I’m getting divorced.
If this sounds strange to you, it’s because my husband and I have been separated for nearly eight years. Twice as long as we were a couple. This year would be our 11th wedding anniversary. We’ve been married for more than a third of our lives. We have separate houses and do separate things and have separate dogs and separate thoughts and all the things you have when you’re separate.
I guess when you’re 21 you go into marriage with a hefty dose of naivety. This will work, we’re the exception, it will be different for us. And then you’re 24, and the person you met when you were 19 has disappeared and been replaced by someone you don’t know much at all, someone with a job and a family and a loan, and someone who is stressed and angry and then you are someone else as well, someone who you don’t know much at all, someone with a baby and another baby and a very, very lonely heart.
You see these people in the house, the one you married but don’t know and the one you became but don’t know. You see them in the kitchen and they are shouting at each other, and in the hallway there’s a little girl drawing on the walls and in the bedroom there’s a baby crying and you are 24 years old. You see the person you married but don’t know closing the door in your face (or at least you think it’s your face, or it used to be anyway) and you sit on the couch with your babies who are both crying, and you’re crying, and the house you bought together is crying.
And you try to work it out, you know. The person who used to be you calls your mother and says, I don’t know what to do, I’m so unhappy. And the person who used to be the one you married says, Everything is fine, don’t be silly, you are happy. And you sit in the house you bought together and the walls start to creep in and you kick them and shout and the babies are crying but the walls keep moving and there you are, you’re 24 years old and you’re sitting in a room the size of a shoebox in the house you bought together and you can hear your heart beating on the other side of the wall.
So you leave.
Then you are 31 years old and you know the person you have become and you know the person you married and you like them. Not in a marriage way, but in a fond and familiar way, like you know what they sound like when they come thundering down your hallway, and sometimes you call them when you’re feeling sad and they tell you it’s not all horrible, and you wonder who the two of you were when you were 21 and you got married and thought everything would be just fine, that it would work out, that you were the exception.
And they’re your mate, this person. Your friend.
And the person you were when you met them when you were 19 is not the person who married them when you were 21 is not the person who left them when you were 24 is not the person who is divorcing them when you are 31.
But all those people feel sad. Not regret sad, or mistake sad. Just sad because they each thought they had it figured out. And now you’re getting divorced.