(As told to Team Bonobology)
They say a divorce is the worst thing that can happen in a marriage. It tears apart a family, hurtful words are exchanged and the pain is indescribable. People will offer free (and usually unwanted) advice and tell you to work on your marriage. But they don’t have to wake up with dread to face another day with a man they no longer love. When a woman wants a divorce, you have to trust that she has already done all that it takes to save the marriage and has exhausted all means. And more importantly, is ready to face whatever consequences are thrown her way. I want every woman to understand that divorce has some natural reactions that always fade away in time, and we can all pull through and arrive at the end as a much happier, stronger and positive person.
The final straw
After much deliberation and thought, one day I packed my bags and left my husband of two years. I stood strong that I wouldn’t be taken for granted, manipulated and treated like shit anymore; and towards the end I discovered his involvement with my very married best friend, which was the last straw. I left him standing there in shock, pain, agony and tears. And nothing gave me more satisfaction. Because I knew he would bounce back into a nasty person within a span of hours. I knew he would call our family and friends and anyone who would listen and craft a story to show him in great light while tainting me. He would do everything he could to vilify me.
What he didn’t take into account was my indifference, which only angered him more. I was sane and strong enough to withstand all that he threw my way – a woman has immense power when she has made up her mind. And with each insult, threat and manipulative move he only strengthened my conviction that leaving was the best option for my wellbeing.
I hurt his ego
The marriage was over a long time ago and the love was non-existent from both sides, but he couldn’t take the blow to his ego of me leaving him high and dry – and this is what fuelled his attack against me even more. He’d hoped it would be his decision to officially end it and not the other way around.
He attacked my family, relatives, friends and me. It was blitzkrieg on our characters, morals and values; he went so low that it was embarrassing for his ‘team’ as well. None of this surprised me in the least. But hearing that he did so, no doubt, pulled a sharp dagger across my heart. And it hurt even more that people were listening to him and judging me for leaving.
Once there was love
Ours was a love marriage, and I was madly in love with him despite all the warnings (and there were many). He made me so happy, words could not describe it. My love for him was undeniable, pure and beautiful. In hindsight I can see how unhealthy this was – me dropping everything for him, waiting for him to call, begging him to take me to dinner, and never once was it the other way around. Our issues and problems were present from the beginning, but I chose to ignore them. I fought everyone for him, while he sat back and managed to look like the ‘good one’. It became such an ingrained habit for me to defend him, that with time I became the ‘bitch’ and he was ‘the fun one’ and he laughed at me whenever I complained about it (another sign I should have picked up on).
Then the truth emerged
After marriage the ugliest truths surfaced – we were incompatible, our dreams didn’t match and he had serious anger management issues. We started fighting over nonsensical things, which became personally targeted rage attacks; hateful and spiteful words came out and the marriage started to deteriorate within months. His continuous disrespect left me wounded. After the initial shock that the person whom I loved so much was such a manipulative monster, I started to withdraw.
I endured a lot of pain on realising I had fought for him only to discover it was unappreciated and based on falsehoods. It hurts even now to think about it. His temper became a daily thing and everyday I prayed for him to not lose his cool. In his defence – he always got away with this kind of behaviour with his family, friends and exes. He treated me badly, but also because I let him. And because of that, he lost respect for me and believed that I would never leave. I know it takes two to tango.
And this started to bring out the worst in me as well.
From the girl who always smiled and laughed, I became the girl that refused to leave the house.
Initially I would be so upset if he went out alone, but by the second year I couldn’t wait for him to leave the house. He slept all day, loved a good party every night, surrounded himself with people who only listened to him and went by his every word. I, on the other hand despised any sort of ‘followers’. We took ‘opposites attract’ to a whole new level.
The ugly truths
Much later I found out he was pursuing other women behind my back, including my best friend, believing I would never find out. He tried to sleep with a family friend’s daughter at my brother’s wedding. I caught my best friend’s lipgloss in the bedroom when I returned from a weekend trip. I realised everyone but me knew about it. And my own friends were covering for him because they were scared of the outcome. I thank God for allowing this discovery only after I had mentally and emotionally checked out of the marriage – I am scared to even imagine otherwise. My world had collapsed enough.
Perspective and priorities
After I left I started to put everything into perspective, and set my priorities. I made a few conscious decisions. No contact with him of course, and anyone who was connected. The mature decision I took to actively not involve anyone in my divorce was constantly being broken by him, fuelling so much drama from his end. He called everyone to cry and raise sympathy. Nobody knew what was going through my mind and more importantly, how much I knew of his activities. I stopped talking to them altogether and decided that anyone with brains and a heart would understand why and when I’m ready to talk, they will be there for me. And if they’re not, they aren’t worth the worry and I’m better off without them. This maturity was the hardest to hold on.
In divorce there are no wins. It’s a breakdown of a family that was joined out of sheer love and for happiness. But in my case, I came out stronger, healthier, and happier. Divorce was truly the best part of my marriage. Society is still waiting for me to start screaming from the rooftops, misbehave and/or to badmouth him and her. I haven’t, nor is it in my interest to do so.
Whatever said and done, I loved both of them tremendously and they were a big part of my life at some point.
I may be scorned for that, but I will never stoop down to their level. I’ve been raised right. I know I’ve won, even though I’m not supposed to.