Divorce -- sadly, it's so common, we almost have to consider it a part of the marriage ceremony. I'm going to weigh in on this issue from a woman's perspective -- duh, and also and perhaps more importantly from a mother's perspective, and yes, from the family perspective -- i.e., from the kids.
From the get-go, I'll state for the record that I've been happily, blissfully married this time, for twenty three years to a man that I am bonded with, body and soul. He's my friend, lover, and partner, genetic father of two of my children, legal, emotional and willing father of all of my children, and pertinent to this blog, he is my third husband.
Yes, along with nearly 50 percent of you, I've been divorced. In fact, I have been married and divorced twice. My first marriage produced my first two precious daughters -- my third, current and final marriage (yes, I'm willing to write this in blood), has produced my third daughter and my only son.
At the time of my first divorce, when I was young and in the midst of living day-to-day, I didn't understand what the consequences of living day-to-day would be. I didn't know how difficult divorce would be for two young children - aged two and four. But I did understand survival. So, when marital love didn't work, and marital life became so complicated that I couldn't handle it, I changed and moved on, and of course, my young daughters came with me. I thought as long as they were with me, they would be fine. And I did whatever I needed to do to survive.
Alas in hindsight, I have discovered that my multiple dives back into the sea of love without a life raft -- seeking things I couldn't explain with tools I didn't have -- ultimately hurt two little girls; two autonomous individuals besides the two adults who originally entered into a marriage by consent. This is important. My inexperience in life and love, and my missteps in both, significantly hurt them. Two little toddlers -- scared to change homes, frightened about changing their usual circumstances, worried about me going to work, wondering about their daddy's comings and goings, worrying about seeing mommy sad, seeing new people -- general confusion. The Unknown. Fear.
My daughters have never divulged their feelings about my divorces, but I'm aware that my "stuff" hurt them.
Fortunately for all of my kids, I am not entirely without my good points. I love my daughters (and my son) beyond measure, and I am tenacious. I did find myself, and I did discover a love in me that was worth sharing with another human being. Now my grown daughters have children of their own, and they are well aware of what kind of havoc divorce can wreck upon a child's life. They also know that sometimes divorce is the best and only answer, as long as love and compassion and continuity are all there in the mix somewhere. LIfe is messy - we can't always color perfectly within the lines, but that doesn't mean the finished drawing is any less beautiful.
I constantly have to remind myself that I never set out to hurt my children -- and even now as I write this, though I am not on a guilt trip, I have moments of remorse, and feelings of regret for things I did or did not do.
Since I've learned a thing or two in my multiple spins around the block, I felt I could take the liberty of stating the obvious fact that kids can get wounded when divorce bombs are dropped. So, if going your separate ways is prudent, then so be it. It happens, sadly, statistically, about fifty percent of the time. So, if it happens in your life, think beyond your wallet, your crotch and your ego, to the human beings in your midst, and try to be kind to each other. Be grown up and civil about it. Try to remember what brought you together in the first place. Protect the kids. Try to clear the mine fields. Because as we know... mines can lay buried for years.