As much as I try to forget, the memories of that awful March night stay with me. My soon to be ex had moved out three months prior, and as I sat hunched on the black Ikea couch, every sound, every movement, every breath reminded me of the marriage’s demise and the crumbling of a life I thought I knew. What had seemed like a lifetime before, we had maneuvered that couch into a rental pickup truck the second weekend were were married, dodging the California 101’s traffic, speeding to beat the rain–the same kind that beat down against the blackened DC sky.
He and I were still fighting over everything–the savings accounts, credit card debt, custody of the dogs. My work, which I had hoped I could throw myself into during the process, had become a mess of my own doing. Two months before, I had slept with a higher-ranking co-worker who had separated from his spouse around the same time I’d separated from mine, and in the depths of my despair and starvation for intimacy and validation, I had thrown myself into a secret relationship with him. A part of me knew it would only make my divorce matters worse, but in my emotional mess I had convinced myself that it was meant to be–that we would be each others’ rock and whether the storm together.
Until I found out about his girlfriend who was half his age.
That betrayal only added fuel to the emotional fire, and I blindly pursued the salve to that burn–more recently, with a neighbor who had also separated from his spouse. His passion had awakened a side of me I thought had disappeared forever, and I believed him when he said, after three weeks, that he loved me and wanted to be with me.
Until he returned to Oklahoma to reunite with his wife.
The assaults had come from all fronts as I writhed in a pain unlike any I had ever experienced. As Sara MacClaughlin crooned through my Pandora stream, the wind blew and the lights flickered. The dogs curled up to me, Peanut nestling her spotted beagle body in my lap and Oliver’s shaggy spaniel head resting on my leg as he looked up with concern. They must have sensed things were wrong, doing all they could to comfort me.
I was drowning in dark waters–ones I would never escape from, never see the light again, and I was desperate for anything that would make the pain stop.
You may have felt like this, too. When the confusion and pain you can’t articulate devours you, despite your best efforts to carry on like you’ve got everything under control, fighting the urge to scream or sob or collapse that surprises you at times least expected–at work microwaving your lunch, putting the weights away at the gym, picking up milk at the grocery store. Hell, you may be there right now, desperately searching for answers that you may never find.
“Why did he just leave, after 18 years together?”
“I did everything I could to provide for this family, with all the sacrifices I made. How can she tell me she wants a divorce?”
“I don’t understand how they became such a different person. Where is the person I married?”
It’s impossible to see any kind of rescue boat when you’re in pain–impossible to see all the things you have the power to do for yourself when you are in the depths of your despair.
I want to speak with you about the tools you already have that can get you through this awful time. There is no single silver bullet that will assuage your despair or calm the anxiety you feel with this divorce. But there are systems that you integrate into your daily life–they will guide you when you are hurting.
That night, I must have dozed off. I remember waking up, bleary eyed with an aching neck, at about 4:00 in the morning when a phrase from a high school literature class popped into my head. I think it was from Robert Louis Stevenson, and it went along the lines of, “Despair not. But if you must, work on in your despair.”
You have the power to do the same, but I want to make it easier for you. Instead of struggling with learning how to manage the constant flow of finances, custody battles, emotional roller-coasters, conflicting advice from friends, family, coworkers all by yourself, I want to help you.
This website is about helping you find and implement that structure that will help you made those practical decisions in a time when raw emotion consumes you. Together we can create those systems that will remove the pressure from you, so you can focus on the healing.
Check back on the blog soon for additional guidance, or, better yet, sign up for the newsletter and you’ll receive instant access to the basic practical roadmap for healing.
Remember, you don’t have to navigate the waters alone. WIth time, you too can work on in your despair and emerge stronger that you could ever imagine. This website will show you how.
How to Be Kind to Yourself When You’re Scared Shitless and Dating Again
How to Approach Your Divorce