The costs of divorce are many.
And seemingly never ending…
Emotional – I have written much about these. My blog is replete with tales of the emotional fall out caused by the bomb. Not just for me, but the children, my family, our friends. Times like these show you how your life is enmeshed with others.
Divorce affects everyone who knew you as a couple.
Responses can be disconcerting: people say the strangest things, or, conversely, they don’t say anything/avoid you like the plague. A fair few friendships have fallen by the wayside because of it.
In equal measure, though, if you are fortunate like me, the love and support you receive can be overwhelming. It buoys you. It sees you through the darkest days.
The ensuing journey is a nightmarish roller-coaster. Two steps forward. Twenty steps back.
For me, the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – have not been linear. I didn’t really do bargaining. I am not one to beg. Denial passed quickly too. I accepted it fairly early on.
But anger and low mood continue to affect me.
What’s more, they still completely blindside me. Even when your head knows it’s over, and your heart has accepted it, and both your head and heart are fully committed to moving on, the most random things can invoke a low mood or engender anger.
Often, the big days or dates you expect will be hard are indeed tough, but nothing in comparison to those that come out of nowhere. The emotions stirred by events, memories, a song, a dream, can put an end to a good run and send you back into the pits of despair.
Despite it being unpleasant, intense, and unpredictable, I firmly believe the emotional roller-coaster will cease one day. Eight months in, it is definitely less severe. I no longer feel sad about him. Rather, the sadness stems from the loss of a dream, an ideal, my hopes, my expectations, and the devastation this causes my children. The tears I shed these days tend to be out of anger or frustration.
This withstanding, I do worry an inevitable consequence of all of this is the loss of an ability to fully, absolutely, abandon one’s self in ‘love’. I fear a post-bomb survivour is consigned to a future of being steady, cautious, reserved, never fully letting the barriers down. Perhaps time will heal this wound: I’m not sure. Having your trust shattered fundamentally alters you. Being the dumpee has stolen my innocence. It has made me question the possibility of everlasting love. It has made me want to protect myself. It has made me cautious of feeling vulnerable. I used to consider vulnerability a strength, rather than a weakness. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t ever want to give somebody the power to hurt me again.
Health – Having never experienced heartbreak before, the somatic affects took me by surprise.
Heartbreak hurts physically. A lot. Your body is in immense pain. The crushing feeling in your chest. The numbing dull ache in your head. The knots in your stomach: it was so full of grief, I couldn’t eat properly for weeks. The panic attacks. The night terrors. Your skin registers the stress – spots, more lines, a sallow complexion. Your hair – it loses its bounce and umph, and mine is turning grey (maybe a coincidence). Your nails – become weak and brittle. Your menstrual cycle becomes erratic – mine has yet to settle.
I also have problems with my neck – the tensions this causes manifest as a pain in my neck, literally – my muscles are so tight. Some days, the pain is so extreme I can’t turn my head: I look like I’m doing a poor impression of Dr Evil from the Austin Powers films.
As with the emotional costs, I am optimistic these costs will be transitory. That one day my body will stop reacting to the stress and anxiety (I have become adept at not showing it, but it clearly exists at my core).
Wealth – now this one is the impetus for this post. This got me thinking about costs.
As I said in Contented I am not materialistic and the drop in day-to-day standards of living isn’t a problem for me.
I have had a taste of what being wealthy feels like, and, frankly, it wasn’t for me. With it came a new set of acquaintances. A few were lovely. Sadly, the majority were vacuous, pretentious, ostentatious pricks. I really do not care where you bought your jacket, or how expensive your car is, or which five-star hotel you last stayed in.
I would trade money for the real things that matter (relationships, family, friendships, etc.) any day of the week.
The pursuit of money transformed my love into ex: it radically altered everything.
In fact, thinking about it, money – or rather our divergent attitudes towards it – was the prime cause for the breakdown of my marriage.
And, as the legal process rolls on, money continues to be the bane.
The costs are mounting. Alarming quickly. At this rate, in a few short months, there will be nothing left to argue over.
Why do lawyers cost so much? Why does legally securing what you are entitled to cost so much?
£1000s already wasted. The children’s inheritance. Their future security. Their home. All in jeopardy.
Tens of 1000s more to spend to get a ‘fair’ deal, if it has to go to court.
All because ex has decided in his infinitely shit wisdom – 2016 has been a world-class year of monumentally poorly judged decision making – that 23 years of love and care and 21 years of marriage count for less than nought.
Maintenance has been cut to less than half I was previously receiving (and that wasn’t enough to cover everything). Even with my salary, my savings are depleting quickly, because I am having to use them to subsidise monthly expenses and pay legal fees. Legally, the children and I are entitled to over three times as much we are currently receiving.
Some days I think what’s the point. Maybe I should stop fighting, give in, and accept less than the children and I need and deserve, just so it can be all over. Something is better than nothing, right? But then I remind myself, I need to keep fighting for their sakes. As their primary caregiver, they need me to be able to provide for them. If I don’t fight, this cost will impact on me and my children the most moving forward.
This cost has far reaching ramifications. I am facing a future of financial insecurity. I am facing an old age with no pension.
These prospects are terrifying. But I do not focus on them. I will worry about that later. For now, my prime concern is the children. I want them to be ok. For their standard of living to remain as constant as is humanly possible (I appreciate it will have to slide a bit but they have gone through so much and maintaining a familiar routine and structure is helping them cope).
It steals your health and wealth.
But it can’t steal what truly matters.
Money can’t buy you love. And, at the end of all of this, I will still have my children and their unconditional and undying love. Ultimately, I will be the victor.