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On the Eve of My Upcoming Divorce

And then, at 4:16 a.m., I sent a goodbye letter to my soon to be ex-husband.

My heart broke more with each word I typed. Earlier, I had felt so tired, but I don’t think sleep will be coming anytime soon. These tears, though, they won’t stop flowing. So effortlessly. “If only I had loved you more” keeps going over and over in my head. But I didn’t.

This might be the largest mistake I’ll ever make as an adult. Aside from what led us here. Everyday, I will regret letting my husband go, I think. I keep listening to "Landslide," the song has a whole new meaning. I’ve built my life around my husband, err, ex-husband. For the last few months, I’ve been trying to take down each brick carefully and so that I can start to rebuild on my own.

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I haven’t gotten very far. I keep giving up and hoping that something will change. It hasn’t. I’ve questioned if I was going to be OK, if I would survive this. I’ve stared at myself in the mirror and whispered, “You’re going to be okay. You will be just fine. One step at a time.”

I consider us the lucky ones. Our conversations about separating and divorce have been so loving and kind. So considerate. We’ve tried to figure out a schedule that will best support each other and our children. Our love for each other still runs very deep. I don’t think we could lead a life without each other being apart of it in some way. I can’t count the times we’ve cried together, wishing that things were different, that pieces weren’t so broken and far past repair. All my ideas of marriage and divorce have since flown out the window. I had no idea that there would be a point where you just can’t go back. Even with that realization, there is a love we hold onto for the other.

Yet, when I called my dad to let him know that we were moving forward with our divorce, he began to tell me that I was going to fail on my own. He let me know how ashamed of me he was. That I was trying to abandon my family. I explained endlessly that Leif and I would in no way become less of a family because of this. A different family unit, yes, but we wouldn’t cease to be one.

But to this day, I take full responsibility and have so much respect and appreciation for how my husband did handle my affair.

My parents are about 40 years older than me and devout Christians. I was raised as a Christian as well, so I understand the disdain for divorce. The Bible is specific about it, “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery,” Matthew 5:32. Well, adultery was involved, on my part, not my husband's. My dad tells me I can’t be the only one who can take responsibility, that it takes two.

But to this day, I take full responsibility and have so much respect and appreciation for how my husband did handle my affair. With grace and love. Never with judgment.

My dad doesn’t care about any of this. He cares about what the Bible says and insists that I will lose everything, because I’m trying to create my own rules for life. Our conversation shocked me because we’ve always had a very good relationship. My dad has always supported me and been the parent that has been the most open to things. Hearing him tell me that I needed a man to survive, that I needed to be a good wife and “fix” things, was so hard to stomach. It was as if he didn’t notice any growth that has happened in me over the last 7 years of my life and marriage. That he hasn’t seen me grow a business while being a stay-at-home mom. He’s ignored the fact that I’ve kept a household running, while working over 40 hours a week. All of the things I never thought I could do. But I’ve proven myself wrong.

If my dad had told me this two years ago, I would have been covered in guilt. I would have believed him and decided to stay in a marriage where two people can’t take it any longer. I would have never stood up for myself and declared, “I am a strong enough person to go through this. I am beyond capable,” when my dad let me know he didn’t think I was strong enough because I was a woman.

This feels like the end, but it's only the end of a chapter. This story of mine still has many chapters to go.

In that moment, I was so proud of myself. I don’t think I heard the words my dad kept coming at me. All I could replay was me standing up for myself, as a woman, making it known that I will indeed get through this. I don’t doubt how hard it will be, the changing of my life so drastically. The loss of my best friend who I’ve shared everything with. I believe this will be a challenge. But, in my deepest of hearts, I also know and believe that I will be just fine.

Maybe it's my fault for never sharing with my parents the journey I’ve had over the last few years — the journey of self-discovery and acceptance. Maybe if I had let them know how hard I’ve worked at loving myself. They have no idea how many times I’ve failed, but then tried again the next day. Even so, they’re my family, and I turned to them for support and love.

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So, tonight, while I lay wide awake, I choose to listen to myself, love myself and find comfort in the strength I know I have. I never saw myself in this place; I’m not sure anyone ever does. But I’m here. And if I’m going to do this, I’m going to try to do this with an open heart and mind. I’m choosing to listen to my almost ex-partner and his needs. I’m going to listen to my own needs. This feels like the end, but it's only the end of a chapter. This story of mine still has many chapters to go. I hope my parents see this one day.

I already see it.

Image by Margaret Jacobsen

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