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The loneliness of divorce

December 11, 2012

Lest I give the impression it’s all skittles and beer since I cantered gleefully away from my marriage, this morning I woke in my perfect little new house, after a lovely long weekend spent with my boyfriend, sans any of our children, during which we went to a movie and ate in a restaurant and went to a party and read side by side and walked hand in hand through an art museum, and I felt like utter hell.

I’ve got too much to do, but who doesn’t? I’m not ready (and by “not ready” I mean “not started getting ready”) for Christmas, but who is? I’ve got financial issues to cope with, phone calls to make, letters to write, emails to return…but who, I ask you, does not?

This morning it struck me that I miss being married terribly.  Suddenly I am acutely aware that I am aloooooooone in the world, great howling self-indulgent aloooooooone, and it’s my kids and my life and my Xmas obligations and my work and there is no one who is on my team. That’s what you lose when you get divorced. Even if I remarried, it wouldn’t be the same. My boyfriend and I have each come too far separately to really share in each others’ burdens, and we have no common burdens.  My children are mine and his are his, my house and finances and life are mine, my ex-husband is mine, my parents are mine, and he has his own version of each. If (oh, let’s just say, because this is how morbid I feel today) one of my children got sick and died, it would be my sadness, not a sadness he could really understand or appreciate. And so forth.

When you end a marriage you do cut some fundamental cord that can’t be reattached. I don’t miss my ex-husband himself, not at all, but there will never be anyone LIKE him, for me, again.
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22 Comments leave one →
  1. Jo_K permalink
    December 11, 2012 10:12 am

    thank you so much for voicing what i’ve been trying to find a way to say for months; all that sorrow and burden still in the midst of happy new (1 year) boyfriend bliss… and generally healthy happy kids. hope your to do list lightens. that we know, will.

  2. December 11, 2012 10:37 am

    I have nothing of worth to add but feel like a post this good should not go without comment. So I’ll just state again that you are a damn good writer and leave it at that.

  3. December 11, 2012 10:55 am

    Truthfully said and beautifully written.

  4. December 11, 2012 11:01 am

    How ironic. Just last night I was saying something very similar to another divorced friend. Hope your to-do list shortens quickly!

  5. December 11, 2012 11:40 am

    Oh love. Hugs from London. xx

  6. December 11, 2012 1:27 pm

    a few months ago, I ended up in the ER- nothing serious, but having recently separated from my husband, I went alone and sat there and cried b/c I had to be there by myself as a single woman. That feeling of ‘in it together’ is very powerful and is something I miss terribly. As you said, I do not miss my ex so much, but being married is something I miss all the time. I often wonder if i will ever have that safe and secure feeling back- I imagine things will be different moving forward in future relationships, for both better and worse.
    thank you for these words.

  7. SarahB permalink
    December 11, 2012 1:31 pm

    A friend just lost her husband in a car accident this weekend, and I cannot imagine how empty and lonely her life and house must feel right now. My husband and I have been gentler with each other sense, and I am so shaken right now.

  8. December 11, 2012 1:59 pm

    This is monstrously selfish of me, but I refuse to believe it. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that I can’t face that what you write is true. I need to think that your life will become just as intertwined with another’s someday. I don’t mean to dismiss your life as it is now. I’m sure your boyfriend is wonderful and most of the time you seem to thrive on your own. I admire the hell out of you. But I need to be with another person so desperately that I can’t let myself think it would never be the same if my husband and I split-and we have come damn close.

    All that said your post was haunting and real and true in a way that pierces the reader’s heart (or, um, makes them bury their head in the sand). Please write a book.

  9. December 11, 2012 2:09 pm

    The real advantage of the Christmas season is that come January 2, it’s over. Small comfort now. But really – the loneliness is always there, even in marriage (I may have a teammate for my children team, but my main teammate isn’t on my parent team – when they die, he’ll be bummed, but I’ll be broken). It’s mostly Christmas that pushes us over the goddamn edge.

  10. Kristen permalink
    December 11, 2012 5:27 pm

    This resonated so much with me. It’s hard to explain to well meaning friends that the father of your child is the only one who cares that she went poop on the potty and it’s extraordinarily lonely to realize that you have no one to tell your stories too. A boyfriend, even a new husband, won’t have that connection. I don’t know that any amount of time will change that. And that is disheartening to think about.
    Just know that you might be aloooooone in the world, but you’re not alone alone world. So many of us can relate.

  11. telechick permalink
    December 11, 2012 7:42 pm

    I can relate on a slightly different level. Since my husband died one of the hardest things to deal has been the loss of our shared history, which is basically my whole history from the past 8 yrs. There is no longer anyone but me who remembers when X happened or who laughs at the stupid commercial because it reminds us of that time or whatever the case may be. I still have those memories, but it’s just not the same without the person you created them with – no one else cares or can relate the way they did.

    I do think that if you or I were to remarry that we’d make new memories and share common burdens with our new partner – not the ones we’re currently dealing with or from before – they’re ours alone now, but the new ones that come with any marriage. I do hope that I have this chance again some day, because while there are definite freedoms to being unmarried, I deeply miss being part of a team.

  12. December 12, 2012 11:43 am

    Amazingly eloquent & profound…
    “My boyfriend and I have each come too far separately to really share in each others’ burdens, and we have no common burdens.” Substitute “2nd husband” for BF & I feel much the same.

  13. Tricia permalink
    December 12, 2012 12:00 pm

    Love your honesty and the way you can just get straight to the heart of a matter in your writing.

  14. Christa. permalink
    December 13, 2012 12:54 am

    I think that maybe when your children fly the nest, you might feel differently. I parted from the father of my children 2 years ago, after 27 years. We never married (just a bit of paper as far as I’m concerned) and our ‘children’ are now almost 22 and 25. I don’t miss him in the slightest, but I was sad that were no longer a family. However, I met someone new and got married a few months ago (we had to: we lived in different countries and it was the only way for us to be together). I have to say that it has made a tremendous difference to making me feel less ‘alone’ and I do feel that I have an ally against the world. Everything changes when your children are completely independent. Good luck! x

  15. Christa. permalink
    December 13, 2012 12:56 am

    Oops …..that we are no longer a family.

  16. helenbalcony permalink
    December 13, 2012 5:42 am

    But was your ex really on your team? I thought the problem was that he wasn’t, really.

    • Rachel permalink
      December 14, 2012 11:27 am

      That is an excellent point, and one I need to keep in mind as well as I deal with the loneliness of the season.

  17. Stephanie Donkers permalink
    December 19, 2012 6:44 pm

    My children are 3 and 8 and Christmas is certainly hard. I think it would be much easier to have a boyfriend but I know I’m not ready because I need to share my burdens and can’t put this on someone else. My ex is already engaged. Some days I think he still misses me – that’s what makes it the hardest.

  18. Amanda permalink
    January 7, 2013 5:26 pm

    As others have said- perfect. While we did not have kids, and this is our second Christmas not being married, it sucks. It just does. I know others have to deal with this feeling for reasons much worse than a divorce the feelings are still there. I have a great life and a boyfriend of a year and a half. It still feels like things will never be like they were with my EX. No matter, no matter who with, it just won’t!

  19. January 17, 2013 2:51 pm

    This was a very insightful post. You managed to capture the feelings so well …. that no-one else can ever share with you the past in the same way and this is one of the great losses in divorce.

  20. June 4, 2013 10:59 pm

    I know so well the loneliness of divorce–and also the extreme pain of having been deceived by the person you trusted the most. I recently posted about the hurt and anger I feel:

    http://livinginsplitsville.com/2013/06/03/the-post-in-which-i-say-f-ck-it/

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