Divorce: Taking The Long View


BY ERIN LAVERY

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

A year into my second marriage, I waited in bed for my wife to return from her daily bender. I was 39
years old and miserable. My children were safely tucked in bed in their bedroom and, as I waited to see
whether she would be yelling at me again that night, I wondered whether I could handle another forty
years of this and, if so, what I would be like after that kind of a stretch. It wasn’t pretty.

For those of you who never married into anger, let me give you a window into what the life is like.
Imagine a world where you do all the stuff you are already doing now, but are constantly having to
process your tasks through a set of questions, such as “what is her preferred way of this happening?” Or,
“If I do this, will the kids be woken up with yelling later?” Or my personal least favorite, “Will this ruin
Christmas?” Since the day we had said “I do”, my wife has shifted from a person who sent me love
poems to a person who sent me hate mail. Everyone and everything was suspect. She was convinced my
friends were lovers. Offers to navigate while she drove were considered an affront on her navigational
skills. On and on it went, and every perceived slight led to another round of accusations and yelling. It
was a nightmare and I wanted out.

However, this would not be my first failed marriage and I wasn’t even forty years old. This would mean
my 4-year-old son would become a child of not one divorce, but two. I’m sure you’re following along
here. That figure does not look good. Reflecting on that failure kept me stuck in a miserable pattern. I
attended personal and couples counseling trying to save my marriage. Meanwhile, things kept getting
much worse. I didn’t want to acknowledge my mistakes and fail my children, but in that moment,
reflecting on who I would become if I didn’t leave, I was greeted with a new question. It wasn’t just about
what I would become, it was about what my children would become, too.

Looking into the future allowed me to look past my fears in the moment (of failing my marriage, of the
inevitable social judgment, of the public embarrassment, of the expense). Taking the long view reminded
me what really mattered and that trying to make an insane situation work would be an even greater
mistake. I didn’t have the courage to end it that night, but it wasn’t long after that I did.

When people are in crisis, it’s normal to go into a survival state. After the past year, a lot of us are stuck
in that right now. Unfortunately, this mind frame often gets in the way of us being able to think
reasonably and make sound judgments regarding how to respond. People become focused on the
immediate future and immediate needs. As a result, it’s easy to get stuck in a pattern of figuring out how
to get through the day rather than sorting out how to build a better life. You are not likely to make your
best choices and often, this is when your choices matter most.

If you find yourself in an untenable position and can’t imagine how to get out, take a deep breath. Shift
your attention for a moment away from your fear and to what you want. Now ask yourself, what do you
need to get there? Write it down and make it happen. Take the long view and you could very well save
your life.

Now, almost three years after that difficult night, I can say most certainly admitting my mistakes didn’t
hurt as much as staying. My poor son is hard to feel bad for most days. He’s too busy making fart jokes
and showing off his new Tae Kwon Do moves.

Sure, when I filed for divorce, the social judgment came. I think we can all agree that was inevitable.
Some people wrote me off, but I’m still here and I’m happier than ever. So the jokes on them. Or maybe, the joke is on the woman that I almost was. Doesn’t really matter either way. The important thing is I can
laugh again and mean it.

Shooting Stars


Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash


So briefly we shine

streaking through this life

bright lights

here and gone

Rushing into and out of

lives of others

some see us

some do not

For some our light

lives on

in their hearts

pieces of our matter remains

For others

they never know

that we were even

here

Each of us

bright shining stars

burning hot moving fast

beautiful

Monet



From far away
it seems okay
but up close it’s
a big old mess

Lives of others seem
from far away
much more perfect
than is true

From afar they appear
beautifully put together
something to be
envied

Closer inspection reveals
true brush strokes
mashed together
and messy

Even closer looks
become blurs of
noise and color
and truth

Perfect from afar
others lives but
up close just a
full on Monet

Choose



Choose to accept less
to be treated badly
because it’s too scary
to be alone

Choose to stay
in a bad relationship
because you think
you can’t do better

Choose to take
the pain
because you feel
you deserve it

Choose to believe
all people act this way
so there’s no reason
to look for more

Choose the situation
you’re in
or choose differently
but you choose

Minus



Minus you
minus then
minus memories
minus when

Minus touches
minus kissing
minus laughter
minus missing

Minus love
minus lies
minus how
minus whys

Minus guilt
minus pain
minus wrong
minus insane

Minus crying
minus blue
minus forever
minus you

Let


We become wounded by what is said
injured by what is done
because we let it happen

Petty people with small minds
creating harm with word and deed
in their own unhappiness

We let the whispers cut us
and let the actions touch our emotions
as they continue to gossip

This harm can only hurt if we let
we choose what where when how
they are of no consequence

A Secret Life


A secret life is that important
Hide things we never share
From those who call themselves friends
And those we wish were never there

Things we never speak aloud
Whispers to our hearts
Not where anyone would hear
Use them to pick us apart

A secret life is that important
Holding everything in place
Keeping truth from seeping

Nothing showing on our face

Things we desire
We dare not say
Hidden in depths
Kept so far away

A secret life is that important
Keeps us sane so we believe
When as the spider to the fly
We practice to deceive

Welcome


The welcome mat laid out to start
friendships new and renewed
in cyberspace we meet and share
what’s up with me and you

From all over these friends now come
together relationships we build
through posts and messages
our lives to be filled

Though we may have never met
or once knew each other long ago
friendship is just a click away
learning things we want to know

Over time and space we connect
strands in the universe are we
new and renewed in cyberspace
welcome friends I now see

Burn


Heat filled days that smolder
the air lapping like tongues of flame
breathing becomes harder to control
each touch a burn to the skin

The flames continue into the night
nothing takes the burn away
now inside and out the fire consumes
rest and start again

The fuel of pent up yesterdays
waiting for the flames to lick
tasting the untouched the fire spreads
leaving behind only the smolder

In the embers the fire is still hot
hidden waiting for the next spark
the next breath so passionately breathed
the burn of this desire

Breathless


All at once breathtaking and beautiful
strength in every angle and space
gliding as if suspended in air
movement motion breathless

As if it’s so easy
the most natural thing there is
like breathing unconscious
it just is and you just are

Muscles rippling definition unbound
wordlessly gripping there is no sound
the sight of you amazing there are no words
breathless and beautiful are all that is heard

A slight touch the familiar smell
skin that becomes a raging fire
unable to look away
in this moment breathless

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