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Can You Have a Good Divorce?

I’m getting divorced which is hideous. I never wanted to break up. The whole thing was hugely surprising to me, and for nine months or so after everything was messed up AF. I thought I had a great relationship. I felt like such a fool.

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Buuuut. It’s alright now. Which I never thought it would be.

This weekend, almost three years on, and at the point where a no blame divorce is possible, my husband and I sat down in the house we don’t live in together and made some lists. Admin lists of what we need to do about property, money, and the practicalities.

There was an awful lot of crying. That was just inevitable. For the first time we talked calmly about why he ran away like he did, and how, ultimately it was a good thing.

It’s something I never thought I would think. But I really do think that.

Everything Changes

After twenty-three years with the same person, I couldn’t imagine a way to enjoy being with myself or with anyone else (when it ended I thought it was the end of me). But now I’ve done both, and I like both. Everything is different now – like, EVERYTHING. But it’s not scary and it’s not overwhelming.

Breaking up threw me into a cycle of change that I didn’t have much control over. Given that I couldn’t manage to eat or sleep for months, there wasn’t much hope of finishing writing a PhD thesis. So that changed.

I did some online dating. Who am I kidding? I did loads of online dating. I really enjoyed it (except when I didn’t – I mean, some people are just awful). I met my boyfriend. He’s great. I moved between cities, and I will move properly – the jury is still out on what I think about this. I set up a new business. I got pregnant and lost the pregnancy, twice. My stepdaughter died. My granddad died. I learned who my reliable and constant friends are. I learned what I like, not what we like. It’s been quite a ride.

Be kind to each other

Even though my husband, the guy I thought was my best friend, was horrible about the whole break up thing when it happened, I’ve always wanted to do this whole thing right.

What I mean by that is not that there’s an actual right way to do it, but that I never wanted any of it to be embittered or unkind. I never wanted to look back and reproach myself for my behaviour.

So that’s the way we are doing this divorce thing. I didn’t stop loving him because our relationship changed. I’ll love him for all my life. I just love him differently now. But I am really looking forward to being divorced. I’m definitely ready for that.

What I think is good about this divorce thing is that we only decided to do it once we were both ready. Which luckily seemed to be symbiotic. Also, we can now talk (fairly) sensibly about it because the heightened emotion has gone. Neither one of us wants the other back or harbours any hope or desire for reconciliation. I would like us to be friends afterwards, but I will be ok if we can’t be. And we are both committed to divorcing as well and as fairly as possible.

I don’t know if this is a good or ideal divorce. It is certainly overshadowed by grief and is complicated by so much loss. I sometimes wonder whether I ought to be angrier because some people seem to think that I should. But I’m not. So, I think this: so long as the divorce is healthy for both of us, then it is a good divorce.

What has been your experience of divorce? What were the best and worst bits about it?


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