This is not my first marriage. I was married once before. It was a long time ago, when I was still in school. It lasted less than a year. We didn't have any children, a fact that makes me wish I were religious so I'd have a deity to thank every day for the rest of my life.
It ended badly. It's likely he believes to this day that I left him in order to be with someone else. What actually happened is that I left him in order to get the hell away from him. I can understand why he would prefer his theory.
The greatest relief I have ever felt in my life was when I got out of that marriage. I have never wondered if I did the right thing. I have never regretted it. It was one of the best decisions of my entire life.
We haven't been in touch since we separated. About once a year, I feel curious about what's going on with him. I wish we had mutual friends who could fill me in; instead, I have Google. I rarely find anything informative. A big shock was the year a minor celebrity with his same name died, and so when I searched I got pages of obituaries and memorials.
Last night I searched. I found a blog. It's his wife's.
The blog is for their work, so personal details are scarce. Still, there are some. There are also some photos. I looked through every single post. I learned that he is living with his wife in the country he'd wanted us to live in, and that they are doing the work he'd wanted us to do. They have a son, and they've given him the name that he and I had agreed on. This reminds me of a book I read where a woman's groom ditched her a couple of months before the wedding; she kept her dress and all her church/catering reservations, and just found a new groom.
The peek I got into the life he had in mind for us made me so grateful for my own life, I don't even know how to adequately express it. My mouth is dry and my jaw is tingling with nausea, and I have the feeling you have when you wake up from a terrible dream and you just want to pet everything in your house because it's there after all. Paul may drive me nuts with his inconsiderate thoughtlessness (this morning he read in the shower even though he knows that means there won't be enough hot water for my shower) and his periodic idiocy (how many times is he going to stuff food down the drain?), but at least we have the same rough idea about how we want to live our lives, and about what we want to be doing in the future. We have roughly the same principles and ideals, roughly the same ideas of what's right and what's wrong, roughly the same goals for our children's upbringing. The thought of being bound to someone whose principles and ideas were in fact repellent to me makes me feel like I can't get enough air.
One reason I don't often mention my divorce is that people think divorce is such a terrible, sad thing. They're thinking of their own marriages, and how awful it would feel to have those marriages end. That's not the right way to think of it. If you're a liberal agnostic Democrat, imagine being married to a missionary for the Religious Right. If you're a conservative Christian, imagine being married to a gay Wiccan abortion doctor. Now imagine getting out of it. The marriage was a terrible, sad thing; the divorce was wonderful. I am reminded of this when I see what could have been my future.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...