An open letter to my happily married friends.

Dear married friends,

You might remember me as a twosome. I was married for a long time, lived in a beautiful big house, and had you over for dinners and wine and play dates with your kids. You were there when my husband was out of town, which was often, and when I struggled with my recovery through anorexia. You were good to me, and generous, and kind.

Then my ex-husband and I decided to divorce.

Let me first say that I'm truly glad your marriages are more successful than mine was. I see your posts on Facebook, cuddling intimately with your husband on your couch, swimming in the ocean with your kids and posing with cartoon character at Disney World and sharing plans to renovate your kitchens. Sometimes I'm a little bit jealous of your happiness, but in the end, I really am happy for you.

But I have to talk to you about something that's been bothering me since I got divorced in December. As I went through the divorce process, I stopped blogging, removed myself from social situations, spent more time at home and less time posting pictures of myself on Facebook. It might have seen like my divorce had defeated me and that I wanted just to be left alone. The good news is that I'm okay; I'm surviving, and doing quite well. I know this because I watch a lot of Grey's Anatomy and research my symptoms on WebMD which pretty much makes me a medical professional.

I've noticed the way some of you seem to have fallen off the face of the earth. Several of you have made thinly veiled excuses when I've tried to make plans, or acted distant and judgmental when we finally did get together. I know there have been rumors about why my ex and I separated, despite the fact that no one confronted me about them. I understand why you're uncomfortable. Getting a divorce sucks. It isn't something I ever thought would happen to my marriage, and it isn't something I'd ever wish on yours. When I stood in front of 140 people at my wedding, in my big poofy dress, I didn't say my vows with the intention that I would, one day, be out on my own.

I've come to the conclusion that some of you didn't know what to say to me immediately after I divorced, so you said nothing at all. I was too caught up in my own struggles to understand this at the time, and I rarely called you, so that left us at an impasse. Some of you may have disagreed with why I had decided to pursue divorce and felt you couldn't talk to me for fear it would cause a confrontation between us. I know this now, but at the time I had no clue as to the reason for your silence.

Another reason I I lost friends, as many divorced people do, is because those who were mutually friends with my ex and I chose sides. You may not have done it consciously, but felt you couldn't stay friends with both of us, so one of us had to go. I found this to be true especially when my ex-husband was friends with the husband of my friend -- especially if they were golfing or hunting partners. Maybe you felt uncomfortable spending time with me when you knew your husbands had just golfed with my ex. You didn't know what to say to me, and I think you may have even felt guilty, so you stayed away. It didn't help that my ex made a supreme effort (when he had never done so before) to stay friends with you and your husbands, while I sat around waiting for you to call me.

Thing don't always work out as planned, my married friends. Even with the intention of staying married forever, my ex-husband and I grew apart. This happened over a long, long time. Just as it takes two people to build a marriage, it takes two to destroy one. As most of you didn't take the time to ask me what had gone wrong, or why I had to get out, you don't know the full story. You don't know the extent of the misery I felt.  You don't know how long I struggled to make the decision to leave. And you don't know the dysfunction that existed in my marriage. I didn't come to the conclusion to divorce lightly. It wasn't impulsive, and it wasn't without merit.

I want to tell you that divorce isn't contagious. You can't catch it from me, any more than I can catch the happy bliss you share with your husband. I'm working hard to get my life back on track and that includes keeping the friends I have as well as making new ones. Divorce isn't the end of the world. It's the start of a new life.


2 comments:

  1. Wow that sucks my dear! Did you try to call them and catch up with them? Because you might have be so far off in those days, maybe your friends assumed you needed some king of "closure" with your ex-husband and didn't call you. As it takes two to build or end a marriage, so it takes two to keep a friendship. If you tried and that wasn't enough, then your friends weren't true friends! I had this kind of experience with a couple of friends of mine; they weren't married but they had been together for 8 years when they broke up. Well, we were closer friends with him than with her, but somehow she stayed and he went. We tried to catch up with him as well, but he seemed distant. So after a while, we stopped trying. That's why I said it takes two to keep a friendship over time! Well, I hope that everything will work out fine for you, and I'm sure it will! You can always make new friends!

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  2. Most likely, your married friends just didn't know what to say or assumed you didn't want to talk to someone who is happily married. So they gave you your space. I find that is often my case. Friend's relationship falls apart I am the last one they want to talk to because my relationship is on the up and up. Perhaps it is a poor assumption, but I too would assume my friend who is down due to an ended marriage would not want to talk to a person planning a marriage and wedding. Hopefully your friends will come around and accept your new self and life :).

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