Yesterday my ex-husband (that’s a word that’ll make you feel old) and I finalized our divorce. It took six months and more expensive trips to Downtown Detroit than I could afford.
It was a semi-strange feeling. Signing our divorce decree in the same building where we signed our marriage certificate. Our marriage officially ending just floors from where it officially began. There was also a sense of relief. Waiting to finalize the divorce was like holding my breath. Being separated, but not legally, was like living in limbo.
But now that everything is official, and that chapter is closed…where do I go from here?
As I sat in the hallway waiting for the courtroom to open, I heard an attorney talking to his client about divorce. He compared the “after” to the grieving process you go through when someone dies. Afterall, it is the death of a relationship. It’s also the death of an old life, and the birth of a new one.
He told his client about the feelings of anger and sadness people experience. A process that typically subsides in about 9 months. In my case, I’m neither angry or sad about my divorce. If anything, I’m more so relieved that we can both move on to find what we want and need, whether it be mates or careers or hobbies.
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The fact that we have a daughter means that although we’re no longer together, it isn’t as if we can just walk away and never see each other again. Something I’m a little less certain about is what, when and how to tell the kids. I mean, they are aware we are no longer together. We haven’t resided in the same home since January. But there’s still something about making that announcement that everything is final that feels scary and difficult.
I know my 10-year-old would understand the meaning of the “D-Word.” But would I even gain anything by trying to explain to a 6-year-old what a divorce is and what it means? I guess that’s a decision that will have to be weighed.
I’m also aware that this is when the real co-parenting starts. We’ve gotten along pretty peacefully so far in terms of handing off our daughter between one another. Her happiness and mental health is my priority, so whatever needs to be maintained is what I’m willing to do.
I guess when it comes down to it, though, I really don’t know what’s next. My thoughts feel as jumbled as this post. What I do know is that everything happens for a reason. And while I don’t know what’s to come, I’m excited and optimistic that big things are going to happen.
But most of all…I’m just looking forward to finally being happy.