Lest I sound cavalier I’ll state for the record – I Never Wanted A Divorce. I wanted a healthy, happy, supportive, productive marriage. I got none of these. After a year and ½ of separation, even though we are no closer to divorce then we were a year ago, I have become an advocate of Divorce, when necessary. It took cancer to get me here, but now that I’ve arrived I see clearly the upside of divorce. The disadvantages are well documented. We all know the economic hit women take, we’ve heard about the damage to our children, we’re aware of the anger and stress divorce creates. And I’ll write about all of this at some point. That day is not today. Today is about the upside of Divorce.
The first question is “When do you know it’s necessary?” I can’t answer that for anyone but myself. I knew it was most likely the answer when 4 attempts at therapy, including 4 different therapists and ministers, led to no change. Part of me understood that those sessions were clear indicators that we could not stay together. There was no middle ground, no give and take, no willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the marriage. During those years I thought that men willing to do those things simply didn’t exist, and that I was the problem in asking these things of him. In some ways it was easier to believe that then to accept the fact that my marriage would never be a happy, healthy union. Who wants to admit to that? Not Me! Not Practically Perfect Me.
One of the lessons I learned from cancer is this: It’s as possible to see the good in a situation as it is to see the bad, if you take the time to look. I have my top ten favorites of cancer, and now I’m writing my top ten advantages of divorce.
Here we go.
10. I no longer have to pretend to enjoy sports. I don’t have to listen to inning by inning playbacks of each baseball game, or play by play of each football game. I can honestly say – I’m not interested in your balls. (games)
9. My kitchen is my own. I no longer pander to his pet peeves about food. I serve as many vegetables as I want, I cook tofu, and I make no apologies for “old people food” (anything cooked in a crock pot). Yes, the kids sometimes complain, but they’re supposed to , right?
8. I make my own financial decisions. I’ve cut expenses like crazy. No more crazy cable bill. I figure I’ve lost ½ of my body parts and my marriage, the kids can lose ESPN! And there is no one whispering “well that’s my friend who we have insurance/maintenance/cable with” . Oh, the power I feel!
7. So much less laundry. And less cleaning, less food shopping, less “negotiating”.
6. Extra closet space. I don’t have a ton of clothes, but what I have can breathe freely. And being a huge anti-clutter freak, I’m a happy girl.
5. I have the bed to myself. Woman going through menopause get this one. No more guilt when I throw off the blankets and turn on the tv during hot flashes. No more nights on the couch because I can’t relax with him next to me. No more fighting over blankets! And my dog can sleep in my bed.
4. Dirty floors & dusty furniture. For the 1st time in 25 years I honestly Don’t Care if my house is dirty.
3. A Lower Grocery bill. Those of you on the brink, or having already made the plunge, know how upsetting it is to have to add shelled peanuts to your grocery list, knowing full well that you’ll be cleaning up all the shells he callously drops on the floor when he’s through eating (while ignoring all else to watch ESPN). I decide what food is in the house, I decide how it gets eaten, prepared and cleaned up.
2. No more awkward in-law family dinners! Not only do I not have to go, I don’t have to get sick to get out of them!
1. No more subtle put-downs. I no longer have to undo his latest quip, presented “innocently”, but designed to cut to the core of my being while undermining my confidence in front of the kids. Not only am I not being bombarded by subtle digs and put downs, but my kids are hearing them only 1 day a week, making my clean up easier and effective. Even in my darkest of moments my self esteem and personal sense of well being are the best they’ve been since 1986.
Yes, I am sad, scared and worried. But I’m also happy, healthy and more in control then I’ve been in 25 years.
I’ll take that.
PS: I now have the cat I could never have because he was allergic. She’s the best!