I’m over my marriage. I really am. I can honestly say that I don’t miss my ex. I no longer wistfully think about the good times. I don’t think about it at all.
Until the other night when I suddenly found myself on my couch watching an episode of Parenthood on my DVR with a huge weight on my chest and tears in my eyes.
In the episode, Joel was leaving Julia and they were trying to figure out how to tell the kids. Rather, he was trying to figure out how to tell the kids, while she was nodding, still in complete shock. They visited a counselor for advice. The counselor started off by asking why they are there. Julia was unable to speak, but Joel jumped right in. Then the counselor asked if they were headed for divorce or if it was a temporary separation with hopes of reconciliation. Julia immediately said that it was temporary and that she hopes for reconciliation. Joel said, “uhhhhh, I don’t know.” Or something equally stupid.
There was Julia on the couch with her mouth open, probably feeling like he had punched her in the stomach. And there I was on my couch, feeling that way for her. Remembering exactly how it felt from my own experience.
Sometime after the counseling session, presumably later that evening, Joel is rambling on about the plan to tell the kids the next day. He was chattering as if they were planning the dinner for the next day. A freaking To Do List of sorts.
- Pick up kids – √
- Eat dinner – √
- Crush their entire world by telling them that we aren’t a family anymore – √
Julia sat on the bed, still looking shell-shocked. She asked him not to go; asked him to stay and work on the marriage. She promised that she would try harder. (Seriously, it’s like a scene straight out of my life.)
Joel responded in such a matter-of-fact manner, “I wish we weren’t at this point, but we are.”
Kick him! Kick him, Julia! Right in the back of his fat, stupid, uncaring head! [ugly sob]
Finally, the time came for them to tell the kids. And just like a scene from my life, Julia just sat there while Joel told them that he was moving out. Something about them deciding about the best decision for the family. If I had to guess, Julia was sitting there wondering when they came to that decision because it isn’t what she wants at all. As Joel was leaving, he said that he will pick up the kids for school and asked if he should use the key or knock. Julia looks confused because OF COURSE you just come in, you big jerk! You should live here and care about what this is doing to me because you said that you would love me forever.
Okay, maybe I added that last part in my head. While sobbing. The truth is that, although I rarely think about that time, that pain is still in there somewhere deep down. As I sat there watching her go through (almost) exactly what I went through, I felt every emotion that she was feeling. The shock. The helplessness. The fear. Like falling and grabbing for anything to catch your fall, but nothing is there. You just can’t wrap your brain around it, and every time you try, you are slapped with pain. Overwhelming pain.
Your mind scrambles to say the right thing to make this awful, spinning ride stop. You can’t seem to comprehend how this person that you love with every fiber of your being acts as if you don’t exist. Your feelings don’t matter. Your pain isn’t visible despite your tears and your begging. Or worse, it’s visible, but they don’t care…or even get annoyed by it.
I remember one of my last-ditch efforts to make it work right before our divorce, telling him all of the reasons that I thought we could work it out. Making all sorts of promises of what I would do to make it better. (ME make it better, even though I hadn’t cheated or spent the last several years in bars.) He said, “I’m sure that we will get back together at some point, maybe five years from now, but I can promise you that it won’t happen before the divorce is final. This has to happen.” Why? What’s the point in going through all of this if you are so sure that we will get back together? Why not just work on that now? Why don’t you love me RIGHT NOW?
Yes, yes, yes, I’m smarter now. I know it was the best thing. I know that he just didn’t give a damn. And frankly, Scarlett, neither do I these days. I’m over him.
But will I ever get over being discarded so easily? Left behind without a second thought?