This post has been sitting in my draft folder for months. Somehow I have never been able to find the right words to complete it, do it justice or perhaps express my feelings poignantly enough. But I have decided to publish it anyway, because I feel it’s cathartic.
Earlier this year I became a statistic. Not for positive reasons, but due to my impending divorce. The decisions for the separation are, however heartbreaking irrelevant now. But the fact is, no matter the reason, circumstance or thought processes behind a separation it still hurts and it is likely, especially as a parent one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make.
The first few weeks were the hardest. Adapting to living alone after seven years of sharing decisions, chores and responsibilities. Contemplating the future, dividing belongings and negotiating an all new support network. Then there’s the balancing act of work, childcare and meeting financial obligations alone. It was tough.
Then, a few weeks after our announcement, the questions began.
‘But have you tried? I mean really tried to make it work? The poor kids!’ etc, etc.
The questions and comments were not helpful. Divorce is dramatic and emotional enough as it is, without being made to feel inadequate! Now I am under no illusion that relationships are dynamic, they require work, nurturing and communication. But, they also require trust and respect too. Making the decision to end my marriage was a hugely personal one, for months and months I remained unhappy and stayed put because I felt I should. It was what was best for the kids, wasn’t it?
No, it wasn’t.
Anxiety, fear and guilt kicked in shortly after that. I felt that I had let myself down, my children down and my family down. I had not fulfilled the promises I had made. I had failed and it was hard to accept, even though I knew it was the right decision. Despite the current divorce rate being around 42% in the UK, I felt very alone and with such strong feelings at times, it was difficult to maintain perspective.
But all of a sudden, I became aware of why I felt that way. It’s because I believe in love! I do believe in wanting the best for my children and I do believe in growing old together. But these beliefs are not insurance for a successful relationship. I tried. He tried. We tried. But it just wasn’t enough. Sometimes, relationships and yes, even marriages do not work. But my children are happy and strong and so am I, that’s what is most important.
It’s taken me almost a year to accept that I should not feel ashamed, either due to my own thoughts or anyone else’s judgement. To assume someone hasn’t tried or considered their own children is ridiculous and to judge someone because they have the guts to walk away from a lifetime of unhappiness is unfair. I did not order or plan a divorce and of course, I did not want to hurt my children, so I refuse to feel ashamed because my decision may make others feel uncomfortable.
Choosing to go it alone is noble and brave and it is taking responsibility your own happiness. Yes it may be a failure in some respects and it may be terribly sad, but divorce isn’t shameful.
Photo credit – Richard Hart Photography