In the course of our conversation, I told her that I was in a similar boat. “Yes,” she said, “It seems my whole circle of friends with whom we shared the wave of bridal showers and weddings, are now all going through this turmoil.”
We both shared a sight followed by silence. There was nothing left to say. We connected. We shared. Her story touched something deep in me. It echoed my own story and probably so many others with its open-ended hope and underlying sadness.
It got me thinking, how could it have gone differently? What will the outcome be? Is there a rainbow at the end of this tunnel?
Do we ever know what the other is thinking? How is he/she feeling? Are they honest with us? Are they even honest with themselves? How much are we supposed to or are willing to sacrifice to keep the union together? Is it worth it in the long run?
These questions can have very unique answers for each family. One thing is certain: It is a very hard decision to be carefully weighed out. In real life, though, there are storms of hate, love, passion, regret, jealousy, betrayal, all of which cloud our judgment. We can act impulsively and make numerous mistakes. Yet we also have a huge capacity to forgive and forget, it seems.
I tried to rethink her situation and compare it to other possibilities. For example, as rough as it might have seemed at the time, her husband made a bold move by leaving. He could have just chosen to live a secret double life (like so many others do), with this other woman perhaps, hidden away from Mary. Would Mary, in this scenario, have been just a disconnected wife raising her kids in an empty shell of a relationship? Would her husband be able to play well on both fields? Would she become aware that she was being shortchanged? If he stayed, would it have been more gentle, less cruel? Would those two statistical years of an affair lifespan pass and would he return to his wife with renewed love and dedication? Or would he only proceeded to have his next affair?
By leaving, he cut off a lot of future possibilities of keeping the family together. He must have been either very unhappy in his marriage or crazy in love at the time, or both. What is done is done. (That is not to say that all could not possibly be forgiven if there ever was a will and enough love to do so.) Well, the story did not turn out this way: Mary did not take him back.
He cut the rope and, ultimately, has freed them both to boldly explore, in the open, other relationships, to find interesting people who might bring them joy! They might also get burned, but alas, this is the nature of freedom. One thing both of them need to do first is to really free themselves from the luggage, the guilt and the shame of a “failed” marriage. They need to become whole happy people again, then a myriad of opportunities will shine through.
As my divorce lawyer ones told me, “What have you got to lose? You will be free, and the world is your oyster.” I was too unhappy back then to appreciate the wisdom of her words. I just thought in the back of my head, “My life is ruined and she is after my money.”
Divorce is not just an end. It is a beginning. This could be a dream come true in a way: Finding a mate for life, working hard at being married, putting up with all kinds of sacrifices while creating a family, not being your own main priority anymore. You have done that, been there.
Now, you can relive your youth, be really wild, enjoy all life has to offer. Why not? You can! The only thing you really need to do is to stop seeing yourself in a negative light! Stop carrying that burden! Throw it away for God’s sake!