As a child of divorce, I grew up wanting a different life. I swore I would never have a family and put them through that mess. I would do whatever it took to stay with my spouse for my children.
One day, when I was running errands with my kids during a particularly horrible rough patch with my husband, I was deep in thought about how to fix our situation. Then I saw mutual friends of ours, who were going through a divorce, were in a gas station parking lot, trading off their kids. Their pain was palpable. After witnessing the way they looked at each other, I thought, that can never be us. I wouldn't be able to bear it.
We dug in our heels for another six years. We tried and tried and ultimately failed to repair our marriage. My ex and I found being together more unbearable than trying to stay under one roof for the kids.
When we first talked about separating a year ago, the room felt heavy with guilt, regret and shame. If I am being honest, I still have lots of guilt, even a little regret. But I had to let go of the shame. I needed to stop taking other people's advice: "Try this counselor," "Take a vacation together" or "We went through tough times, too. You'll get over it." It felt like a form of shaming. Maybe it wasn't ...
Through the process, I realized everyone's relationships were different. I haven't told anyone every single detail as to why my marriage was falling apart simply because I didn't want to. And that is OK. I don't owe that to anyone.
As a writer, I have been very open about my divorce, although I initially didn't think I would be this way. I figured I would only tell a handful of people and try to keep it quiet as best I could because I was ashamed. I changed my mind one evening after walking through my ex's new condo. While I was trying to get used to my new normal, I felt the need to reach out to other women who had been through the same things I was going through.