(To assist with the maths, this page was first created on the 11th of Feb, 2016)
‘This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the end, my only friend, the end. Of our elaborate plans, the end. Of everything that stands, the end. No safety or surprise, the end. I’ll never look into your eyes…again’ The Doors, ‘The End’
It’s been six weeks and six days since the world as I knew it ended.
If you can be bothered to do the maths, you will figure out that the day the bombshell was dropped is probably the worst day in the year to deliver such news.
I know it’s trite: I am sure lots of people who have divorce suddenly thrust upon will say they really had no idea, they never saw it coming, they were shocked, flawed, stunned etc.
But I seriously didn’t. I believed in us. I believed we had a fantastic, happy, marriage. I thought we would be together forever. We’d fantasised about what our retirement would be like – spending time with the grandchildren, enjoying hobbies together (we’d become golfers and take ballroom dancing classes), and maybe even getting a little cafe bar or tearoom somewhere (we both wanted to keep busy, he loved coffee and wine and I loved to cook).
Yes, we’d had our ups and downs. I suspect anyone who has been together for 22 years and married for 21, would be lying if they said otherwise. But we’d weathered every storm together; came out of the other side stronger than ever before.
We loved and cared for each other very deeply. We were soul mates. We were passionate lovers. We were a partnership. We were best friends. We laughed. Lots and lots. We shared the same wicked sense of humour. We talked every day for 22 years. We never went to sleep without saying sorry. We enjoyed the same movies, tv shows, and music. We liked to go out to fancy restaurants and have the odd tipple or three. We had a good social life. We had great friends, both as a couple and independently. We went on fabulous holidays several times a year. And most of all, we had created a beautiful family: three gorgeous, polite, caring, kind, funny, inquisitive, intelligent children.
We had got together when we were young, and the early years had been a struggle financially. But we worked together to make a better life for the family. I supported him while he studied, then when he got established in his career, I went back to education but still carried on working part-time. I managed to achieve funding for postgraduate studies – who’d have thought little old me had a brain, I graduated with the highest grade average out of my cohort – so I gained a master’s and doctorate too.
We’d made the decision early on in our marriage that one of us should make the children their priority. Neither of us were keen on the idea of having latch-key children. And the times I had worked full time, we had fallen out about childcare and household tasks. So I assumed the role of primary care giver, did all the chores, the shopping, cooking etc. and he became the main breadwinner. And he did brilliantly. He reached stellar heights in his career. I was so proud of him. So proud of us. We’d struggled in the face of adversity and proved all the naysayers wrong.
My marriage, my family, were my proudest achievements, my biggest source of joy. I wouldn’t have given it up or traded it for anything. I felt loved and content; safe, secure, and protected, in our cocoon. In the little world we’d created. It was ‘the best of all possible worlds’ (to coin Leibniz’s theodicy).
But then with seven words… ‘I don’t love you that way anymore’…my world imploded.