Well, it’s Quote Friday, and while I am continuing my series on where my divorce began, I wanted to pull in a quote that ties into that as well:

Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.

I think anyone going through divorce can relate to this – we know pain. we know failure. And, conversely, we know courage and we know bravery. Yet, at the worst of the worst, we can’t fathom courage or bravery, but we do, we make it, we succeed, we are victorious, and we are better people on the other side than we ever thought possible.

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The third in a series of posts on the beginning of the end of my marriage, and a look back at our relationship, from meeting, dating, engagement, and the in-laws (that could be an entire blog in itself, but that’s a story for another day…!).

Tuesday. Waking up at my sister’s house. My heart sunk. It was really happening, wasn’t it? Autopilot snapped on, yet I couldn’t ignore the massive, aching, painful feeling in my chest. A heavy, sad, broken heart. It pulsed within my chest, a feeling I will never forget, because I couldn’t believe that you could actually feel a broken heart, but you can. You can feel it throughout your whole being.

I cried. I pulled myself together, hoped the distance was helping, even though it had only been 12 hours at most. I went to work, I put on a “face” and kept to myself in the privacy of my office, door shut most of the day. I cried at one point during the day, as I was IMing with my sister, and the more I tried to hold back, the more I cried. It was two days of this…waking up, crying, going to work, faking it, and getting into the car and breaking down the instant the door was shut. It was the longest two days of my life.

And then it happened.

Wednesday morning. Two days after I left the house. The longest days of my life. Pete called me at work just after 9. I asked him how he was. He said he was fine. I said I missed him. He said he didn’t miss me, he felt a wave of relief, he was happy, and he didn’t need the rest of the week to decide.

It was me.

I was stunned.

I couldn’t believe he called me at work to tell me that. I didn’t know what to say. I started to panic. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t even cry. I was just flailing emotionally to the point of paralysis. I told him I was going home, I couldn’t go through the day knowing what he just told me. He told me he’d come home too, and we’d talk. I made up some lame excuse about a pipe leak at the house and rushed out of there like a bat out of hell. I bumped into BDFF (who was not near divorced yet…) and could barely look her in the eye. She looked at me, eyes wide, asked me what was wrong. I muttered something and couldn’t even look at her. She knew, I could see it. She knew something was wrong, more wrong than it could ever be.

I got in the car, and was shaking, and started to cry. I called Jess (who was back in the office) and told her, and she was about to leave too and come with me, but I told her to stay, I needed to talk to Pete. At that point, I decided I had to tell my mom, really tell her. I had hinted at it in an earlier conversation, but did not nearly tell her the gravity of the situation. I cried all the way home, blurting everything out to her as I drove. I’m sure she didn’t really hear half of what I said, but I could feel her pain for me. And that made it even harder for me, because I knew she wanted to protect me, and take this away for me, and she couldn’t. She knew what I was about to go through would be life-altering, and all she could do was sit back, watch, and be as supportive as possible. It was hard for me, because I knew she was hurting for me, and for some reason, that was so hard for me.

I walked in the door to the house. It was silent. I felt like I’d been gone for weeks. I sat down, I cried again. I waited for Pete to come home and suddenly, I knew what I had to do.

I had to let him go.

Despite the pain and sadness and absolute betrayal I felt, I wasn’t about to beg him to stay. If he was so ready to throw something away that I felt was a mistake, but he was still willing to throw it all away for what he thought would buy him happiness, then he didn’t deserve me.

I don’t know how I was that clear-minded that I thought that at the time, but I vividly remember it.

We talked. I didn’t cry. We were logical. I told him he should move out. He was taken aback. Why, I have no idea…but he was. We talked about what we’d do with the house – try to keep it short-term, sell it long-term – how we’d tell family, what we would say. We called it a separation, but we both knew that was just what we were calling it because it was too hard to say divorce.

Before we ended the conversation and he went back to work, two things stuck out in my mind. First, he said he was shocked at how I was taking this. He thought I was going to beg and fight harder. I told him that if this is what he wants, I’ve tried, and I can’t change it. But to know this – if this is his decision, there’s no turning back. Our marriage as we have ever known it is over. It’s broken, and it’s broken so quickly and so badly that there’s no turning back.

What did he say?

He didn’t know if this was the right decision, but it was the decision he had to make. And knowing there was no turning back was the decision he had to make. Little did I know that that decision would end up being more right for me than it was for him. I saw the confusion in his eyes, I saw the fear, and the worry (what if I am making a bad decision?) but he still made it.

That was the beginning of the end – the end of our marriage, but the beginning of the build-up of me as a courageous, strong, confident, happy single woman.

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