Divorce is one of the most difficult journeys one can go on. At a basic level it is survival of the fittest and can be separated into two parts; the legal and the emotional. The legal is simple, but the emotional turmoil is what wears us down, it is what grinds us into little pieces and it is what tears families apart.
There is one thing I have learned about my own divorce; we were both at fault. My ex-husband and I married for the wrong reasons, we weren’t true to our inner selves, we lied to ourselves and each other, and we both paid the price as a result. People who love me may disagree with this simplified statement and people who love him may do so as well. Regardless of those sentiments it is the truth. Although certain events catapulted us to a separation and a divorce, it wasn’t those events that contributed to our permanent undoing.
When I met my ex-husband I thought he was fascinating. He was from Afghanistan and had strong family values. The stories that he told about his experiences in his country before seeking to escape to the United States told me a lot about his strength, his dedication to his family, and his ambition. On a surface level it seemed that those values we shared were enough, but there were other differences that inevitably surfaced, like a dragon that has slept and was suddenly awakened.
This is the truth at the very core, we lied to ourselves and each other. I’m not talking about blatant lies like hiding money, infidelity, or little white lies about our day. I’m talking about BIG secret mammoth lies. I do not want to put words in his mouth but I can reveal some of the lies I told myself and to him. I do believe he told similar secret lies to himself and to me, but he would probably have his own view and his own list, and that is for his heart to sort out and his heart alone.
“Religion doesn’t matter. You will come first before my child. I am mature enough to marry. I can handle it all. I can be your wife, a mother and a goddess while cooking native dishes from your country. We will have friends and a social life. I respect you. You respect me. I am confident. You are confident. Money doesn’t matter. I believe in you. You believe in me.”
I’ve always said that the worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves. Whether you have been married for a year or twenty years, if you and your spouse have mammoth secret lies between you then you probably have had a rough go at things. I believe that people should not get married until they feel secure in their own identity and truly love and accept themselves. Being secure in your own identity and loving yourself enough to be honest, negates the need for mammoth lies.
Over the years I have learned to forgive myself and to forgive him and he has done the same. There have been emotional ups and downs, disagreements, and strong differences of opinion but that is because we started telling the truth. The years have continued to confirm how different we are and that our divorce was inevitable. We had one son together and he has been our light and our joy. Eighteen years later and he looks like a carbon copy of his father, especially when he makes certain faces and uses certain mannerisms. Even when he laughs I hear his father’s inflections and tones. I thank God that the understanding and forgiveness in my heart enables me to smile when I see my ex in my son’s eyes.
After my divorce I pretty much stayed away from dating for about six years. I did this not because I didn’t trust “men,” I did this because I didn’t trust myself to make good decisions. I had to understand who I was and where I wanted to go and it wasn’t easy for me. Six years later I met a man that I absolutely loved to be around and we became friends. We were inseparable and some of our mutual friends would make sly remarks on how we were meant for each other and we would laugh it off. I was the first to fall for him and was frustrated at his inability to see my interest. I found the courage to choose him. My entire dating life I let men choose me, I just said “yes” to a dinner or a movie, but I didn’t really choose them. I went with the flow, it was easy. The only man I really “chose,” before being chosen is now my husband.
I went into this marriage humble, honest, and with an open heart. I trust him with the inner most rooms of my heart and he alone has the key. He is my best friend, my confidant and my partner. I truly believe that if I had not married my first husband I would not have had the strength to find true love. I would not have appreciated all that love has to offer.
Divorce, mammoth lies and forgiveness made my dreams come true, it led me to a real understanding of myself, gave me my beautiful son, and led me to my future husband and children. I have no regrets.