A question that pops up quite frequently: when did you know?
1/13….of 2005 and really knew 1/13/2017. After I read the letter to my ex that I wanted the counselor to help us navigate a guided divorce, the couple’s counselor asked me if I wanted a guided separation. I answered with certainty that I really wanted a guided divorce.
Heartbreaking to know that a separation would not fix us, we were irrevocably broken, there was no turning back. Heck, I got a tattoo before I told my ex knowing that I needed a permanent reminder that I was making the right decision for me.
We met with the counselor the first time in October after a fiasco in September. My therapist at the time recommended that we give couple’s counseling another go. We tried counseling in the Bay Area during one of our several live together but separately experiments. (Cost of real estate in Bay Area is exceedingly high and the idea of paying rent and a mortgage never made sense to us.)
I always advocated for couple’s counseling and counseling in general. I cancelled the couple’s counseling in October, because I felt that it was a waste of time and money. I preferred to spend that $900 on our trip to Asia, which probably should have been a big red flag for both of us.
We went on an epic trip to Asia, truly I consider it the honeymoon of the end. It was a great trip. There are no regrets for me that we shared that trip. When you spend 16 years with someone, perhaps a honeymoon of the end is necessary.
We returned home in December and the bumpiness started again. We ventured to San Diego for the holidays, which was a decent trip as well. Then January hit and it was truly the beginning of the end.
On January 13th, I was supposed to travel with him to Bend to see his family. I cancelled the day before the trip. I never cancelled a trip before. I threatened to cancel many a time, but this was the first time that I just simply could not go.
In my mind that started the separation and it was like Groundhog Day as the first time that I knew it was not likely going to work was January 13, 2005.
While grieving the recent loss of my Dad, it proved too challenging to make a decision in the midst of grief. It is hard if not impossible. If my Dad were alive, we would not have made it past that day; to navigate it on my own took a lot longer.
As I navigate the divorce and the aftermath, I am open about my experience, especially with people who are considering their options. One of the very best things that our couple’s counselor offered us was a closing session with him where we each had to answer the following good bye questions:
- What are you disappointed in yourself in what happened in relationship?
- What are you disappointed about in the other person in relationship?
- One favorite memory, if more share that
- What you wish you could have been able to do differently that would have contributed positively to the relationship?
- What hopes and dreams are you letting go of as your relationship comes to end?
- What would you wish and hope for your partner in the future?
The experience of reading my answers and listening to his answers on the day before Valentine’s Day this year was gut wrenchingly necessary for us both to put closure on a really long relationship. The questions and their answers catapulted us both into grief, into letting go of the life we shared.