I found out this week that my divorce was finalized. I forwarded the email and information from ecourts to my ex with the message “You and __ can get married now ❤ ”
His response included the sentence, “I know you wanted this over with too so I’m glad.”
When I was in group therapy for an eating disorder, if I or anyone else wandered too deeply into intellectualizing, we were encouraged to share how we felt even if it didn’t make sense. Acknowledging that feelings didn’t always make sense, that they could even be contradictory to the objective facts of a situation, was an important step in learning to tolerate our feelings.
The “rational” me knows that all he meant by “this” was “this last phase of the process.” He’s been having a rough time lately, so a response from me would be petty at best and a manipulation at worst. The rational me says “so what if he thinks I’m doing just fine, getting what I want, and my life is hunky-dory?.” I act on what rational me says; I don’t bother to correct him.
I keep thinking about this, though. I don’t understand how what I wanted figured into this whole situation. I mean, yes, my daughter sleeps at my house five nights a week, and I got the cats. But most everything is what I “want” only in the sense that once I found out that he was cheating, I operated in reality and accepted that my best option was to actively pursue something resembling “a very close second.”
Rational me knows that the end justifies the means, because I have a good life and we are kickass coparents. Rational me can’t even picture how today would look if he’d never left or if we had reconciled, maybe because I stopped fantasizing about the latter once I found the missing piece (his fiancee). Rational me knows that I shouldn’t be any less sad that, for example, the summer of 2012 (maybe the happiest period of my life) is over than I would be if we were still together, because divorcing doesn’t change the past.
Irrational me screams HOW THE FUCK HAVE YOU MANAGED TO CONVINCE YOURSELF THAT YOU’RE GLAD FOR ANY OTHER REASONS THAN (1) YOU’RE GETTING WHAT YOU WANTED–TO MARRY THE WOMAN WITH WHOM YOU CHEATED ON ME AND (2) THIS MEANS YOU HAVE LESS THINGS THAT YOU HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH THE REALITY YOU CREATED BY RUNNING TO SONEONE ELSE INSTEAD OF WORKING ON YOUR MARRIAGE?
I just have to tolerate/integrate this and keep moving forward, whatever that means.
I can’t even remember what it was that I said to my daughter this week referencing having been married to her daddy in the past, but she had such a non-reaction to it that it made me pause. I had this moment of realization: not only does she not remember us being married, the fact that we were married is absolutely meaningless to her.
I kept my engagement ring, because it’s pretty, it has diamonds, and I want her to have it when she’s older. I’ve gone back and forth about my wedding dress–keep in case she wants to play in it, or donate it to somewhere like Angel Gowns?
I still have my engagement ring, our wedding album, and all of our letters. I’m not ashamed to admit that that’s for me–my daughter will probably never ask to see the pictures. But that’s okay, it doesn’t mean I’m not “over” him. It’s just better for me to acknowledge that it was a huge part of my life than it is for me to avoid seeing the evidence. It’s in a container in my attic–I can look or not look. I do want to donate my dress (although what would really be helpful would be if I were a skilled seamstress to make a gown, because that’s a lot harder to find).
I wanted some sort of “mourning” ritual, though, and I’m enough of a witch to need to do it when the moon is waning. Last night, I went into the attic and threw out some things from our past that I don’t need to keep because I’ll never use them again. Then, I put on my wedding band one last time and drove to the beach.
Driving on the narrow bridges that lead to the barrier island reminded me of a funeral procession, but I was the only one on the road. I listened to “The Bride” by Bat for Lashes and cried. It took a while to figure out how to get close to the beach…all of the fields were barricaded off. Eventually, I found a broken barricade and made my way to the beach. It was so dark that I couldn’t see where the ground went from concrete to sand, but the lights that were on in the building that housed bathrooms were this horrible, lurid yellow.
When I saw the video for “In God’s House,” the lights inside the car reminded me of something from a morgue, but I never matched it with an exact scene.
Maybe time is flexible, because the lights in the bath house matched exactly with the scene from the video.
The walk was so silent that it was frightening.
I tried to take a picture of the water, or at least the stars in above me where the clouds had opened up, but the only useful picture I got was behind me.
I stopped futzing around, walked a little bit into the water, and tossed my wedding ring. I didn’t feel it leave my fingertips.
I turned around and walked away.
As I was making my way back onto the road, I saw a stag, and I stopped. I’d never been so close to a deer before. He was right next to my car, eating. After a few seconds, he got shy and backed up, and I moved on.
I know that deer live down there, but I had never seen one, so the egocentric part of me that wants to believe in something magical or spiritual thinks there is a meaning to it. I saw three last night (the other two were on the side of the highway). Do you know how some people interpret seeing the number 11 as a sign from above? My number is three. Three is a number of completion, but that’s too tidy for me. If throwing my wedding ring into the ocean meant I’d stop feeling sad because of my lonely heart and failed marriage, I’d have tossed it years ago.
Then again, thinking that there is meaning in seeing a deer up close to pretty tidy, but I find comfort in magic until I’m positive it doesn’t exist.