And left a list of things I no longer have.
The stress of divorce and not knowing how I’ll pay my bills has taken away my voice. Or in this case, my words. My mind draws a blank when usually I can’t get to the laptop fast enough to get it all down before my thoughts are replaced by new ones.
All I can think about now is what I don’t have.
- The first thing I don’t have is security.
Honestly, security is just an illusion we buy into anyway. We’re never as safe as we think we are. I was married to the one man on earth who I thought would never cheat on me. I felt completely safe in that knowledge. Then I found irrefutable proof he was seeing someone else.
He works away so I’m sure there have been countless others. He’s obviously very good at hiding things. The proof was gone a couple of seconds after I discovered it.
Unfortunately for him, I’m pretty quick with my screenshot abilities, so his denial of the truth meant nothing to me.
The security I thought I had was a joke. My castle was built of sand and could’ve crumbled at any time. I just didn’t know it.
2. The next thing I don’t have is money.
Not enough, anyway. When I booted him, I booted the one who has made most of the money in our household. I have a good job, but my earning potential is about a quarter of his. I have benefits he doesn’t have, like good insurance, retirement, holiday pay, and weekends off. I just don’t have a paycheck that meets the needs of the household.
3. I don’t have the luxury of knowing what to call my husband.
We’re at the awkward stage between married and not married. What is that? I don’t know. So, when I talk about him (and I do, a lot), I have to say his name when I’d rather not. He’s not a real person to me anymore. He’s the guy who betrayed my trust and broke my heart. Since I won’t call him the things he deserves to be called, and I can’t call him my ex, I find myself stumbling over any mention of…him.
4. I don’t have protection.
Apparently, it doesn’t matter how old you are. When you become single, you become prey. My social media has blown up with friend requests from men who immediately jump in my inbox trying to “get to know me.” Please. Dude. I’m not even divorced yet, and, oh yeah. I don’t care. Go away.
5. I don’t have basic respect.
He’s dating her in our small town in front of everyone and it’s like a huge slap in my face. I have the choice of pretending not to be aware of it or to not care that he’s flaunting it. I’m not sure I do care for caring’s sake. It’s embarrassing for me the way his narcissism drives him to do something that lowdown and dirty. He obviously wants me and everyone else to know he traded me for her. And he traded way down, God forgive me for saying so.
The least he could have done is picked someone BETTER than me.
6. I don’t have my family—not all of it.
My step kids aren’t going to keep coming to see me, and I love them like my own. It’s going to be awkward for them, and I hate that. It’s not fair that they should bear the brunt of their father’s bad decisions.
I do wish I could be a fly on the wall when they find out who he’s with now. That’s not going to go well. As a matter of fact, it’s going to go extremely badly.
Out of all the things I don’t have now, I’ll miss my stepchildren the most.
Divorce is cruel. I never would’ve chosen to go this route if I could’ve done anything else. Cheating is a deal breaker. I didn’t sign up for that.
I’m sure a lot more things will occur to me as I get my thoughts back. A break-up leaves you stunned and disbelieving, grappling for a way to build a new life out of the fragments of the old one.
The betrayal hurt, but I’ve survived much worse. Now it’s time to regroup and get on my feet again. My life isn’t going to be what I thought it was. My plan is to make it better, despite what he did. His moral failure didn’t destroy me. I’ll pray it doesn’t destroy him either.
Even though divorce is taking some things from me, it is also proving to be a blessing in some ways.
- I have the chance to start over.
All those dreams he kept trying to crush can be pursued even more now! I don’t have to be anything but who I am. I can reach as high as I want to and not worry about threatening someone else’s identity in any way.
- I have freedom.
If I want to stay up all night writing, I can do it without making any explanations to another person. I can go wherever I want to go for however long I want to be there and not be worried someone is going to question my every movement (irony, given the fact he was the one cheating). I answer to myself, which is great because I’m fully capable and have always been a responsible person. I didn’t get married to have a parent or be under anyone’s control.
- I have self-respect.
Not staying in a relationship where I was not being respected and where he was being unfaithful was the best decision I could’ve made for my life. I can look at myself in the mirror and know I’ve done the right thing. I can be an example to other people who may be watching to see how I’ll react.
Knowing I didn’t choose the pseudo-security a more financially beneficial position afforded me makes me hold my head a little higher even while I hunt for change in the bottom of my purse. It is way better to be broke and have self-respect than to be financially well off without it.
- I have “me” back.
Out of all the things this break-up has given me, this one is the best. He didn’t break me. The parts of me that were hidden for a long time came bursting forth in a single moment of clarity, when I realized I didn’t need another person to validate me.
God has always taken care of me. I struggled for years thinking I had to take care of myself or grasp the security I found in a bad relationship.
All I really had to do was surrender the outcome.
I can’t control the universe. I didn’t make him cheat and couldn’t have prevented it. It was his fault, not mine. It’s true I don’t have some things because of it, and I’m struggling for words right now. They’ll come back. They always do.