The Truth About Divorce

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All the things I’ve written about my separation so far have mostly been positive. Divorce isn’t easy, of course it isn’t, but for the most part for Will and I it seemed the right thing for us and we were able to remain mostly happy. This doesn’t mean I don’t have some bad times.

When we first separated my initial feeling was relief and peace. The decision removed so much stress, pressure and unhappiness for the both of us and the feeling of freedom was something I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager. But now four months down the line reality has set in.

I’m so sad that my children don’t get to wake up with their daddy every day. And I’m sad that on the days they do wake up with him, their mummy isn’t there. I miss the family breakfasts and cuddles in bed, even those 5am wakeups when it’s still dark outside and everyone’s rubbing their eyes (well, not the kids). I miss the coffee machine which I gave Will custody of when he moved out (stupid idea). I miss someone else having responsibility of buying the milk for the mornings, something I seem to keep forgetting.

I miss having someone around to bounce ideas off, especially when it comes to discipline. Someone to chat to when you’ve had a hell of a day and want to talk to a person who knows exactly how infuriating your gorgeous, beautiful children can be, and they know this because they are 50% them. Someone who will take over bath and bedtime for you because you just can’t take any more and need to sit in the garden with a glass of wine.

I miss having someone who knows me better than I know myself in the way that only your partner of 10 years can. I miss the camaraderie and companionship of sharing a life, two children and a home. I miss wearing my wedding ring and being able to refer to ‘my husband’. Most of all I miss my children having their daddy at home.

In the week that we have been filling out our divorce papers – I had to go through our ‘wedding box’ in the hunt for the marriage certificate which was particularly gruelling – I’ve been pondering what my wedding meant to me. You vow to be with someone for the rest of your life, in sickness and in health, til death do us part. It’s a bit embarrassing that I haven’t kept those vows. Not that I didn’t mean them at the time, of course I did. But does this mean I feel marriage is disposable? That it’s OK to renege on promises I made? I feel guilty that the sanctity of marraige, something I still believe in, has been tainted.

I’ve been finding it a minefield to read my old favourite blogs. I used to devour them like books, saving my favourites for nap times and bedtimes so I could sit down with a cup of tea and treat, reading them all in one go. But now each blogger’s account of a lovely family day out is a kick in the face. The smiley happy photos stab me in the heart. Because I won’t have that nuclear family anymore; mine is fragmented and separate.

Relationships with my old friends are difficult, too. Pretty much all our friends were – are – part of a couple. How do we navigate this situation? Do we both still get to be friends with the couple? Does he get the blokes and I get the ladies? Do we split the couples 50/50? As he lives in London now he naturally sees some friends more than I am logistically able to: will they forget me?

It’s shit, it really is. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions which isn’t helped by the early mornings, house renovations and the full-on days at the coalface of parenting. But as bad as it gets, as tired as I feel, as much as I struggle to fit in work, housework, budgeting, a new social life… it’s the right thing to do. And it will get easier.

44 Comments
  1. your posts are so honest and that is why I am an avid reader of your blog.
    your strength is an absolute inspiration to your readers.

    life can be shit, we all go through these times but I admire your bravery to admit this to the world.

    keep going, one step at a time – you’ve got your freedom now, the happiness will follow.

    xo

  2. You know I divorced when I was 26 and I found it so incredibly difficult. No kids, different circumstances but yes. It’s hard and it took me some time to figure everything out.

    I now have two kids and am getting married again in a month which kind of scares me seeing what happened the first time. This weekend I had them on my own while my boyfriend was away for the weekend and cycling back home this morning after dropping them at daycare I thought I have such respect for single mothers.

    So hats of to you on two counts.

  3. This is a really honest and raw post – it really stirred me reading it. I think there will be a lot of people who can relate to how you are feeling.
    I have a four year old and I cannot imagine a life without his dad around in the house. Like you that is what I imagine I would miss the most.
    I don’t really have any words of wisdom that I can offer that might help, but I really admire your bravery and honesty in writing and sharing this post, and that’s one of the reasons I really enjoy reading your blog.

    1. Thanks Claire. I couldn’t imagine it before either! But you deal with what you get in all aspects of life I guess, and I have such a wonderful life in other respects :) x

  4. Alice the rawness and honesty of this post mad me cry a bit.
    Yes it does suck but believe me when I say having two happy separate parents is better than two grumpy sad together parents. You are doing great and it will get easier, spoken as a child of a very broken home ;-)

  5. Your honesty is such a strength Alice, especially at times like this. This post made me cry. It’s clear how gruelling this time is for you, but you are an inspiration. Keep writing, you will be able to look back and see how life has changed and how much you’ve healed. Lots of love x

  6. I have no divorce related wisdom to offer, but hugs aplenty. This post hit me hard.

    PS: Many of our ‘family days’ are filled with spelled out bitchy comments between me and the husband so that G can’t clock on to them…yet! Don’t believe the hype of good family days photos. Ever.
    Some days are truly amazing, like I am sure you can have eventually when all four of you will do something together. Some are plain pain-in-the-ass days when I wonder if my crazy toddler does my heading more than my husband or vice versa. There you go, the truth. Oh, and whilst I am at it, I honestly think a second kid would have killed me and my marriage. Hats off to the ones who manage to stay together through the kids roller coaster, but we’re not all cut out for it. xxx

    1. This made me laugh, thank you!! I sometimes forget that when I see the fun other families are having online that’s just the absolute best of their days. Nobody shows the worst (apart from me ;). Love that you spell out your bitchy comments… I totally do this xxx

  7. Oh :( I feel really sad for you! I don’t know what to say! WEll done for writing about your feelings so honestly. I guess those things that you miss are things I for one really take for granted sometimes. At least if, as it seems so, you can keep things really amicable between you and not let it affect the kids more than it has to, then you are doing the right thing.

  8. You know that those family days out include all the stuff we don’t carefully fail to include in the blog posts and Instagram snaps. The bickering, the tantrums, and the irritability every time someone feels hungry (and that’s just the adults!). Even if your marriage is working, it doesn’t mean it’s fun all the time – and you know that from the decade when it did work for you.

    You’re doing good. It’s standard Dory procedure from here: just keep swimmin’. :)

    x

    1. I always forget how much blog posts show the polished version of people’s lives, it’s the equivalent of showing your family’s ‘best side’ I suppose! x

    1. When we first separated my PND disappeared, and aside from a couple of wobbly days it has stayed away. So unfortunately I think it was a case of the marriage exacerbating the PND rather than the other way round :(

  9. A moving, honest blog post-I am going through exactly this at the moment, and it’s of some comfort to know I’m not alone! It’s all fairly new and I’m quite scared. As I write this I’m on a caravan holiday with my 2 children and we’re having a (mostly!) lovely time but it’s bloomin’ hard work! I look forward to reading your future posts!
    Tamsyn x

    1. Sorry to hear you’re going through the same! I take my hat off to you for taking yours on holiday, that’s the next bridge to be crossed I think xx

  10. Oh love! This is one of the hardest things to read. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, it’s definitely not prime.

    I pretty much have no divorce-related advice, but like From Fun to Mum, plenty of hugs and stuff. Also, my family days out always look happy, but ross and I bicker all the time about everything. Nothing is ever as good as it looks in a photo xx

  11. Hi Alice! So glad you are able to put into words what you are going through… to admit and be open is often the hardest part. It seems like there’s lots of online and offline support for you too, feel free to offload away! I had PND 7 years ago which seemed to reduce once I’d split from my partner. I know the relief you talk about, combined with a confusing mixture of feelings about what this means for your child(ren), the unknown future and how it’ll all work out. Let’s face it, none of us really know what will happen and our kids are amazing at muddling us along through it!

    Something you said about reading blogs really struck a note with me too… I’ve been getting the niggles looking at other people’s “amazing lives” on facebook, twitter, etc. too. I think there’s something about it which feels a little competitive “look at my lovely life” but I’m pretty sure the poster I’m sure didn’t intend it in that way. I think perhaps we just know too much about what other people are up to! And yes, I realise that it’s not the whole truth. It’s a mini snapshot of a moment and doesn’t show the reality. All the couples, families, single parents I know have ups and downs and life is not as easy as it appears in a facebook update. However, I’ve even been thinking of having a facebook hiatus so I don’t get bothered by it. (and yes, I might be being woken every 2-3 hours by a baby at the moment, so perhaps my viewpoint is a little skewed!)

  12. Alice, you’re doing so well. SO so well.
    I’m not sad for you, I’m sad with you- I can totally and utterly relate to how you feel. But like everyone said, those snapshots of happy family day out snapshots are just that- snapshots. You know all this anyway, but it’s good to have it re-iterated.
    I felt the same about my vows; but then last week whilst crying at lunchtime TV something made a lot of sense. So, I was watching Four Weddings (don’t judge, it’s amaze) and one of these lasses had a Pagan wedding, where the vows seem to be promising to love as long as the love lasts. That’s pretty much all you can ask of the average human being, no one is a clairvoyant. Is any of this making any sense? I am totes rambling.

    Love you lady. You done good. You’re doing good. The worst bit is filling it all out, once you submit to court it DOES get easier, especially if you can actually speak to your ExH and not snipe at them and call them a ‘cunting wankweasel’ (I definitely do this)
    xxxxxxxxxxx

  13. You know what. No one will judge you as much or as harshly as yourself. We all do what we have to so that we can get though life. I still read your post and what you say resonates with me. Maybe I have the man, but we have been through hell and back and my marriage isn’t all roses (honest), but I can not blog these things

  14. Totally agree with Jen’s ‘no one will judge you as much or as harshly as you judge yourself’. It’s not an easy time (says the woman on marriage no.3 ) and it’s important that you keep things honest and share about the shitty bits as well as the brighter moments too. Muchos love to you x

  15. Hey Alice,

    I can really imagine how you feel. Only difference to my story is, that I never got to know how this family life feels like. I had my Baby in June, her Daddy wanted me to have an abortion, but I decided to do it ón my own. It is Not the easier choice, but definiatly the better one. I was so happy to find a blog, where someone writes about this experience. Cos as u say, its usually the happy, bubbly family pics. i am happy for everyone who has a happy bubbly family and I feel sorry for your loss. But it will get easier every Day. And until then I am happy to have People to share.
    Thank you for sharing with me.

    You are doing really well, I Love reading ur blog and u have two adorable children!

  16. Ditto, ditto and ditto to your whole post! I’m 2.5 years into separation and it does get easier. I still have shitty “I want to sit down and have someone else deal with the tantrum/bath/dinner’ moments but they’re less. Same as you, once I had decided to divorce -a weight lifted. He asked me months later if I was happy and although I was terribly sad at the situation and for my daughter, as cheesy as it sounds my soul was happy and at peace. I get ya. The only way is up baby!

  17. A very honest account, very honest indeed. It’s almost like starting from scratch but with children that will forever tie you. I remember watching my Mum and Dad navigate divorce and I think what you said about friendships is so very true, it was for them as I recall, Dad keep some and lost others, while Mum lost some and keep others, and sometimes they both lost the same friends. But now that that is all over and passed, they are both new people, and in very new places in their lives, both have gained strength where they were once week and gained some beautifully friendships. I wish the same for you xx

  18. Growing up with divorced parents is probably the most devastating and difficult situation a child can possibly encounter (aside from the obvious, physical, mental or sexual abuse). Even if the parents are able to remain civil and cooperative, the children will never have the same experiences as their peers with families who are whole. Being twenty years old with over a decade of divorce related baggage on my belt, I now fear starting my own family for the very same reason. My boyfriend’s parents are also divorced and the possibility of us divorcing and our children having an upwards of 6 Christmas dinners to eat is pretty much unbearable to think about (making it to all four is already impossible). I guess what I’m trying to say is that no matter how difficult this is for you, it is going to be a million times more difficult for your children, and has a habit of turning every birthday, graduation and other holiday into an epic clusterfuck. Hold your littles tight and emotionally prepare them for the years to come.

    1. All children have different experiences of life. While I completely agree that being aware of how separation hits them, and think that civility and cooperation are a fantastic ideal, when it comes down to it, two happy parents in separate homes are better, in my experience, than a single unhappy family. You are showing amazing self awareness, and I am sure that your children will come out of this OK.

      Just one tip. Keep talking. And never ever fall for the temptation to sound off to your kids about something your other half might have done to irritate. That was the only bit that was hard and still grates 30 years on, the feeling of being in the middle and having to remember which bits I could say to which parent.

  19. I know I’m not divorced, mainly because I’m not even married yet, but I hope you know that I think you are extremely amazing in every way. I don’t have a unified family, in that we are whole, because I live life very much as a single mother as we work different hours and we have to split ourselves to make things work. Sometimes, this puts a strain on a relationship that has already gone through a lot over the years, including a surprise baby. I wonder, if I’d miss Stephen. I think I take him for granted. So used I am to doing things on my own, that I think I don’t have any help at all. But I do. My passing ship of a boyfriend makes my lunches while I get ready early in the morning and he tries his best to work the washing machine. We do have that ability to go to each other and just say a simple sentence and the other will understand it and everything hidden beneath it. But things can be tough sometimes. I know that you feel less than inspired right now, you are bound to, but I hope you know that, whatever the situation, everyone who follows you wants you to know that we are here. And don’t be embarrassed. No one ever said love had to last forever. xx

  20. Two things: buy yourself a new coffee machine, and get a milkman. I know it’s not relationship advice, but it’s practical stuff: if duel-parenting requires good coffee, you can bet your ass that single parenting does. Be strong x

  21. I love the fact that you have written honest post and just the truth. My mother still is broken even if its been almost 3 years after divorce.. She still has depression.

  22. Dear Alice, quite simply you are an amazing lady, a great writer and YOU ROCK. Keep you chin up
    x Another Mummy far away x

  23. I just wanted to say, in light of one of the comments above, that my parents didn’t divorce until I was 17, staying together ‘for the children’, and it was hideous. Living with two miserable, arguementative, depressed and eventually alcoholic parents was a nightmare. I dreaded christmas, family holidays etc because of the conflict. That’s no way for a child to feel. I think your children will have a happier life with happy parents. Certainly my much-younger brother had a happier childhood than the rest of us, and is a more stable adult because of this. Obviously everyone will have an opinion based on their own experiences, but just wanted to let you know that some children wish their parents had divorced sooner!

  24. Definitely an interesting thing to read as I’m planning my wedding – but I’ve never been a big romantic or believer in happily ever after.

    At the end of the day, your marriage was a success. You have two beautiful children who you seem to be co-parenting quite successfully – which is SUCH an important thing.

  25. You are an amazing writer. This blog is incredibly brave and I would think most of your readers upon finishing it will be filled with admiration for you, considering the challenging situation you’re in. Well done and thanks for sharing it.

  26. This made me cry. I’ve been there, and still have moments like today when I realize I’m not healed fully, yet. Divorce is horrible. Sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner and knowing your child doesn’t remember any of the family dinners you once all shared together is horrible. However, I know the right choice was ultimately made, and someday it will all seem ok. I hope someday comes soon. Good luck to you.

    1. Thank-you Rebecca. I thought it would get easier? As someone who grew up with happily married parents, I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that I’ve been unable to give my children the same. There’ll always be that lingering guilt. But like you I know it was the right choice and it does get more and more OK (but never easier!) x

  27. You’re brave to write so openly and honestly. I haven’t been able to write about my separation publicly yet. But you describe perfectly what so many people are going through day by day. Did you get a new coffee machine and a milk man? :-)

  28. I so get the reading other blog things. I set up my blog when I bought a house with an ex. Thinking it would document house renovations, couple stories and then babies and a forever together. The he dumped me. I don’t quite know how I fit in as a blogger now as everyone else seems to be doing the married thing, or the baby thing and I am all “hey here’s another picture of my rabbit!”

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