I grew up the child of divorced parents, and I was always resolute that I was NEVER going to be that person. I was NEVER EVER EVER getting divorced (perhaps, I am the original Taylor Swift). It was NOT an option.
Hindsight is 20/20 is a cliched expression that rings true in this situation. Looking back, the real problem was that I married someone that I would not have been able to be happy with long term. I know how ridiculous that sounds. WHY would you marry someone if they weren’t right for you? Trust me, I understand how idiotic that seems. I suppose if there was a giant billboard that listed all the ways that we were incompatible or all the red flags that I had chosen to ignore, I wouldn’t have been able to ostrich myself into thinking that things would be okay.
Don’t get me wrong, my ex-husband isn’t a monster. He really is a wonderful father to Pickle, and I am glad that she has a dad that loves and wants to spend time with her. However, we were fire and gasoline. Out of respect to him, to our daughter, and frankly, because it’s not really information that I feel anyone needs to know – I will spare you all the specifics as to what transpired to bring about the end of our marriage. What I want to really talk about is making that choice, and the aftermath.
The day I decided that it was over, I was resolute. I had been so stubborn in trying to think that I could change him into the man that I needed, I had refused to admit defeat. I came to a startling realization at one point that I didn’t even really like him as a person. I remember justifying his rather polarizing personality to one of my friends by saying, “He kind of grows on you. Like a fungus.” LIKE A FUNGUS. Why I went ahead and married him I will never really be able to explain. I think I was afraid to call everything off, afraid of how that would look, and maybe, just maybe, he would grow out of all the qualities that I didn’t like. Shocker, I know… he didn’t change.
I think that in many ways I tried to force him to make the decision to leave, to let HIM be the “bad guy” instead of just rationalizing that we were never going to work. We were two people with very different ideas of what our partners should be, and neither of us were ever going to fit the mold that the other had created in their minds.
I wish that I could say that we have one of those glorious Hollywood divorces where we claim to be the best of friends and we have a fantastic relationship, but I can’t. No “conscious uncouplings” and other annoying statements. And you know, I really don’t want that. I don’t want to be friends with him. I have zero desire to socialize with him and his wife. It’s weird. But there are moments that I wish I could just let go of all the bitterness and anger, but I’ve never been the kind of person who can just let things go easily. When I am hurt, I feel that deeply, and it is a very rare occurrence for me to be able to forgive to the point that a positive relationship can exist. Hello, my name is Erin and I carry a grudge like a sherpa carries gear up a mountain. So, I do my best to be civil. Sometimes I fail. Shit happens.
I do try to keep the peace for Pickle’s sake. She didn’t ask to be the child of divorced parents, and I don’t want her to deal with tension or animosity between Mr. Bee and I. We try to be the best parents we can be to her, even if that occurs in two separate households. We separated just after her third birthday, so fortunately, she doesn’t really remember when we lived as a family under one roof, and she doesn’t usually complain about having to go back and forth between the two.
If anything, my divorce was like the PSAT (does the PSAT even exist anymore?). I was able to have one go round to figure out the areas that I needed to improve and work on those before taking the REAL test. I certainly learned some valuable things about life and love from that first marriage. More than anything else, I learned that divorce doesn’t make me a failure. Staying in an unhappy marriage for the wrong reasons would have been a failure.
Life is full of moments where you make the wrong decision, the key is what you do once you know that happened. I spent a few months thinking that my life was over after we decided to get a divorce. I felt like the biggest loser on the planet. But then I realized that I had a second chance. That through that pain I was getting a second chance at making the RIGHT decisions, BETTER decisions. And THAT’S a freaking gift!