I’d confided to A that I was expecting people wouldn’t understand, and would judge me, for giving up an 18 year marriage when there was no infidelity or abuse. Especially when it will involve giving primary custody to my husband instead of claiming that for myself.
People won’t see it as me making the best bad choice, they’ll see it as me just not having tried hard enough – being selfish, instead of sacrificing.
My expectations are being born out already.
I told my sister J about what I’d been going through, and while she was surprised I’d lasted so long, it seems she was surprised I hadn’t given my husband an ultimatum and forced change sooner. Because she’s not okay with my plan. She thinks I’m being selfish and that I should just keep pushing myself through for the sake of not hurting my children.
Happiness isn’t everything, she said.
I’m a little beyond ‘happiness isn’t everything.’ By 2018 I literally couldn’t remember what being happy felt like. I’d call to mind memories of events when I knew I was happy, and the memories would be blank, emotionally. It was alarming. I am pretty sure that’s indicative of my mental health having reached a terrifying low.
I poured 16 years into marriage and motherhood, and ended up in a place where I couldn’t remember what happiness felt like. I’m not sure how much more evidence is needed that existing this way can’t provide me with even minimal levels of happiness.
I’m only human. I can’t sustain my life without -some- happiness.
I had to tell J that me being divorced but present in their lives is better for my children than for me to be dead, or in a mental hospital. There aren’t any good choices, now, there’s just the best bad choice.
I was simultaneously chatting with A, expressing my exasperation over J’s stance, and A pointed out that if I were a man, I’d be congratulated for staying actively involved in my children’s lives after divorce. She’s right. Once again, another way my life would have been easier if I’d been born with a dick instead of a vagina.
I’m taking it slow. I’m giving the marriage one last chance. But I’m not going to literally sacrifice my life or reach a point where my psyche has been damaged beyond the possibility of repair rather than put my children through a divorce.
I should matter, too. I’m alive, too. I suffer, too.
And I need enough happiness to live on.