As of the 1st of this month, I am now officially divorced. I was on the phone with my sister when I received the paperwork from my attorney and I cheered with joy! I was filled with a sense of liberation and celebration at having the legal paperwork in hand. It was a year ago in September that I asked for a divorce, and we now have come full circle. I also love the fact that both events happened in September, the 9th month. The number 9 represents completion; the end of a cycle. I am no longer his wife and am reclaiming myself with this and each and every day that passes. I feel so fortunate for the opportunity to write a new story in my mid-40’s. I get to redefine myself solely for ME! I get to choose the narrative of my life moving forward. Admittedly, I didn’t feel like I was in the driver’s seat of my life in my marriage, and the prospect of taking back the reigns of my life is exhilarating.
But this new beginning is not without its challenges. I am weary because I need to sort through the last financial ties that still bind us, and it feels like a slog. I keep telling myself that I am nearly there, that this is the last stretch in a very long, exhaustive race. I have carried the majority of responsibility (financial, emotional, and parenting) while together with my ex, and feel a similar burden as I am wrapping up items from the divorce agreement. In addition to that, because I have chosen to go back to my maiden name, there are additional hoops to jump through including an updated social security card, driver’s license, passport, and getting all new credits and debit cards as a result. I spent a majority of the weekend trying not to feel overwhelmed by these last steps. It’s as though I am on the last few miles of a marathon…and I am desperate to see the finish line.
That leaves the one tie that binds us; our daughter. And if I am honest with myself, this has been the biggest challenge. He has already had a female “friend” staying with him while our daughter is there. It appears she now has basically moved in. He has only been in the new house for a few months, so the routine is still new for the two of them. Let alone adding in a third party. This friend was someone I suspected him of having an affair with last summer (she’s one of a slew of women) and it was the final implosion of a marriage that was on life support anyway.
My daughter confessed to me that she felt like she had to be perfect while this other person was at her dad’s house. She went on to tell me she couldn’t be herself and had to hold in her big feelings. My heart ached as she sobbed and told me she didn’t want to tell him because she didn’t want him to feel like a bad dad. She is almost 8 and has more emotional intelligence than her 46-year-old father. I made sure to explain she is not responsible for others’ feelings. I grew up experiencing that weight and it has been something I have struggled with my entire adult life. I tried having a conversation with him about the situation, but unsurprisingly, he was unable to consider his own daughter’s feelings or perspectives. I do not hold any ill will towards my ex or his friend. My sincere hope and prayer is for my ex to live a life that makes him happy and fulfilled. As the father of our child, I want him to be healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually. I recognize I do not have control over the situation in his house, so I said a silent prayer that his friend genuinely loves and cares for our daughter.
I am excited for my own journey and hopeful that things on a co-parenting front improve for the sake of our daughter. And with that in mind, I continue to show up and be the adult, the bigger person, the one who takes our daughter into consideration, while being free to walk the path that brings me the most joy and happiness.