Tag Archives: Coping with Divorce Stress

It Takes Two To Make a Relationship Work…

… or does it?

Princess Diana famously said, ‘There were three of us in our marriage, so it was a bit crowded.’

And then there’s that old chestnut, “It takes two to destroy a marriage.”

After my ex left me, I wrestled with both those sayings.

If it hadn’t been for my ex’s girlfriend (now wife) giving him an ultimatum, would he have ever left?

And if it takes two for a marriage to break down, then I must share 50% of the blame for the failure of mine. 

I asked my husband, ‘What did I do wrong?’ 

‘Nothing’, he replied.  ‘I just wanted more. I fell out of love with you and in love with her.’

But I continued to berate myself. I must have done something wrong, or there must have been something so wrong with me, that he would give up on our almost 40 year-old marriage without ever telling me he was unhappy. If he was prepared to go to pre-marriage counselling with his girlfriend to prevent them making the ‘mistakes’ we had, couldn’t he have suggested counselling for him and I before he decided to leave me? Maybe that way we could at least have tried to sort out what issues it appears we had?

What was the ‘more’ that I was so lacking?  The mental agony and guilt of wrestling with my ‘failure’ as a wife is, I’m sure, what led to me having a nervous breakdown in 2016.

And then a few months ago, I read this article https://pro.psychcentral.com/recovery-expert/2017/10/the-myth-of-it-takes-two-to-ruin-a-relationship/ and it was as if a weight lifted from my shoulders.  The article suggests that it’s not true that it take two for a marriage to fail.  It will fail if only one person is truly in that marriage.

If I’m 100% honest, there are probably some things I could have done that might have saved our marriage, but in the long run, I’m not sure they would have made a difference.  Given my ex later admitted he’d wanted out of our marriage for over 15 years, it means, for 15 years, there was only one of us in our marriage.

And it wasn’t him.

The reality is, we’re now divorced. He’s remarried. I’m rebuilding my life.

But the weight of that burden of guilt I carried has been somewhat eased.

On Being a Single Grandparent

My husband’s job took him away from home, so I spent a lot of time as a single-parent. Particularly when our kids were really young, he was often gone for weeks, months, and one time for over a year, with only two short visits home.

I loved my husband.  I love my kids and grandkids.  As immigrants, with extended family living thousands of miles away, I cherished our tiny family unit. When our kids got married and the first grandchild came along, it was wonderful seeing that family expand.

I loved it when my husband and I spent time with our little granddaughter, babysitting her for a few hours, or having her for a sleepover.  We took her to our local park, out for dinner or breakfast, and once – unsuccessfully – to the movies. Spending time with her, it was like we were getting a chance to make up for all the time we’d spent apart and unable to enjoy our own kids together when they were little.

So when my husband walked out on me, he didn’t just destroy our marriage.  Our family – us, our kids and grandkids – was shattered.

Three years later, I’m starting to find a new normal. But what our first granddaughter got to experience with her grandparents as a unit, no longer exists. And after years of being, at times, a single parent, I now find myself a single grandparent.

That was brought home to me the other day. My daughter and I were walking her son home from day home.  He was a bit fractious, so we played the One, two, three… wheeeeh, game with him.  I’m sure you know it.  The one where you each take one of the child’s hands, count to three, then swing him up for a big jump.  His mood quickly changed and within seconds he was giggling instead of grumpy.  I remember my ex and I doing that with our eldest granddaughter and her loving it, but we’ve never had that chance with our second granddaughter, grandson, or the grandchild on its way. And they’ve never had that chance with us.

And that makes me sad.

For us.

But mostly for them.

Our eldest granddaughter still remembers those days, and our separation both confuses and saddens her.

Needless to say, they do much better for presents nowadays than when my husband and I were together.

But does ‘stuff’ really make up for what they’ve lost?

What we’ve lost?