I’m Allowed to Mourn the Marriage I left
When I run into people from my past, they find it hard to believe that I got married, let alone that I also got divorced. Nobody gets married thinking of the day that it will end. Wearing that white dress and shiny rings, you feel like that day could last forever. But it doesn’t. Statistics Canada stopped collecting marital status data as of 2008 due to funding cuts. But the numbers that exist from the 2004/2005 study state that almost 40% of first marriages end in divorce. I’m not alone. So why do I feel so lonely?
There are rippling consequences to leaving a marriage. I lost my financial security and so many people I thought were my friends. More drastically, I lost my best friend and all the plans we made. We could talk about blame and fault and where it all went wrong. But tossing around accusations just blemishes the love that was and the tragedy it became.
This month should mark my fifth wedding anniversary. Instead, it marks the month where I fully assume the mortgage of the house we bought together. Even though I was the one who requested this separation, it still makes me sad to think of what could have been. I do not miss what my relationship had become, but I do miss the way we were and the future we could have had.
While the legal courts consider this to be a no-fault separation, the court of public opinion is not so kind. We are so enamoured of our fairy tales that it is difficult to believe that real life conflict often has no heroes and villains. Real life is just two people who grew apart and no longer fit together. The fault belongs to no one person and I don’t think we can even fairly split it in two. Our reasons are spread far and wide across the way we grew up, the habits we fell into and the paths we chose to trod.
Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote the lines “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Despite how it ended, I wouldn’t trade my marriage for the world. He’s a good man and I wish him all the happiness in the world. He’s just not good for me.
I am happier now. And from what I have heard, so is he. Like a houseplant that has grown too large for its pot, what once nurtured us may eventually smother us. Moving on is important and something we must do in order to heal and grow. Perhaps I will grow into a tree rather than a shrinking violet confined to a windowsill.