Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Deliberate Decision

My divorce was a very deliberate decision and probably an inevitable one. However, I admit that it has still been painful. It hurts to see my soon to be ex-husband hurt. It hurts to see my kids hurt when they can't stay with whichever parent they're in the mood for on a given night. It sometimes hurts to be alone. And yet, I am determined.
I can't speak for myself in twenty years. Who knows who I'll be by then (or since I do edit obits, if I'll even be around then). But I do know that the me right now and the me in high school and early college just isn't the marrying type. I'm not sure why I had so much invested in listening to other people and letting them tell me what was right for my life, but I knew as far back as high school that the things I wanted out of life were incompatible with being married and having children. The only reason I eventually did both is because at the time, I thought I was supposed to.
Unfortunately, rather than joy and fulfillment, for the most part, marriage and children brought me pain and suffocation. I know that sounds ungrateful and dramatic, but it's true. It's not that I don't enjoy companionship, sex, friendship, etc. I do. But at least in my marriage, the trade-off wasn't worth it. I felt like there were all kinds of expectations and duties that I bristled at fulfilling. I felt taken advantage of, unappreciated. I tried so hard to communicate these feelings to my husband. But in all honesty, and he's realized this now, he didn't listen.
To be fair, Alistiar and I had some good times. He could make me laugh, he was always there for me when I was hurting from some outside source. He was so attentive when my mom died, he was okay with my decision to leave the church and while it scared him a bit, he was accepting of me when I finally decided I was an atheist. And I'm grateful to him for all of that. And I hope that someday, Alistiar and I are able to be very good friends. I still like him. I still care for him. But I can't be married. I can't be tied down anymore than I already am with my boys. I need to stretch my wings. I need to be answerable and accountable only to me. Even though Alistiar and I had a decent relationship, there was always a power struggle going on under the surface. Our voices were not equally weighted at all. I was sinking, and in spite of my efforts to help him understand my struggles, he continued to not listen.
Marriage isn't the happy ending for me anymore. It's not that I don't want to be loved or to love someone else. It's that I value my freedom and my independence and my power over my own life. It's not even that I refuse to compromise. It's that I resented having my compromises taken for granted. If I ever love again, I hope to never take for granted the gift that is love. And I absolutely will not stay if I feel like my love is being taken for granted. And I think this represents the paradox that may be my life: I love me best now and someday, that may mean giving me to someone else to show gratitude for them having given themselves to me.

13 comments:

darlene said...

Thanks for sharing, that must be painful, embarrassing and cathartic all at once. And you're probably not done with the analysis, because you are sorrowful that you've created this big hole in people's lives, and wish to understand it and learn from it and never go through something like it again, if you can avoid it.

Oh, wait, that whole paragraph was about me. But maybe you, too, and I hope that you find peace with it lots sooner than I will (26 years and counting).

And maybe the experience and the writings will be helpful to others who read and gain some insight and make some wiser choices as a result.

G said...

(((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

We think that you have a lot of growing up and maturing to do. We also think that you have always and will always pass the blame onto anybody, it does not matter to you who you step on or hurt. As long as you dont have to accept any responsibility for any of your OWN choices. People may have expected you, or "persueded" you to get married. But YOU made the final decision to do it. Children are the most wonderful blessing to a mother and a family, and you have thrown children, a husband, and a family away for your own personal gain. I hope you are able to find yourself and soon before you ruin anybody elses life again. We all know that you are very intelligent, but you use this GOD given knowledge to manipulate, abuse others, and just for your personal good.

Lessie said...

Again, anonymous, you don't have to be afraid to leave comments under your own name. My skin has grown pretty thick since entering the blog world. I'm going to assume that you read this blog because you care. And while I find your comments hurtful, you're certainly entitled to your opinion of me. But thanks for caring. I've obviously hurt you as well. I suppose that's the other part of life, huh? Not only do we love and bring joy to each other, we also hurt each other and often with the best of intentions.

xJane said...

Good for you: you deserve the best from life, as do we all. Few of us have the courage to take it. I cannot imagine the pain you're going through but I'm here to support you if you need it. You're looking pretty strong right now, though.

One of my sisters (mother of 5) was recently talking to me about an opportunity I have. "Why do you have these wonderful opportunities in your adult life?" she asked me. And while I am married, I'm very lucky to have a man who forces me to put myself first; someone who encourages me to accept the opportunities offered me by life.

Anonymous, a very similar accusation was levied against me when I moved in with my then boyfriend. How selfish of me to consider my own happiness! But it took me a long time to learn the lesson that there is only one person in this life that I can make happy. It is not my parents or my husband; if I have children, it will not be them. I lived far too much of my life for the benefit of my parents, making myself unhappy in the process. And they were never happy—proud of me, yes, but their problems are their own and no amount of getting good grades and majoring in the right subjects would solve them.

Lessie, this path is your to walk and to hack away with a machete when necessary. You never walk it alone, but no one can walk it for you; nor can you walk it for anyone else.

Divorce is a painful thing for everyone involved, probably especially the children. But at the end of the day, when they're grown up, if you are happy, there is no blame they can place at your feet. You are doing them a favor by showing them that it's okay for them to put their happiness first and by not making them grow up in an environment of guilt and pain.

Be well.

Kaimi said...

We think that anonymous we comments are obnoxious as hell. We speak in the royal we because we are we-nies. We like to play with our Wii. Oui!

B-)

Seriously, though -- anon certainly channels a longstanding tradition in which women are viewed as primarily existing to raise children. (And if those children are girls, they exist primarily to raise more children; who, if they are girls, exist primarily to . . .)

Divorce is often difficult and painful for people involved. But accusing one party of selfishness for choosing to value their own happiness, seems myopic. What are we here for, if not to seek happiness? Hell, it's in both the Declaration of Independence and the Book of Mormon, isn't it?

There's nothing bad about Lessie trying to find happiness in her life. In every discussion I've had with Lessie, it's clear that she takes very seriously the needs and feelings of others. But she also stand up for herself, and that's a good thing.

Hugs to you, Lessie! :)

G said...

"we" heart kiami
:)

darlene said...

I *heart* all of you who were unselfish enough to leave thoughtful and caring responses to Lessie.

Are "we" here on this earth to judge Lessie, do "we" have the authority from our deity (if "we" believe) to pass judgement on a fellow human being?

Lessie, your response was amazingly level headed and I hope "we" are able to remember why they cared about you in the first place.

Peace to you in this season. I'm expecting to love me some winter solstice, I am!

JohnR said...

Hey anonymous, you could take some more responsibility for your words by not hiding. Just a thought. Might make your words sound a bit less hypocritical.

Amen to Kaimi's words.

Anon approaches this in such black and white terms. This is so different from how most of us experience life. We're constantly having to choose between crappy alternatives. Bravo to you, Lessie, for having the metaphorical balls to make a tough choice. And my heart goes out to you, Alistiar and your kids. I hope you all can make this work for the best for everyone involved.

Lessie said...

I heart all of you guys :) Thank you so much for your support and your kind words, darlene, G, JohnR, Kaimi and xJane.

Vajra said...

Anonymous is just a teeny weeny itsy bitsy passive aggressive, which is a trait I often see in LDS posters. As for ruining other people's lives? I don't think so: the best gift one can give other people is to work on oneself. Yes, some of our decisions cause suffering. In fact, Buddhism teaches that living involves suffering. It's still "Chop wood. Carry water" no matter what we do. So I would suggest that Anonymous break into his piggybank, get a buck, and buy himself a clue.

Lessie said...

Vajra, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your support :)

Shukr said...

I can relate to some of what you write - am currently still separated and not sure I'll be able to live with husband again, but I'm also not keen to finalise in divorce just yet.

most of the time anyway ,)

I'm totally reassessing A LOT atm - wonder if it's the hitting 30's thang. giggle. i don't think reassessing is a bad thing, at any rate.

xx