Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

Finally, absolutely

on May 16, 2014

“Oh good!” said my mum when I rang her this morning to tell her that I’d finally got divorced.  Then she laughed.  No-one would have believed, at my wedding 12 years ago, that my mum would ever welcome an announcement of divorce.  I’d always thought divorce parties were a strange thing to have – why would anyone be pleased to be divorced?  Well, after 9 1/4 happy years and 2 1/2 crappy years of marriage, I am delighted to have finally made it.  I’ve not really commented much on the experience here because, really, who likes to see other people’s dirty laundry? But I’ll do my best explain why I’m quite so pleased.

I spent the first six months after Ex-Husband’s surprise announcement that he was leaving, and further surprise announcement less than three weeks later that he was living with one of my closest friends, trying to convince him that our marriage was worth saving.  When I had exhausted all attempts to convince him to try to make it work, I filed for divorce on grounds of adultery.

It turns out that to divorce someone for adultery, they have to admit to it, or you have to have evidence: eyewitness accounts or a pregnancy.  While I’m delighted to have neither, it made it slightly tricky: he refused to sign the papers unless I agreed to split the costs of the divorce.  I didn’t want to divorce him for unreasonable behaviour, and I certainly didn’t need to see his five or six reasons why he could not longer bear to live with me.  So I conceded, and agreed to split the costs.  I’m glad I have his written admission that our marriage ended because of his adultery.  But if I did this again I’d go with pragmatism.

And then he spent quite a lot of time being obstructive and arguing with my solicitor about minor points, and I changed my solicitor because he failed to return phone calls or answer queries or do anything.  And Ex-Husband chose to use the slowest. solicitor. ever.  And then blamed my new, lovely solicitor for the hold-ups.  It’s been both tedious and excruciating, and every argument hammers home the reality that the person who once loved me most now wants to hurt me, and that we no longer have interests in common, and that I must learn how to leave him to look after himself after ten years of trying to put him first.

We argued for quite a long time about financial matters.  The house. The pensions.  All interspersed with arguments about contact arrangements for the girls.  Here’s what I’ve learnt: be pragmatic.  Choose your battles. Choose the things which really matter to you, emotionally, morally, financially, the things you can justify to yourself as being important in two or five or ten years, and fight for them.  And fuck the rest.  Calculate how much it’s likely to cost you to win, and decide whether it’s worth the fight and the stress.  I believe, absolutely, that I should have some of my ex-husband’s pension.  Having children and working part time and then becoming a single parent has reduced my income and my career prospects, and therefore had a massive cumulative effect on my pension.  I think he should compensate me for this.  But it would have cost at least a thousand pounds to go to court to try to prove this, and depending on the judge’s opinion, our pensions may have been ruled insignificant.  I compromised – I got to keep the house, which he was never going to get, and gave up rights to his pension, which I may or may not have won.

So while I still feel some sadness when I associate the word ‘divorce’ with myself, because who wants the pain of a failed relationship, I am delighted to have finally come to an end of the arguing and the uncertainty.  I’m celebrating being free to move on in my fabulous life.  I’m celebrating all the help and support I’ve received from my friends, and the new friends I’ve made through the experience, and the skills and strength I’ve found.

It’s funny.  Going to court this morning to get my decree absolute felt significant.  But in many ways, it’s just the rubber-stamping of a process which was finished a while ago – the financial and emotional disentangling of our lives.  Today is the two-years-and-seven-months anniversary of him leaving.  At the time I couldn’t ever imagine recovering. It felt so unfair, that he had left me, broken my heart, moved on – that he was happy and in a relationship while I was struggling and alone.  But now it feels different.  I texted him yesterday to ask him about the consent order for financial matters, which his solicitor had put in his file rather than returning to my solicitor, and had then mis-read a letter enquiring about its whereabouts.  After four weeks, I asked him to nudge her, as it was all I needed for the divorce.  And I asked him about the money for the court fees, which his solicitor had said he was giving to me directly, and which I hadn’t yet received.  His reply was rude, defensive and accusatory.  Clearly he is still bothered by this, and I am not.  And I think now, I’m free and happy.  I’ve survived a disaster.  He has to live with the guilt of knowing, deep down, that he’s behaved like a shit.  He’s in a relationship with a woman of dubious moral character.  He’s living with the choices he made and I’m living with awesomeness.  When he left, I thought there was no justice in the world if his relationship worked when he’d left me so brutally.  Now I think perhaps that is justice.

So, there’s celebrating to be done.  So far, coffee and cake.  Later, ice-creams with Big Girl and Small Girl.  And tonight, a take-away and cider with my sister and brother-in-law.  In a couple of weeks, a night out with drinking and dancing.  And I *may* just be ready to tackle the boxes of stuff in my cellar

Coffee, cake and my Decree Absolute (yes, I think it should be more impressive too.  Curlicue writing and gold leaf, please)

Coffee, cake and my Decree Absolute (yes, I think it should be more impressive too. Curlicue writing and gold leaf, please)

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