Attending a 50th-anniversary dinner with my recently divorced sister as my +1 made me think about the long road of a lifetime of marriage. It also reminded me of the long and winding road that eventually led to my divorce. Unlike my sister, who woke up one morning and decided to get divorced, the decision literally took years for me to reach.
My mom mentioned that she was sad that our marriages had ended, but that it was hard for her to watch the things that happened while we were married. While she wished that things worked out, she was happy that divorce was probably for the better in both cases.
Deciding to divorce my ex-husband was no easy decision. In fact, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and that's why it took me years of make the decision. We went to marital counselling and individual counselling.
I did everything in my power to become the person I thought he wanted me to be and I took on more than my fair share of responsibility on every level. I supported his dreams, and I excused his failures. I thought that if I could make him happy, we would have a happy family.
Over the years I complained, considered, agonised, researched, controlled, manipulated and lied, but nothing worked. As the years went by, I became first unhappy and eventually, resigned.
I spoke to many people - friends and professionals alike. I had hoped that someone would give me the answers or the permission to do what I needed to do. But nobody could decide on my behalf or break through my fears. I had to do it for myself.
Divorce was not an option for me at first. My parents were married for 55 years, and I also wanted to keep my vows. I'm no quitter, and I had to stick to my promise of commitment. But the marriage was not working.
My ex-didn't do anything wrong. I waited for him to do something that would justify divorce, thinking that it would be easier to throw him out. However, nothing out of the ordinary ever happened. Or perhaps, I had become insensitive to intolerable behaviour and didn't recognise the unacceptable things he did.
I kept waiting for a sign to validate my decision to leave, but it never came. Meanwhile, I was indecisive. Someone suggested I wait until my kids completed school, but that was still another 11 years, and I simply could not carry on for that long. That suggestion jolted me to start seeing things differently.
Suddenly I realised that divorce was probably the most loving thing I could do for us both and the children. A counsellor told me about the low success rate of interventions, and I realised that I didn't want to throw away more time and money to try that. I couldn't fix him unless he wanted to fix himself. Armed with this information, I gave myself permission to be indecisive until I was ready to make a decision. I also realised that staying for the kids' sake was probably not a good decision at all. We weren't a good role model of a happy, healthy marriage and the last thing I wanted was to model this miserable existence for my children.
That's when I slowly started moving towards divorce. I slowly started to build on my independence until I was ready to tell him that I wanted a divorce. I'm glad I took a long way around because I had all the time in the world to make sure that it was the right decision. There's no looking back now.