The Alone-ness of Divorce
The alone-ness of divorce isn’t something anyone bothered to tell me about. Maybe I didn’t ask, maybe I didn’t listen, maybe I didn’t want to know. Maybe I am the only one who feels it.
Divorce is strange. When you first publicly say to your friends “I have chosen to get divorced”, their first question tends to be “Why?” When you start to explain, you realize from the look on their faces and in their eyes, that they don’t really want to know. There is a definite “uncomfortable-ness” in the air as the reasons you are now stating for your choice may be ringing a little too true to their ears, causing them to question themselves and their own marriages. The truth of what you are saying could be too hard to hear. It doesn’t take long to realize that, although these people are and have been your friends for many years, things are now different. This equates to “alone-ness." Understandable alone-ness, of course, but alone-ness nonetheless.
Once you are divorced and are at an event with friends who are couples, everyone realizes that you aren’t “paired” with someone, making for an uncomfortable situation. Again, a sense of alone-ness.
At some point, you realize that you are the ONLY person parenting your children. You are the one who takes them to the doctor, the dentist, the orthodontist, dance practice, football games. You realize that you have no one to share these duties with. You are ‘alone’ with the responsibility of raising your children. Alone.
Then the kids leave for a weekend visitation with their other parent. You are so exhausted from all the overwhelming demands of ‘alone’ parenting that the idea of going anywhere, keeping up a conversation with any other adult, actually getting dressed in something other than pajamas sends you into a hyperventilating tail spin so you curl up with a book and a glass of wine and stay home…alone.
You have no other adult to talk with, share your day with, your thoughts, your dreams, the super funny stuff your kids say, so you spend hours composing blog posts, hoping someone will reach out to you, communicate with you, connect with you, take away some of this alone-ness.
And then at some point, you realize nothing has really changed in your life since the divorce anyway. While married you didn’t talk about the disaster of a marriage you were in with your friends because it was too humiliating; you didn’t attend social engagements with the person you were married to because they would get horribly drunk and it was embarrassing; you were the only parent raising those kids while being married, the only one taking them to the doctor, the dentist, the orthodontist, the practices; you rarely ever got dressed because you had no reason to; you poured your heart out through the art of creating books and stories for your children filled with your thoughts of them, your dreams for them, the super funny stuff they did and said knowing that someday, after you were gone, they would look back and remember just how much you loved them. All that time, you were already alone.
Except now, you are no longer waiting for that other shoe to drop when the back door opens at the end of the work day; you are no longer listening to someone tell you that your thoughts and feelings don’t matter; you are no longer questioning if everything that comes out of another person’s mouth is a lie because you already know it is; you are no longer thinking that maybe you are the one who is wrong, or difficult, or insane.
So, you say "It’s ok, I can do alone. Alone by myself is still better than alone in an unhealthy marriage. It’s ok."
There is definitely alone-ness in divorce.
This article previously appeared on The Good Men Project.