or “I saw your wife’s posts on social media” encounters. As a matter of fact, I had not even considered her activities apart from ou marriage and how they would impact me. My neglect to consider and prepare for these conversations placed me in a more perilous situation.
Divorce Journal – I Saw Your Wife
The trials that led to our decision to divorce were exhausting. Once the decision was made, I begin to work towards the life I hoped to have after the divorce was final. I never stopped to imagine what her response would be. It was a mistake to only consider how I would recover from the end of our marriage.
She, first, took to social media and shared her feelings about the decision to divorce. It was her right to do so. I should not have been surprised as she is a writer and a connector of people. It was the logical response. But, then her ‘hanging out’ breached the social media platforms. She started a campaign of public social interaction. In short, she started hanging out in actual social places, such as bars and night clubs.
The first encounter I had with someone that would express their thoughts, feelings, or opinion on our divorce immediately arrest my attention. It happened in my work space. I left the encounter knowing that I needed a game plan. Right away I started preparing an official ‘press release’ or a response statement, and practicing various facial expressions. I did not like the feeling of being caught of guard, so I started preparing for the many future encounters that would come.
I would like to say my preparation to respond more appropriately to others’ opinions of our plans to divorce or my wife’s activities was absolutely successful. This statement would not be true. However, I managed to get better with each encounter with someone that decided to share in our decision by offering their opinion. Participating in conversations about ou marriage with people outside of our union proved to be far more challenging than arriving at the decision to divorce.
Divorce involves the painful separation of a wife and a husband. Marriages that produce children or blend families together must take into account that the children will also face the hardships caused by divorce. Unfortunately, the hurt does not stop with these parties directly tied to the marriage. So many other areas are impacted. A couple that is considering divorce must be aware of how far their decision will reach.
Everything in a marriage must be divided when it ends. Most begin by considering the division of personal assets, such as homes, furnishings, and cars. Those are the easy decisions in my opinion. Investments must also be split up, including retirement funds, investment portfolios and properties, and collectibles. This area is a little more difficult. Even the debts accumulated must be shared, and it is surprising how some think that one party will assume all of the liabilities.
The most difficult area of division for me did not include any of the personal assets or liabilities. The hardest area for me was loosing relationships with family members and friends. It would seem that family and friends would want to provide support for all parties involved, but what I have expereinced is that they too will chose a side.
Let me be clear. It may be a family member that is a blood relative or a close friend you have known all your life, and they still may chose to continue a relationship with your spouse over you after the divorce. Shocking, I know. It is more shocking when they make the choice based on unsupportive details that are only being shared by one side. Or, it may seem unfair that people run toward the person that displays the most hurt. The loudest cries usually gets the most attention.
Once my wife made our decision to divorce public through social media outlets she garnered an immediate community of support. I should not have been, but I was completely caught off guard by the persons that seemed to have chosen a side, her side, and an application for divorce was not even filed. Very few people sought to help us, and even less reached out to me for confirmation of the decision.
I was still sad about the responses of our family and friends when I recorded this entry (Divorce Journal – Choosing Sides). But I knew that retaliating, especially on social media sites was not the appropriate response. I turned to this journal to begin processing all of my emotions. In reality, our family and friends still loved and support both of us. And after I had calmed down, I was glad that she had a familiar community there to support her through our diffiult journey.
The purpose of journaling is to capture thoughts, feelings, dreams, and events. Journal entries will serve as a measure of how far you have come, or offer an explanation to you or someone else of what was occuring in your life at a particular point.
The experience of journaling seemed to be a worthy endeavor, especially if it could be used as a tool to measure progress. But, what if there was no progress, or worse ground was loss? It is hard to look back over your life and consider the mistakes that were made and the damage that was caused as a consequence.
Yet, even in our failures there are lessons to be learned. It might be even more beneficial to review what did not work. Who could not benefit from knowing the outcome of a wrong path?
Reviewing this entry (Divorce Journal – No Need To Respond) was difficult for me. It was a reminder of a period where I was being indecisive. I experienced a long pause – a time of mental paralysis. In this video entry I could hear how that period had caused me and my wife pain and resulted in frustration.
The process or the lack thereof was unfair to my wife and me. However, good can be found in any situation if you desire to see it. The positive note from this period is that I was still considering the impact of divorce to our immediate and extended circles. The paralysis that I expereinced was due to the strain of balancing my emotional health against those who would also be impacted by my decision.
It is also clear from this entry that after months I had not responded to my wife’s question about the direction our activities were taking the relationship. Out of frustration or in desparation to save her own sanity she made the choice for us. We would divorce.
It is my hope for anyone reviewing this entry, that has stalled on making a critical decision, will receive the incentive required to move. Learn from my mistake. If you do not make the call, someone else will and it may not be in either of your favor. Push through the fear of being hurt or hurting someone else. Weigh all of the options, then make the best decision possible. Afterwards, no matter the outcome, take the necessary steps to heal and forgive yourself.
Every relationship should have routine check ins and check ups. It is interesting that we will keep routine schedules to maintain our bodies, our homes and even our cars, but neglect to check in or get check ups for our relationships. As much as I believe in this principle, I was not ready to answer my wife’s question. She wanted to know, “what are we doing?” This entry shares the struggle that I had with her need to know. (Divorce Journal – What Are We Doing)
It was a reasonable request, considering the amount of time we were spending together and the activities that we shared. We were in a seemingly good space, which would lead anyone to believe that all was well with us. Although a picture is worth a thousand words, it can also be very deceptive about what lies beneath. Underneath my pleasant demeanor towards our relationship was the need to see significant change from both of us.
In every moment we shared I was looking for enough evidence to change my mind and heart about divorce. I wanted to know that the few months of peace and comfort we shared would be indicative of a new her and a better us. The peace could have been the result of either one of us holding our tongues; keeping in our true feelings for the sake of peace and comfort. But, even the best of us get tired of practicing restraint. It is then that our true emotions and feelings surface. And patience is rewarded with the real agenda and true nature of a thing.