If you asked me one year ago about my life and my family, I would have told you two things:
- I have the most wonderful son who has enriched my life in every way imaginable.
- I have a supportive partner, husband, and best friend who has been there for me every step of the way.
Looking back, it’s fascinating, because I’m only a month away from the one year anniversary of hearing that my husband didn’t love me anymore. If you were me, you’d never have been so shocked. You’d never have felt so betrayed, scared, alone, frustrated, angry, confused, and “up shit creek”. There’s nothing like having 7+ years of your life entwined with someone else’s: a home, a child, dogs, and a ton of detangling to do and no one to take it on but you.
Those first couple of months were agony. I’d spend moments shifting back and forth between regret for things I might have done in the past, a desire to mend the relationship, and an independent fire that kept me putting one foot in front of the other. It was easy to focus on logistics — I had a house to sell, a horse and a dog to rehome, a new house to seek out, new daycare to find and plan for, new separate finances to consider for the first time, a new future to plan. So much planning and details, so it was convenient for me to concentrate on those and not really allow myself to grieve. Thank goodness for my online mom’s group, because they were my rock.
It wasn’t until 3-4 months post-separation that shit really hit me. When I was moved into my new house, when I put Henry to bed and moseyed downstairs and turned on the television. I could watch whatever I wanted. A joy, perhaps, but at the time it felt like suffocation. I started to think about what these separate lives would look like. About what my day-to-day had become — a sensationally lonely experience (if you’ve never spent the vast majority of your day and night without adult conversation, it’s pretty isolating).
I had a bit of a minor freakout. There was even a moment where I messaged my ex-husband and told him how lonely I was. To which he replied something like — “I’m sorry, but I’m not.” After he said that, I realized that it was time to pick myself up and fix whatever broken bits had been shattered alongside my marriage. The realization that I was sitting home lamenting while my former partner was enjoying his new life? That kicked me into gear. Because honestly, fuck that. I’ve never been one to dwell, but especially not when it’s unrequited.
I gave myself those weeks of grief, but all the while maintaining a complete sense of normalcy for Henry. I never wanted him to see me cry about this. All I ever wanted was a stable home life for him, which I firmly believe I’ve successfully managed to provide for him even if it’s a home with just one parent. He’s always been the center of my world. Maybe that’s at my detriment, but my cup is filled when he is happy. Providing for him is my joy, and I know in my heart that I do my very best at that every day.
Once I emerged and made it out to the other side, I saw a clarity and a sense of being that I didn’t really experience before. Having to balance love for a partner and for a child (or more than one child) is actually really difficult. It’s a surprising part of marriage-after-babies that a lot of people don’t talk about — when a baby comes along you love them differently. In some ways, you love them more. And love is all-encompassing and exhausting. I truly believe that in many aspects, it’s easier for me to be a single mom. I live each day for him. My choices that I make, even the ones that seem self-centered — they’re for the sake of my son having a great life with people who love him.
The other side is beautiful. I feel strong, and confident, and full of a spirit that drives me and motivates me to be a better person each day. Not only am I going to make it, but I’m going to do well. I’m a good person with her heart and motivations in the right place, and it’s only up from here.