“Hello Friend(s), David and I have important news to share because we care about you and think you should hear it from us directly. We are amicably getting divorced. David and Iggy Pup are staying in Door County. Laura and Janis are living in Madison. We appreciate your love for both of us and we both wish we can all remain friends. There are no sides here. There is only respect and appreciation for moving forward as authentically and healthy as possible. This also means we ask for your equal love and support (please don’t be shy to either one of us). We both need it and love you for it in this especially challenging time. Thank you so very much for your friendship, David and Laura.”
Counselor Dude asked me to write this months ago. He was going to share it with my husband so he could approve it, request some changes, what have you, so eventually we both had a consistent message to use. Gossip prevention. Apparently this was never shared with my husband and we (at least I) were told several times not to use it yet, “not quite yet,” several times. The excuse was that my husband wasn’t ready yet, or it wasn’t the right time yet, too soon, needed to get divorce forms figured out yet… Then holidays dropped down on us. Several friends just outside the inner circle assumed we were still together and happy, wishing the two of us the happiest of holidays.
In the meantime we were trying to figure out who could help us review the divorce forms to ensure accuracy and that we were not screwing it up. Free help in this regard was scarce due to COVID. Anxiety levels remained high- adding to it due to improperly filing for divorce was not recommended. It looked so easy to screw up by not checking the right box or not sending in the right forms or missing a line item…
Monday, December 21st, this is Counselor Dude’s response to my inquiry on using the statement:
“My bad, really. Being a guy who doesn’t think much on conventional terms, I tend to forget the compelling power of conventional thought. I figured you guys would have just gotten around to telling people the what-is as it went. But clearly this still isn’t happening, so yeah, I think it’s high time to goose this process. However, I DON’T think a blanket e-mail is the right way to do this. Both because it denies Dave the chance to get the word out on his end, and because it’s the kind of thing you should tell people one-on-one. So figure out a few people who mean the most, and e-mail them directly. Better yet, call. Let word disseminate gradually, though continue to inform people as you go so it doesn’t all turn into gossip (it appears your circle DOES like to gossip).”
The entire point of putting the joint statement out earlier versus later was exactly for the prevention of stupid gossip. We were living in a tiny small-town-dotted peninsula of Northeastern Wisconsin. Gossip runs rampant, worse than COVID-19. You can accidentally catch the latest gossip while walking to the post office or at a stop light. No matter what anyone can do to try to avoid it, people trap you in gossip against your will. It’s everywhere and terribly contagious and leaves one feeling itchy and sour from heavy exposure. Some people never get rid of it, it sticks to them like fly paper. Others are so addicted to it they seek it out like pig’s rooting around for truffles. It’s a terrible terrible disease. I’m not a fan of the gift of gossip.
I’m also not certain where “conventional terms” and “compelling power of conventional thought” came into the picture of communicating the divorce news to friends… The new concern though is that my husband probably thinks I’m a total asshole because now I am not entirely certain the mediator Counselor Dude is exactly sharing what I want to relay or all of the responsible information I put together to share for a clean amicable divorce. And he gets cryptic with important stuff like the division of assets and what information David has to share. We were both encouraged to get all the numbers together and we were going to come up with an agreement on who gets what, how it is all split up. This too got pushed off and pushed off and now is an undone item on the checklist. I can’t talk to my husband myself though, as he gets too triggered when he hears my voice (and he probably thinks I’m an asshole). This leaves me no choice but to rely on the translator, and I am certain much is lost if not totally left out of my intended messages. Does this feel painful yet? How about this?
It took several emails to get the confirmation that my husband did successfully meet face-to-face with someone who helped us file for divorce properly. The paperwork is officially filed. Hell if I know as of what day, but I guess it was a day earlier this week. So we get divorce for Christmas. Not exactly something to wrap in shiny bright paper and tie up in a curly bow. All I can hope is that for each of us it brings relief and a fresh start to the New Year.
I read my statement we were both supposed to be able to use and I think it’s good. I really do. And I believe it. That is my truth. At one point I thought it was our truth. Joint truth. But I never heard what David thought of it, or if it was ever shared with him. The only news I ever got from him through the Counselor Dude was when he was visiting friends in Madison and where I needed to steer clear, that he never wanted to go back to the house (my childhood home he was trying to convince me we needed to buy until I finally gave stronger reasons why NOT to buy it), and that he potentially might be moving to Milwaukee. That’s all I know. That and, since just yesterday, that he actually filed for the divorce and was able to do so fairly easily because I was not contesting it. It shouldn’t take several emails to get this news, in my amateur divorcee opinion.
How do I feel? Relieved that the ugly annoying paperwork is filed. Strange that I know so little now about the life partner who was a major part of my life since 1998. Lonely, I think especially because of the exaggerated distance I’ve felt recently through the Counselor Dude as his lack of relayed information is exposed. Frustrated with Counselor Dude. Sad for my husband. Sad for the dogs who loved each other so much and now can’t see each other because their humans have issues seeing each other. Like a statistic. Many couples face divorce this pressure-cooker-quarantine-life year. Healthy. I’ve been eating better and getting better exercise ever since I left. Excited to discover even more of myself again and to make life my own. Lucky to be so well supported by so many incredibly fabulous friends. Eager to see new places and meet new people in post-COVID times. Thirsty for a peaceful mind. Inspired to write and write and write.
I guess that’s my gift this Christmas, many a silent night for reflection and writing, as my authentic single self.
Give your friends some extra virtual love this holiday season, especially the single ones. I never realized how sad and lonely the holidays could be until this year. It’s OK- with good food, the sweet comforting company of a great puppy, and all day check-ins from amazing friends, it’s all going to be OK. I can’t promise though that the sting of feeling better off without the man I was married to for 17 years, and the sting that he’ll be so much better off without me, won’t linger and flare up like a hornet sting on the heart.
Divorce for Christmas. What a painfully silent night. Well, nowhere to go but forward from here.
Thank you for reading. I welcome any questions or comments.