Happy New Year
One problem with waiting so long to update this website is that I am never sure, when I finally bite the bullet, where I should begin. Since this was, or nominally is, a divorce blog, should I start with the news on that front?
There isn’t any. Truly. I have nothing to say. This is quite wonderful when you think about it: I remember when I gnashed my teeth about the divorce more or less continually, and it was exhausting and tiresome, and when I wasn’t actively gnashing I was begging someone to tell me when–whether–the dreadful feelings would end. Friends, I am here to report that divorce is just like anything else you do long enough. Eventually, you get used to it.
Would you believe that I hardly interact with my ex-husband any more? That I don’t talk to him much, that I go entire days without even thinking about him? All that rage and guilt and sadness seems either to have evaporated or to have been absorbed. (It has occurred to me, actually, that maybe I’m just some creature tempered in bitterness now. How could all those bad feelings, all those bad years, simply dissipate? Surely they’ve left their mark. But even if I am nothing more than the sum of all past nastiness, I’m used to THAT now. I’ve acclimated. I can’t quite remember what I used to be like, and that–I won’t lie–is extraordinarily restful. Who cares whence this peace comes?)
There are fewer kid issues to transact now that the big one has gone off to college, fewer games or plays or what have you for both parents to attend. The switch from one house to another is accomplished via my son’s school–on Wednesday afternoons he goes straight home to his dad, and comes back to me either Friday or Monday, depending whose weekend it is. My ex-husband and I scarcely email. There’s seldom much reason to text. Moreover, he lives much farther away now, which is (as I feared) inconvenient if cleats or piano music or shinguards are forgotten, but the hassle is totally worth it. Had I known how amazing it is, having him forty-five minutes away on the other side of the world, I’d never have complained, not for a second. Whole days go by during which I hardly even remember he exists.
But the big change, of course, is that he’s remarried. His whole center of gravity has shifted, and he has a whole new life. A whole new life is a big deal for anyone, but I think it’s a bigger deal for my ex-husband, whose particular personality changes so much depending on whom he’s attached to. He was a lot like me when he was married to me; now he’s a lot like someone else. When he was a kid he worshipped his older brother and wanted to be just like him. In college, before we met, he had a girlfriend for three years; while they were together, he wanted to be just like her. At our wedding, his mother made a long toast about how surprised she had been to get letters from so far afield from her homebody son; this was me, of course, rubbing off on him.
This is why we got along. (Not the ONLY reason why, of course.) I’m bossy and pushy and overwhelming, and he’s delighted to be bossed, pushed, overwhelmed. His new wife–his wife, I should say, not “new” wife, just wife, no need to qualify–is now his reference point. Everyone changes over time, and everyone changes in relationships, but he has truly shed whatever past we had together, shuffled it off in favor of a brand new life. He’s someone different now. I don’t feel I know him any more. Which is wonderful. I devoted a huge amount of mental space to thinking about him, while we were together and while we were apart, and now that space is mine again. How odd it is to say this–there are many times I can hardly remember what it was like to be married to him.
Actually I can’t quite remember what it was like to be married to anyone, in all honesty. I’ve been separated for seven years now. I never even think about it. It seems completely normal to me to run my own show. That horrible postapocalyptic loneliness I thought would never go away? It went away. And I don’t feel so angry and guilty any more about the breakup, either. I don’t feel like I have to blame or excoriate my ex-husband, even privately. We had some good times together, some very good years. We were actually in love once, and I can remember it without feeling the need to sharpen my teeth. Having a life without him has made me much more serene about the life I had with him.
So, you know, I’m not constantly updating this website with all my really important thoughts about divorce, because these days I don’t really have any. But isn’t that a relief? Isn’t it good to hear? When I first separated, all I wanted was to believe that I’d make it through. I tried and tried to remind myself that billions of people get divorced, that it’s boring and commonplace, that they survived and that I would too. And look what happened!
I feel like it’s such a good place to close the blog, but I’m not going to. I’ll post from time to time–I feel guilty about not posting more, but honestly, I don’t have that much to say. But there’s this: Almost every day some poor soul reads the whole blog from start to finish, according to the stats WordPress provides, and I’m moved by this…some poor divorced or about-to-divorce woman who found her way here. I was that woman once, up late in the guest bedroom, miserably Googling.
Now I’m someone else.