Monday, October 1, 2007

The Bitter Divorcee Explains it All for You

After reading Mommy Needs Coffee's latest blog, I had to respond in my own. I find myself trying to explain to people why I'm bitter, why I come across as a "man-hater." It gets exhausting after a while.
I hate being a cliche, I really do. Being a person who dislikes labels, it's hard for me to accept that in many ways I've become one.
At the same time, how could I not?!?
I tried standing by my man; my man drove me over the edge. I tried believing in love; love only made it harder to leave. I even tried believing in marriage, but that didn't mean that my marriage believed in me.
I end up in therapy again at least once a year since my separation 4 years ago. I don't like having to go. I don't like having to admit that I still need help with this. I don't like admitting I'm still not over it.
But when everything you believed in has been thoroughly crushed, it doesn't just heal with time. Particularly since so much of that time is still spent picking up the pieces. I mean, I can't just fall apart whenever I want to! I'm still raising children, going to work, and spending most of my time caring for others. (Not that I resent that, of course, but it's just a fact that allows me less time to deal with my own crap.)
My friend, K, and I have been emailing about the issue of our deadbeat exes. While we both know we can't squeeze blood from a turnip, it still seems ridiculous that we're always expected to make up the financial differences even when the courts have found our exes to be financially liable. Besides it not being fair (which is a whole issue in and of itself), there's the issue that we do squeeze blood from turnips all the time! I don't know how, but I paid for the uniforms, I paid for the Scholastic books, I paid for the car mechanic, and my kids still didn't go hungry, and we have a roof over our head. So the fact is, I can squeeze it - why can't my ex?
Then there's the fact that I just know so many mothers who are in my same position; divorced from substance abusers and/or just plain old jerks that didn't live up to their end of the bargain. And while I know SO many women who have been through this, I only know one man (who was married to a flake, not a substance abuser). So how can this life experience not color how I look at men?!?
How could the divorce process not color me against marriage? What's laughable is, they apparently make the process "difficult" to discourage divorce. First of all, really? What if it were you that was married to a drug addict who screwed up your credit and your ability to get a checking account, let alone qualify for a mortgage? Does society really want to encourage me to stay with a man who steals cash from his own wife?!?
And second of all, what the process did was discourage me from ever wanting to marry again. Never, ever again do I want to take someone else's adult responsibilities on.
I also hear that I'm not in a relationship because I'm just too "scared." I've thought about this one a lot. It's not fear, it's exhaustion. And lack of quality men out there. It's not a cliche (or, it's a cliche for a reason): all the good ones are taken. And do you really think I'm ever, ever going to "settle" again? I couldn't settle for the girls' father...I'm not going to "settle" for someone who could never care or love these kids even the way he does!
But back to exhaustion for a minute: I spend my mornings rushing kids to get ready to go to school. Then I go to work where I'm supposed to leave all of that behind and care for my lawyers. Then I go back home to make dinner, help kids with homework, give them baths, get them to bed at a decent hour...and then, I get to escape into a book or tv show or movie. I'm not really sure where I would find the time or energy to care about someone else's needs at this point, or even their day. So, yeah, another relationship? Just sounds like more work to me!
So I'm completely aware that this all makes me the "bitter divorcee," but again, I ask...how could it not?
Something came up recently where my level of happiness was in question. I don't know if I'm "happy" or not. I know I have moments of sheer joy with my kids, and sheer hell. I know I can laugh, and I know I still cry sometimes. So, to wrap this up neatly with a song, I always go back to "For Now" from Avenue Q. The last line sums it up "everything in life is only for now."
I'm happy sometimes, I'm not so much at others. The thing is, I don't try to answer whether or not I'm a "happy person" anymore. I just try to recognize the joyful moments, and revel in them as long as I can.
But my natural state is probably more "bitter." And, really, can you blame me?

1 comment:

Annie said...

Hi April,

I realize this is an old post but I saw it and wanted to comment anyway. I am interested in where things are for you now that several more years have gone by?