I've been dreading writing this post for months.
This is the official announcement post, to let people know that Gary and I have been living separately since November, and are in the process of formalizing a permanent separation.
My mom has asked me why in about a zillion different ways. Which is interesting because if I know anything about divorce from watching friends, it’s that you don’t actually get an answer to the why question for years. And my answer would be different from Gary’s, and I don’t feel comfortable sharing one side of the story as though it is both… so I won’t be answering the question of why.
There’s another reason I won’t be answering that question. I’ve learned from watching others (and from my own recent experiences) is that it’s easy to feel the urge to justify a divorce by vilifying the other person. As though for the decision to separate to be legitimate, one of us has to be a bad guy.
Neither Gary or I is a bad guy in this. We were always kind to one another, and we continue to be kind to one another. Our marriage was not toxic or evil, but it is no longer the right choice for the people we have grown into over the years. Not every good marriage ends with a death. It took us a couple of years, I think, to realize that ours had concluded, and those were hard years. But for the most part, it was a very good marriage, and I’m grateful to have been in it.
Another question people have asked is how we’re all doing. The answer is, we’re shellshocked and hurt and on some days angry… and also better than we’ve been in years. The kids are adjusting to a new vision of their family, but they also tell me how they feel like they’ve gotten each of us “back”... now that we’re fully present again and not constantly off on walks or staring blankly at screens. I can’t and won’t speak for Gary, but I will say I am heartbroken and also strangely joyful and rooted and like myself again. And discovering that the cliche of “it’s a bad idea to stay for the kids” is truer than I could have imagined.
I know I’ve written a ton about Gary and I’s relationship, and so this might come as a shock to some of you, as it did to us. People have said “but you have always been so good to each other” and they’re right, and we have, and we’re giving everything we can to continuing to be good to each other. I don’t believe exes have to be enemies, and I’m grateful for all of the people I know who have separated in ways that are graceful and kind and loving, and charted a path for me.
For months I’ve tried to figure out the right way to explain this. I don’t have it.
This is just really hard. It’s just one of those times where you see the pain and know you have to lean into it, but it takes everything you have.
Living is taking everything I have right now.
But I know that there are many, many, brilliant and wonderful people who have made it through this and come out the other side better and deeper and more real.
So I know it can be done.