Posted on | April 29, 2014 | 5 Comments
If I’m being totally honest, the first time my ex-husband told me he was dating someone, I wanted to rip all her hair out and feed it to him in bitter, heaping spoonfuls. Granted, we hadn’t been divorced but for about six months, but still. It was a rage like I’d really never really felt before; a “how DARE he” sort of disbelief mixed with heartache and a little bit of competition. I wanted to be the first to move on, you know… to really stick it to him that I was done with him, and the fact that he’d moved on so much faster made me think maybe the real problem in our marriage was… well…
Because if he’d found love again and I hadn’t… didn’t that mean that I was the unlovable one? Didn’t it mean that the person who just couldn’t be in a relationship was me?!
It took a long time not to feel that way about the woman he was seeing and not to want to claw his skin off when I saw him or heard him talk about her. I couldn’t listen to songs we’d listened to together. I couldn’t think about the fact that he probably said the same things to her, sang the same songs, gave the same looks. I just couldn’t fathom that I would ever get to a point when he wouldn’t be everywhere.
And if you’re going through divorce, or have recently gone through divorce, you probably understand exactly what I’m talking about. It’s like your ex-spouse is haunting you but in the worst ways… he is living, breathing, and moving on from you while you are still sitting around wondering how you ended up here, who you are without him, and where to go from this place you find yourself. And you’re pissed and heartbroken and violently shuddering with the unfairness of the whole world around you.
This morning, I turned on an old Spotify mix I made when I was married called “Rainy Days.” One by one the songs trickled by and without even realizing what was happening, I found myself singing along to an old Ryan Adams song. It’s a good song. He’s a great artist. But for several years, I wasn’t even able to hear one note of a Ryan Adams song without wanting to throw things at my ex-husband and rail against the world for the fact that I was divorced.
When you’re in the thick of it, divorce just feels like everything. It’s a thick, scratchy blanket that is tossed over your head and it smells like him… the ex who is no more. It keeps you from seeing or smelling or even sensing anything other than the loss of him… the absence and yet presence of the person you were tied to in holy or not-so-holy matrimony. It’s hard to believe it when people tell you that you will breathe again and the air will not taste stale with his memory.
But believe me. I have been there. I have wallowed in the misery and the angst and the questions and the “TURN THIS SONG OFF BEFORE I THROW UP.” And it doesn’t just get better… it gets amazing.
I could have never imagined I’d be as happy as I am now. I could have never imagined I would have my ex-husband and his girlfriend to my house for J’s birthday party. I could have never imagined I would be in a relationship so sound and strong that my marriage feels like a momentary flash of something sweet and sour that is but a distant memory. I could have never imagined I would listen to Ryan Adams again without wanting to punch a hole in the wall… but this morning I did. Twice.
So for all of my women (and men) who are struggling through what I went through… take heart. Take deep breaths. And take my word that you will blossom and bloom into your truest self the moment you are able to breathe again.
And your life… and you… will be more beautiful than you can imagine.
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