Hi, hello, it’s me — it’s been a while, but I’m back again. This time, though — and much like Adele’s hit song — it’s from the other side.
Remember that same verbose, loved-up Marine wife who had the gall to talk about military marriage after point five seconds of being married? It’s me, your girl. Oh, how I’d love to clout my own ears for all the rose-tinted, cholesterol-inducing things that I wrote as I masqueraded as the perfect little milspouse.
Well, guess what, guys! That’s right — I’m getting divorced. So I suppose the joke’s on me now, huh?
To this day, my articles still linger away on the Internet like a personal poltergeist. Case in point: a few weeks ago, a friend told me that a piece I’d written had popped up on her Yahoo homepage all the way in East Texas. Of course, as a small-time freelance writer, that’s exciting news — but, all the same, it still stung to see that screenshot with the all-too-familiar photo of our courthouse wedding, a sham advertisement for marital bliss.
Everything I’ve written on the subject of military marriage was always at least partially true for me at the time I wrote it, but there was definitely an element of dissatisfaction that I never shared on a public forum. After all, why would I?
Why would any self-respecting military spouse talk openly about how the military lifestyle can be insidious to a marriage, if the stars align a certain way?
It made more sense to play along — until now, when I’m throwing up deuces to the whole thing.
We decided to split in September of 2018, and ultimately filed for divorce a few months later. Why we split is a long story, and — as with any break-up — is also a very multi-faceted one. One thing was always for certain, though: we decided, from the get-go, to be as civil and kind to one another as possible. And sure enough, to this day, I have more respect than ever for the man who, for better or worse, I now call my ex-husband.
With that said, I must admit — and repeat louder for anyone who has ever casually considered divorce — that this has been a far, far more emotionally taxing process than I ever imagined.
The past few months have been a whirlwind: dividing our assets, filing and packing and moving, and still somehow trying to maintain a cheerful enough disposition to remain professional and (in my case) semi-functional.
In the first couple of months after we split, I found myself cruising along on autopilot; without question, I had many fragile moments, but for the most-part I maintained a sort of flippant optimism, assuring myself constantly that I was utterly a-okay.
It wasn’t until I finally sat down and faced my collection of mementos from our eight years together that I crashed — and hard, at that. In those moments, the future seemed less like a tunnel with some kind of divine light gleaming from the other end, and much more a black hole with no certain answer as to whether there was even life on the other side — let alone anything good.
In hindsight, these metaphors are warranted: it was a dark time. I couldn’t shake the thought that all my own, relatively small achievements in my adult life had been punctuated by my marriage; I was no longer sure of who I was without the safety net of family unit we’d created together. My mood swings became so erratic and severe that my ups and downs could have mirrored a Richter scale reading during an earthquake.
Despite my many wonderful, well-intentioned friends checking in on me, the magnitude of the low days wasn’t something I felt willing or able to talk to anyone about. I went into hermit mode, instead; reams of messages in my various inboxes would go unanswered for weeks. I flayed myself emotionally, drank constantly, and would be so anxiety-ridden before simple social arrangements that I tended to balk and weasel out of almost all of them.