My divorce is finalized.
“How happy are you right now?!,” a well-meaning friend asked.
He knew I had been living a nightmare for the last eight months and imagined the sense of relief I must have felt upon receiving the news. But I got out of the relationship while I still loved the other person and before the point where a person is driven to celebrate a divorce. I’m not happy that my marriage failed. And bittersweet isn’t even the right word to use.
This step feels like the prescription a terminally ill patient is given. It’s like I was diagnosed with a disease that would positively kill me if left untreated. On the other hand, treatment would be arduous, unpleasant and may not save me, but my chances of survival would be greater. Without the treatment, I would stand no chance of making it out alive.
I don’t regret it, because I have replayed this track repeatedly, and know that there is nothing I could have done to change my ex-husband. He was my family for seven years, legally for three, so of course I miss him sometimes, but his hurtful ways are not ancient history. The wounds are re-opened on a regular basis, as he throws daggers over disagreements about our daughter. He reminds me constantly of why I made the right decision.
My complicated sadness comes from a very simple concept: I wish I would have gotten what I signed up for, what was promised to me when I was given the engagement ring, then what I was promised at the altar, and again when we renewed our vows in 2010.
I’m hurt that it was all for nothing and am learning what life will look like now that I know how easily things change.