I’ve started watching Grace and Frankie and I’ve already cried and laughed a thousand times. The series, that shows the story of two ladies in their 70s who face divorce after their husbands reveal they have been having an affair, made me revisit a lot of feelings I’ve faced due to my own separation. So I decided to list them. Who knows, maybe you’ve bem going through the same…
The first thing I felt after the separation was decided was losing my reference. For years, that marriage had been the most important thing in my life. It was my gravital center, that family I had started. Then it was over. What now? I had no plan B….
Then comes the fear. A lot of questions pop in your mind: where am I going to live? What’s my daily life gonna be like now? Will I feel terribly lonely every night? Who’ll remain friends with me and who will choose to be only his? How’s next Christmas gonna be like? How will it feel to be single again? At the time the decision is made, none of these questions have an answer. There’s also that apprehension regarding your loved ones’ reactions. How will I give the news to my family? What will people say? Will anyone treat me unkindly? I’d love to say that I couldn’t care less about what people think about me, but the truth is it does affect me, and the expectation about people’s reaction did make me anxious. Some were very comprehensive and kind, but others reacted badly, said the wrong things and I found it really stressful to deal with them in such a sensitive state.
There’s a feeling of grief. No matter who asked for the divorce, if you broke up in good terms or nort, if you think it was the right decision or not; there’s a deep sorrow for the love that once existed, the relationship that once was beautiful and that now is dead. It’s really a grief feeling… Every end to a love story is sad.
Then anger quicks in. You get angry about your ex, about the things he did or didn’t do. And then, you get angry about yourself. How did I let things get to this point? How did I not see this coming? How did I get myself into this situation? How come I didn’t notice things back when we were dating and avoided the whole drama? What have I done with my life?? You get angry and those who think they’re marriage gurus and think they know the formula to never ending marriages, for making you feel like a failure (although you know they have no idea of what went on in your relationship to point fingers). You get angry at fate, at all the changes both wen through the last years that contributed for the end of the relationship. You get angry for having to go through all of this bad moment.
I was part of a couple for almost 10 years. All of a sudden, there’s an extra place at the Sunday family dinner. There’s no “your side of the bed” anymore. You feel misplaced going out with a lot of couples… But you don’t feel too comfortable around single people either. It’s an in-between situation, a transition period that’s soaked in that misplacement feeling.
So much changes in our lives when we separate. And on top of all the effort you do to adapt to the new reality, and having to deal with all those feelings, you have to deal with you loved ones feelings – some of them do not realize, but make it harder for us. And then you realize you’re exhausted. Totally drained of your energy. Exhausted from crying, feeling sad, telling the same story over and over again. Sometimes, all you really need is sometime alone with a couch, some beer and Netflix.
At some point, after the initial shock and the darkest days, hope comes into the picture. You realize the world hasn’t ended, we haven’t died, the show went on. We find out there’s life after divorce. That our marriage wasn’t the only thing in our lives, as we thought. You’r not someone’s wife anymore, but you’re someone’s daughter, sister, niece, employee, blogger, neighbour, friend, acquaintance. .. Family and friends show how essential they are in our lives and give us love and support, shelter, time, housing, food, company to go to the movies. We get closer to people who went through the same process and find out it is possible to make a new happy life, that it is ok to feel the way we do, and that after winter, must come spring.
When we’re feeling a little less horrible, we can see that divorce comes with some freedom. There are those subtle freedoms, like being able to do something you had quit because it annoyed your ex. Leaving your shoes on the leaving room, buying superfluous expensive things without having to discuss it with anyone, go out without having to negotiating and not having to be home at a certain hour. But there’s a more profound and significant freedom: we find ourselves free from the same old fights, the same old conflicts. When we’re married, we do all we can to make the relationship work, and that can be hard. Separating is never the first choice and we fight till the last breath to stay together. But once the marriage is over, that burden, that struggle is also over. It’s a light feeling…
It sounds cliche, but truth is, you feel grateful. For all the good things you two lived together, when the relation was still good, and also for the ending of something that wasn’t doing the two of you any good. Today, I can look back and acknowledge a lot of good things my marriage allowed me. Specially after a few months separated, after living new good experiences, I can feel even more grateful. Of course that doesn’t erase all these other feelings, but it feels good to have gratitude in the mix to balance for all the bad vibes.
If anyone out there is going through a though separation moment and want to share your feelings, please leave a comment <3. Picture: from here.