Divorce is messy. It’s ugly, damaging and frightening all at the same time.
It’s painful to lose a marriage, harder on your children than the meanest, cruelest bully at school and the paperwork and logistical issues will drown you. I would never wish divorce on my worst enemy. But sometimes, divorce is necessary, and it’s worth it.
Last night, Brandon and me and 2 of my kids watched the movie This is Where I Leave You staring Tina Fey and Justin Bateman. Tina and Justin are siblings in the movie, and one part of the movie stopped me in my tracks. Judd (Justin) walked in on his wife having sex with his boss (this part didn’t stop me in my tracks, but boy I wanted him to throw the cake in her face and kick her ass out of the house!) and he was talking with his sister (Tina) about getting divorced.
Wendy (Tina), insisted he wouldn’t get divorced. When Judd asked why she thought that, she told him, “Starting over is complicated and you don’t do complicated, Judd. You never have.”
She told him about how he planned his life out at 12 years old and now had the “perfect apartment” and “perfect wife” and he got everything he wanted. She knew he wouldn’t leave.
That was how I used to live.
When things in my first marriage started crumbling, I tried everything I could to ignore them. The disconnection of 2 people. The times I caught him on the internet late at night. The constant time he spent on his phone which was on lock-down or kept in his car or tucked under his leg in bed. The lunchtime workouts when he wasn’t working out at all.
Then I tried fixing things. Sending more texts and making extra time. Buying a treadmill so he could workout at home. Paying more attention to him because he said I didn’t but the “others” did.
I look back now, and I realize I did most of this because I was afraid to leave. Because I didn’t want to upset my “perfect” life. Because if I left, my life would then become complicated.
Yes, I loved him and wanted to save my marriage. But only because of our history and our kids and the comfort we had together. I was willing to overlook all of the mistakes he made with the other women to save my “perfect” life.
That “perfect” was an image I created in my head as a teenager. My life was far from perfect. My husband didn’t treat me like a queen. He didn’t give as much love as I gave to him. He didn’t know my fears or dreams or support me in things I dreamed about or wanted to do. He was indifferent.
Having a spouse who is indifferent towards you is not something a “perfect” life is made of.
Like Judd in the movie, I decided I was willing to try difficult and complicated if it meant finding true happiness. I threw away nearly 20 years and walked away from all of it. I deserved better.
The ride through and after divorce isn’t easy. There are days filled with heartbreak, and those days pop up out of the blue. I see the divorce’s negative affect on my kids every day. But I also see the positive affects of the divorce on my kids every day, too.
I hope this complicated, messy life teaches my kids to be brave and stand up for what they deserve. I hope they see that I respected myself enough to walk away from comfortable and I dared reach for the dream of authenticity, honesty, and love. My life is different now. It’s real. It’s honest. It’s goofy and fun. And I know they see the happiness on my face.
If you’re scared to move your life in a “complicated” direction, just stop and think for a moment. Sometimes complicated is exactly what you need.