It is a strange, limbo sort of state to be in the process of a divorce. My husband is not yet an ex-, but he is not with me, either. People will start to ask me "how is your....." then stop, not knowing what term to use, then either get flustered or simply use his name. I must be close to the end of living in no-man's land, though, as I heard over the weekend, for the first time, "you'd really like our friend..." Not yet officially single, and my friends are looking to hook me up. Wow.
In my case, the process has been very short. I am the one who filed for the divorce, and he is not contesting. There is a perk to having no money or property, and no debt that wasn't charged off long ago in the crazy days, which is that we don't have to wrangle out financial issues with attorneys. We are both determined that we will spend time with our children and will avoid as much as humanly possible putting them in the middle of our differences. Our custody arrangement is that we have essentially agreed to agree, sharing time and promoting relationships with both parents.
Despite the legal ease, or relative ease, of this divorce, it has been a difficult process. The not-yet-ex has his own difficulties with the situation; interacting has been an emotional minefield. As certain as I am that this is what I must do, there are days when the sadness surprises me, for all the hopes for my marriage and my life that will never be realized. These days only surprise me because I have been processing this grief in therapy, in writing, and in talking with my friends, for the past few years.
Even on the days that are not sad, I lean on my friends as I continue construct a mental picture of what my life is now - I know what I am moving away from, but need to focus on what I am moving toward, or suddenly I am overwhelmed by the blankness ahead of me. The friends are never surprised that I need them, though they know I took my good time concluding that this is the right decision for me, and that I have no doubts. I am the one who is surprised. I have been working with an empowerment counselor who reminds me often that the work I have undertaken, to be responsible and accountable for my own life, "is very lonely work." It is lonely, in that no one can do it for me or even with me; it is my work. It is all the more necessary, then, to connect with all the people I can, who believe in me and who can see that future I am creating for myself and my kids.
So, in two short weeks it will be 90 days since the petition was filed. My attorney tells me the divorce should go through by the middle of July. It has seemed an endless period of time to wait. I have friends who have been not-yet-divorced, or "undivorced" as I started thinking, for up to 4 years. One friend tells me that she and her ex-husband had no property, no custody issues, that he did not contest, yet it was still two years before her divorce went through. Where did she find the patience to get through that?
I don't like these gray areas. I hate waiting. I am not married, but I am not single, either. It will be years before I'm single, actually, because my life includes my two children. I am becoming a single woman, though. The in-between time must be for that process, the becoming. It is the time when I get better at designing my life with intent and purpose, and making choices. I am glad my friends are so much a part of it.