Divorce

And people are still talking about it

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In the adult world, they call it divorce. A fancy name for breaking up or for legalizing it.

It’s a dirty word in suburbia.

It seems this shapeshifter of the couple’s world is frowned upon.

People will talk about it, whisper about it, and marinate over it. It will be the shock heard round the cul de sac and the echo over coffee and cocktails.

Call me naive but I had no idea leaving my husband meant gaining a new relationship role and moniker — ‘the divorced woman.’

I am a cup half full kinda girl. Divorce meant I was free. I was single. I got a do-over. I had the courage to walk out of the proverbial door.

I was completely baffled.

What was all the fuss about?!

Fortunately, back then we were mature enough to not label these heartaches with a dubious distinction.

We didn’t play roles. We weren’t looking for the perfect relationship. We were just guys and girls growing into ourselves and learning about love.

And sure, there was fallout from breaking someone’s heart.

In those teenage years, you might even call it a pack mentality. There were going to be some guys against the girls and girls against the guys and some social misconduct. Some type of penalty for breaking a friend’s heart.

But it passed as quickly as it began.

No long-standing social stigma for being the girl who decided to walk away.

The irony? My high school love forgave my immature efforts while my husband never recognized my overt efforts to save our marriage.

And try I did. To save my marriage. I often say, ‘I beat the horse, flipped it over, beat it again, and then repeated.’

My friend used to say, “No one tried harder than you to save your marriage.”

But here’s the tricky thing about love. It involves two people. Sometimes both parties aren’t willing to expend the same effort. And that works for some, they are content allowing love to limp along.

Not in a selfish way.

In a way that evolves after you have exhausted all of your options. And this cup is half full girl stayed until the glass felt completely empty. I stayed six years longer than I should have. I made excuses for bad behavior.

It took strength to swing open the proverbial door.

A strength I lacked for the six years prior.

That is why the whispering echoes threw me back in. I was not yet strong enough to withstand the obligatory feel of isolation and judgment that accompanies the fall of a marriage. Nor the gender-based alliances which accompany it.

Because remember those sixteen-year-old breakups? Those guys are still some of my best friends.

Sure, I knew marriage was an adult word but I was unaware of its ugly counterpart. I didn’t need to understand those seven letters. They weren’t going to happen to me. I married the love of my life. My college sweetheart. The handsome and funny guy everyone loved.

I was never breaking up with him.

But I am one person.

I have no control over another.

I never believed my marriage would end nor did I believe it would inadvertently enroll me in a virtual suburban high school. One much harsher than that of my youth.

Where love and people are supposed to be perfect.

Because in the grown-up world breaking up is a dirty word.

Written by

National Relationship Columnist, Freelance Journalist & Former Business Columnist. All Shapes of Love — #WomanResurrected colleen.sheehy.orme@gmail.com

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