If anyone ever doubted that divorce takes a terrible toll on women and children--both those who chose to divorce and those who had it forced on them--here are some heart-rending posts from the book, What If You Had A Second Chance, originally posted on secretregrets.com.
Secret Regret: The one thing I regret the most was having to leave you behind. You didn't know what was going on, only that we had left. I will never forget the look on your face as we drove away, as you stood there watching us. Somehow, in that instant, I knew that you knew that we would not be back. I'm so sorry that no one cared for you after we left. I know that eventually someone watched over you, but it still broke my heart to hear that you were not eating. I am so sorry that you had to watch as your children were taken from you, against your will, and that you never saw them again. I cannot imagine the pain you felt. I regret that you did not have a better family, one that could take care of you to the end. I regret that you had to die alone without your children nearby. You were the best dog that I will ever have, and I miss you terribly. Wherever you are, I hope you can see this, and know that I wish things could have been different. I wish I could go back in time to have brought you with me. I hope that you know that I loved and still do love you. I regret that my parents had such a nasty divorce, and that you had to bear the consequences as well. It wasn't fair to you. Wherever you are now, know that I will always regret losing my best friend.
Secret Regret: If I had a second chance to do one thing differently in my life, I would most definitely be more concerned about my own welfare and less concerned about everyone else's. I had no idea that my 50-something-year-old husband would visit a divorce lawyer in secret, with a secret credit card after 25 years of marriage. I was a total optimist and had no concrete plans for his disrespectful actions toward me and our children, one of whom is still a teen. I'm glad he's gone now, but what an unpleasant mess that could have been somewhat mitigated if I had actually been less optimistic and more prone to making sure I had my own secrets - like a nice personal bank account.
Secret Regret: I regret not shooting you instead of divorcing you and you using my kids as pawns in your custody war. If I'd shot him I could have proven abuse, and even if I did jail time it wouldn't have been as long as the custody fight was, that our kids were dragged through, and that was engineered by the woman you were cheating with and married. Now that they are grown though, my revenge is that you are still married to her, and are miserable every day of your lives.
Secret Regret: I regret for you. I regret that you chose him over another even when he had hit you. I regret that you didn't divorce him after he cheated on you during your first year of marriage. I regret that a year later you had me and felt that you couldn't get out. I regret that you spent 16 years in what I remember as a hellish nightmare of a marriage for "us" kids, then five more years fighting in divorce court. I hated seeing my beautiful and strong mother sucked dry and aged 15 years. I hate him for what he did to us all and the fact that even though we are all grown up you blame yourself that we all see counselors and are on anti-depressants. I hate that you told me that you wished you had stayed in the marriage because then maybe we wouldn't all be so unhappy. I feel guilty for loving him because he is my father, but I hate and regret that he stole your life and that I know that you have not been truly happy in nearly 20 years. So I regret for you because I wanted to test your love and asked you if you would do it all over again and you said yes just to have us children. I am so sorry Mom, I love you more than anything and I hope that you can start to live your life now and not have any regrets because I have them for you.
Secret Regret: I regret the lying, cheating and most of all the divorce. I didn't know what I had, couldn't appreciate all of the love you showered me with. I regret listening to all of the people who said that I should leave you. Now I am sad every day of my life and you have moved on and started a new family... and my heart is broken and it is my own fault.