Tell Me This Will Get Easier

I’m having a bit of a meltdown this morning. The reality is hitting me that I must file for a divorce and go through with it, but I’m so very afraid. I want to believe that I am strong enough to get through this, but I have so many doubts.

In a perfect world, we could agree to do this in a respectful way, if for no other reason than for the benefit of our children, but I know divorce is never completely peaceful.

I used to never use the word “divorce” when Gil and I argued, but in the past year or so I’ve said it plenty of times, so whether he wants to believe it or not, he won’t be blindsided when and if I go through with it. However, I have not told anyone in my day-to-day world that this is a legitimate possibility. I’ve shared more with a couple of friends who live far away from us — high school and college friends that I only see once a year or so, but even they don’t know everything. I’m at a point where I need some real support from friends who live near me. This is where things get very complicated. Our worlds intersect so much, and we have many mutual friends, and I am so afraid to put this out there to people. My closest friend who is local loves Gil, loves the two of us together, and she has listened to my marital struggles for years, but I’ve held back telling her everything. I have a hard time knowing how much to share. It’s like the cardinal rule when you’re a teenager: Don’t tell your parents all the awful stuff about your boyfriend when you break up, because if you ever decide to get back together, while you can forgive and forget, your parents will hate him forever. I even hold back with my therapist, though I suspect she knows I’m nearing my limit. Even she has said how much she likes both of us as a couple. While hearing good things about the two of us is flattering, it also feels like pressure to live up to expectations. I mean, the reality is that we both have a lot of love for each other. I will always love Gil. I just don’t know how to make a life with him anymore. We want very different things, or maybe we don’t, but we’re really bad at making a life together. I push, he withdraws. He withdraws, I push harder. This was our dance for years, but I’ve been gradually withdrawing since the kids came along. I just don’t have the emotional energy to pull out his feelings so we can hash things out. He’s fine with pretending everything’s okay until I push just enough and then he blows. Honestly, since his dad died, his behavior is downright scary and intimidating, and I just avoid him and his hot buttons. But, this pattern has hurt me tremendously. I’m not a good pretender, and I miss having a partner, and he just doesn’t want to deal with me and anything involving feelings. Plus, he would rather me just handle stuff. There’s no dialogue anymore — not even about the kids.

So, I want to be able to tell my friends point-blank that we’re getting a divorce. I want them to know that I need support but that I will not tolerate them saying bad things about Gil. Is it crazy that I feel this way? Why do I still care about his feelings? I’ve begged him to try marriage counseling, and over and over he’s told me that the only problem in our marriage is me — basically, he feels that I need to change and just be happy the way things are. This is a simplified snippet, but that’s the gist. I just don’t want to live through war. I don’t want to hurt him by making our friends hate him. The biggest thing holding me back is that I’m afraid of what filing for divorce will do to him. I have a box full of coping tools. Granted, I don’t always select the best one, but I feel like I’m more equipped to handle this than he is. Am I emotionally strong enough to handle everything he’s going to throw at me? I have no doubt that he’ll accuse me of being emotionally unstable. He’ll go to his family and throw me under the bus. He’ll dissect every fight we’ve had for them and present himself as the victim. Can I handle that? And, when he does that, can I hold it together and refuse to do the same with him? Gil has made some major mistakes in this marriage, and if I wanted to, I could make this really ugly. I just want peace — and I’m to a point where I realize there is no peace as long as he and I are living under the same roof.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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12 thoughts on “Tell Me This Will Get Easier

  1. Hi! Your words hit home. After 31 years, I decided to end our marriage. I wasn’t able to move immediately and I slept in the same bed for another 4 months. It was hard. But now that I’ve moved out and am adjusting, I am comforted knowing that my decision was the best one I could have ever made. I came out of the tunnel and you will, too. Change is hard and it certainly isn’t about hating our former spouse. I just hated the way my life was and I hated always stuffing my feelings. It isn’t healthy. My children are upset, of course, but I know in the long run they will understand when both their parents are happier. Keep writing!

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    • Thank you for the kind words, Judy. It’s helpful to hear from someone who has been through a similar experience. Marital struggles are complex, and making an ultimate decision is difficult — my feelings change daily. All the best to you, and I look forward to reading more of your story.

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      • Hi (don’t know your name):
        You could read my story – but I want to write directly to you. Through writing, I’ve been able to open up and share honest feelings. That was something I didn’t do in my marriage for such a long time. So writing allowed me to heal and realize how empty my marriage was. My husband hates reading, and I really avoid saying negative things about him – but obviously, I’m “out there” and i worry a lot about the affect on my children the most. So here are my words to you:
        Ending my marriage was about facing three things. First, was my self worth – I deserved to have a partner whose company I enjoyed being with; someone who made me feel cherished. Since I ususally felt lousy when my husband was around, I decided I preferred to be alone. It was peaceful and I was willing to accept that over the constant stress, as well as his suffocating unhappiness. Second, was knowing my life was finite and how I wanted to make the most of the rest of my life. I didn’t want to accept living in a way that wasn’t truly living. I was willing to go through the tunnel to take a chance on a better life. Third, I had to face fear of the unknown. The unknown can be terrifying, but in the end – I viewed it as something beautiful that I could look forward to discovering once I exited the tunnel.
        That is the hard part. The tunnel is the part that many humans prefer to avoid. I am still going through the tunnel as our divorce agreement has not even begun to be negotiated. But the part of the tunnel where I’ve moved out has happened (2 weeks). I am euphoric. That is with all my challenges – and I’ve had plenty. I feel like a slave that doesn’t know what to do with newfound freedom.
        Honestly, keep your eye on the prize and remind yourself that even though going through the tunnel is hard – there is exquisite light at the end. You will be glad you did it. I’ve never regretted that i didn’t do it sooner. It took me 31 years to find the courage. I just couldn’t accept the loneliness anymore.
        Best of luck! Judy

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        • Thanks, Judy. Writing definitely helps me clarify my true desires, but being completely honest is sometimes horrifying. I just feel like I’ve made so many mistakes and maybe in the past I led him to believe that we wanted the same things because I feared losing him. I blame him, but I blame myself as much if not more. One minute I’ll feel as though my decision is made, and then I’ll feel pulled in the opposite direction. I guess there’s no escaping the fact that it’s a process.

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          • I agree with you about it being a process. I was able to be honest in my writing and to “the world,” but I was unable to share my true feelings with my husband. I think fear is the absolute greatest roadblock to happiness. It keeps us stuck. Rather than blame yourself or him, I think it might be helpful for you to be gentle with yourself by knowing that fear of change is something programmed into us as humans. Rather than honesty being horrifying, I would love to see you view it as progress and as a result of courage. You are moving forward and it’s okay if at times you are indecisive. You are human and you have good intentions.
            I am looking forward to the time when I am able to put my divorce behind me. I know he is, too. Keep writing!

            Liked by 1 person

    • I know I have contributed to the problems in our marriage, and so has my husband. Still figuring out the best way to move forward. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you made mistakes — good for you. I wish you well on your path. Thanks for taking the time to respond. 🙂

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  2. I am not sure what to say here as I cannot really relate to your situation, other than offer you support and hope that things will get better for you. As the child of divorced parents (aged 5 at the time) I remember everything. It will affect your children, there is no escaping that, but by making it as clean and peaceful as possible it will help remove any problems that they will face growing up. Being a single parent is more normal and accepted these days, but as a child it can be seriously confusing and difficult to understand, and a messy divorce will make things more traumatic for the children. If you can keep it simple (easier said than done I know). I am sorry I am not so useful here, but I do wish you the best and am sending masses of positivity to you right now. Good luck xx

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    • Thank you for your support. You are always so kind and genuine in your replies, and I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. It is painful to know that the tension in our marriage hurts our kids but splitting up has the potential to create permanent scars — it feels like a lose-lose situation. No easy solution, but the back and forth, what should I do, feels paralyzing. My perspective is very different today even than it was when I wrote this post two days ago — that in itself is proof that I’m not ready to make a definite decision. The journey continues….

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  3. I’m so sorry you are going through this. You are right to be concerned about telling people too much. Even my husband and I worked things out, my good friend could not forgive him for me, and I ended my relationship with her.

    There is a website I belonged to when my husband and I teetered on the brink of divorce during his two year affair call the Midlife Crisis Forum. It was a lifesaver for me, kept me focused on what I needed to do. There were plenty of people contemplating, and going through divorce and all it’s ugliness. It’s just one more place to get some fantastic support from all sorts of people. A true place to vent all the vicious and horrible things you could never tell any one else.

    I wish you peace as you make this part of your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. The online forum is a great idea and one that in my stressed haze I hadn’t even considered. Divorce is such a messy, complicated thing, and I never grasped the emotional complexity of it until now. I’m just having a hard time confronting the reality of what our marriage has become, and I’m struggling with the courage to make it different as well as recognizing that creating a peaceful marriage is not solely my responsibility.

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      • I confronted my husband at one point and said that things were going to change, that I was going to change and he’d probably need to make some changes too. He has and continues to, so there is hope of salvaging your relationship, whether you decide to divorce or not.

        You’re very smart going into it, trying to put some of the emotional things aside and look at what’s practical, possible, and figure out what’s real.

        I wish you luck and much peace. Midlife Crisis Forum, it was a tremendous help to me, and virtually my only support. You have two choices: keep going or give up. You will get through this.

        Liked by 1 person

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