And so here we sit, five years after our initial separation, almost to the day, and my ex and I had another one of our spells yesterday —one of the worst in ages. It was full of some of the most vile and abusive texts ever to come across my phone, and what I'm realizing is that for the last 15 years, I have been in a role I no longer want to occupy. I have what we relationship coaches call "Role Nausea" and the only way for me to vacate my role is to draw very distinct lines in the sand and vacate the system as best I can. It is no longer enough for me to vacate the role, because the system continues to dictate a need for it and I am the one who keeps slipping into it, despite my best efforts to vacate it. Once I vacate the system, it is possible the role of "Abused" will leave the system. It is also highly likely that it will be occupied by someone else in the system, likely my ex's girlfriend, who up until this time he's treated with love and respect. For her sake, and the sake of the three children involved (my ex's two and hers) I hope not.
I often ponder how our life would have been different if we'd had complete separation right off the bat post-divorce. I often wonder if the way we did it initially, while it looked good to others, felt good to us and fed our egos as they were stroked by the outside world, was really the healthiest choice. I am a life and relationship coach and I focus my practice on coaching single moms and yet the god's honest truth is that I have no idea. What I do know is that the process of divorce is ever changing, ever shifting, ever complicated. As we continue on in our daily lives, as we meet new partners, as we forge new careers, as the rules change by necessity, so do the parameters of the divorce. Divorce, I've learned, is a living breathing entity, just as a marriage is, and it needs to be fed and stroked and examined, just like a marriage.
My son has often been confused by how well my ex and I get along. He's often said, "Well, if you guys get along so well, why don't you just get back together?" After five years apart, my son sat on my ex's porch with me just three weeks ago crying about wanting us to move back in together. Perhaps a greater separation will allow him the space to recognize more fully that our divorce is permanent and necessary. It will take a careful balance of respect for my ex and clarity of my needs for me to communicate the changes as they occur. We have always sought the counsel of professionals for major life changes (such as our divorce and the introduction of my son's brother) and I expect this time will be no different.
And so, five years post-divorce, I am putting my own oxygen mask on first and I am finally divorcing my ex-husband. No more holidays together, no more vacations, no more family dinners. We will communicate about our son the way "normal" divorced people do, see each other at school events and birthday parties and communicate about what is necessary. My hope is that we will all find peace in that. I know I will.