This website is for the "non consensually divorced." Mostly women, although I realize that it happens to men too. There is no Conscientious Objector status for trying to avoid a divorce. No Fault divorce laws make it virtually impossible to preserve the marriage, since the divorce seeking spouse simply has to ask for a divorce based on something like incompatibility or irreconcilable differences. Of course, if one spouse disputes the incompatibility assessment, it automatically means that they're incompatible. Pretty genius. Pretty evil genius, bwa ha ha.
In this situation, there is (seemingly) a winner and a loser. Your spouse wanted a divorce and you didn't. You couldn't stop it and so you lost. If you are a loser, you are a victim, right? Oh boy, let's talk about victims. They have a story to tell. Somebody hurt them and they want people to know that this was not their idea. You feel your rights were violated because your marriage was worthless in court. At best- at best... Hmmmm, I have to really think about the 'at best' because, well. Hmmm. Okay, here's one: at best one keep some shreds of dignity. (Pretty hard to look on the bright side when someone is drowning in victim hood.)
At worst, any shred of dignity is lost and it becomes one of those bitter divorcees we all know. Oh, people try to appear to make the best of it but it's ten years later and they still have the same story to tell. If you are a couple years past your divorce and you are still bashing your ex to anyone who will listen, please read my book, Love It Go.
At any rate, it's the old adage Brad Pitt referred to in a recent GQ interview: 'No one wins in court- it's just a matter of who gets hurt worse.' If you're like me, you already knew that before the lawyers were involved. Of course I didn't want to be hurt (duh) but I also didn't want X to hurt; the problem was that we disagreed on the best way to stop the pain.
Speaking of Brad Pitt, (and who doesn't love to do that?) I love his assessment in that same interview, "You spend a year just focused on building a case to prove your point and why you're right and why they're wrong, and it's just an investment in vitriolic hatred." Sure seals the incompatibility deal, doesn't it? If you've been through it already, look back and see. If you're just starting out, know that there is a point when you realize the person you love is now an enemy. The desolation of that can be overwhelming.
So even though this blog is about letting go, I'm going to share a bit of my story for you as background. I was in this situation with X over six times in varying degrees, so many times in fact, that I lost count. I could also count the time he broke our engagement (which should have been a bright red flag) or the fleeting time about three years in to our 26 year marriage when he said he wanted a divorce.
A couple decades later, over the course of about seven years, X told me he wanted a divorce and then changed his mind at least six times. In 2011 he even briefly moved out. After he changed his mind, things would get better, then deteriorate again and it was back to the attorney's office for him. He would have papers drawn up, but never file them so I didn't go to an attorney myself until a more intense divorce phase of 2013.
All I did during the hour long meeting was cry, and the attorney was genuinely surprised. He told me that he'd only had a couple women who didn't want a divorce; that typically the cases he handled were mutually agreed upon and his clients often had divorce parties. I felt more oddball than ever. I know there have to be other women who didn't want a divorce? Right? If you're out there, please drop me a line.
After some pretty interesting events over about three months, just when it looked like the final curtain was coming down, X took me to a car dealership out of the blue and bought me a brand new car, saying he said he had changed his mind about divorcing. We even went back to the church we were married in on our 25th anniversary that year and had our marriage blessed during mass. Less than a year later, in the autumn of 2014, he started divorce proceedings for the final time. I ended up in another attorney's office, ironically on our 26th anniversary, a year to the day from our visit to St. Mary's Basilica in Phoenix. All I did was cry then too.
While I had to give you a small taste of the history here, the actual story is much longer and the details are often completely unbelievable. However, this blog post and the intention of the blog journey is not about what X did to me. Thankfully, I realized early on- before the decree was even granted, that I had to own the story. Frankly, I was tired of hearing myself tell it (and because my story was so long, I'm sure everyone else was too.)
Owning your story is a bit of a process. At the most simplistic level, one can say either:
1) X forced me to get a divorce that I did not want.
2) I did not want to divorce, and we did.
Number two is obviously the more empowering statement here. While number one sounds like total victim mode, number two simply states the fact truthfully, replacing the negatively charged 'but' with a more positive spin by using 'and.' Your next "and" is what this blog journey will be about- redefining your life and living your new reality powerfully and joyfully!
Along the way in the blog posting journey, we'll explore some other steps to own your story. To share a few now:
Taking ownership of your own role. (C'mon, it wasn't all your ex, admit it.)
Finding a place of compassion for your ex.
moving on - IT DOES GET BETTER!
Simple right? This might take you a looooong time. That's okay. It doesn't matter, what does matter is that you know you want to stay positive and that your end goal is building your own awesome life. Awesome lives have no room for bitterness.