The Moment I Knew

04/06/2011 08:41 pm ET | Updated Jun 06, 2011
  • Jill Brooke Author, "The Need to Say No: How to be Bullish and Not Bullied"

One night I was sick with the flu....I used to joke that I had the curse of competency in that I required very little and was happy to be a full time cheerleader, chef, social director and career girl who also brought home some bacon too.. But this night, coughing and feverish, I said, "Honey, can you get me a cup of tea?

Alright," he sighed, reluctantly grabbing his boxers, putting them on and trundling downstairs to the kitchen with its yellow suns painted on French country wallpaper. .

He didn't even have to turn on the oven or find the black and white tea kettle we had been given as a wedding gift since we had an automatic hot water dispenser. All he had to do was get a mug, a tea bag and a little sugar. Yet he was simmering with annoyance at this little request.

"Here," he grunted, handing me the tea.

At that moment, I saw clearly that it was not his pleasure to please me. A surge of disgust ran through my body making me sick. "It's all about me taking care of him. Always has been."

The guy didn't even know that I liked two sugars in my tea, not one. How can you be married to someone and not know how they like their coffee or tea? That tells you something.

When friends ask me why I got divorced, can I really say my breaking point was because of Earl Grey? Can a marriage's demise really be narrowed to one incident or event? No. It's the layers of disappointment that marinate year after year until the breaking point, until it becomes well, unappetizing.

My annoyances with him had been brewing for some time. While he was out of work, I was working and needed to be at the office the following day for a series of meetings. That night yet another basketball game was on - and he didn't want to be inconvenienced. Nor had he been willing to watch another TV show that I wanted to see since I was not only sick to my stomach but also sick of college basketball. Where was the give and take? What he wanted was a relationship where he was the star quarterback and I was the adoring cheerleader and it was no longer working for me.

Now years later, and happily remarried, whenever I go grocery shopping and look at Earl Grey tea bags, I feel gratitude. Aside from buying Earl Grey, I also now stock my fridge with foods that give me pleasure and cater to my tastes. There is no more Lipton tea bags - the brand he liked - nor two types of mayonnaises. My ex-husband liked Kraft, I like Hellman's.

Now with my grocery cart, I pass by the condiment shelf and literally look at the Miracle Whip jar and happily push my cart away. No more Chris. No more Miracle Whip.

Don't you think that for every divorced person there is be some food that reminds you of the ex? For me it's Earl Grey and Helman's. What's yours?