Last August, I am packing, looking forward to a family vacation -- divorce is nowhere on the horizon. Two days later, I am on that family vacation clear in my mind and body that I need to get a divorce.
The shift from being a married woman to a woman who wants a divorce happened so fast I almost didn't believe it. My marriage had not been easy, but I had accepted our dynamic (save a few intolerable things). I am not someone who regularly thought of divorce nor was I someone who thought I would ever get divorced. To the contrary, I was a little self-righteous about staying married through all that my husband and I had been through.
The December before, one of the worst parts of our marriage flared up and I said I couldn't do it any more. I didn't use the word divorce, but was clear that this part of our marriage was so bad that I wouldn't/couldn't stay if it continued. Then in August, it flared again. Without missing a beat, at a cellular level, I was done. I had made a commitment to myself that I wasn't even conscious of and my body was keeping it for me.
I am a planner. I think through details, angles and logistics. This inside-shift inside was none of these things. There was no pro and con list, there was no market survey to see what guys might be available to date, I hadn't reviewed the economics of divorce. I had no plan B.
I was scared, terrified really. I built this entire life, two kids, a home, a rhythm -- and I was going to blow it up. My rational side slowed me down a bit. I took a deep breath and took a hard look at my marriage for two months. I got honest with a couple of friends about what was really going on. I built a team. I watched my husband. I wanted to be sure this wasn't just a mood but an actual shift.
Sure enough, over the course of two months, I never shifted back. Instead, it was like a light went on in my life. Every step, every day, it seemed to validate the decision to leave the marriage. I began to feel alive in a way that I hadn't in a long time. I felt hopeful and optimistic about the direction of my life.
While the shift inside was clear it did not make the decision easy or painless. The build up to asking my husband for a divorce and the weeks (months) following were heart wrenching and some of the most painful times of my life to date. The grief surrounding the ending of my marriage has been confusing and messy - I'm still in it.
As I head towards Mediation in 30 days I'm reflecting on my decision to get divorced and the process to emerge peaceful and whole on the other side.