When I decided to end my marriage to G, one of the things I most dreaded was telling people about it. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me (or the end of the relationship), but I was pretty sure that was how everyone was going react. I tried to explain that I was happy with my decision and that it was the best thing for both of us. Honestly, I didn’t think of it as a “failure” (whatever that means) and I didn’t want other people to think that either. At the time, it was very important to me what other people thought.
One day, I was talking to my friend (and coworker) about my recent divorce and he said, “should I say congratulations or I’m sorry?” And I thought it was brilliant. He didn’t know how I felt about the situation and he wanted to be supportive, so he just asked. Simple, right? But I think a lot of us just assume that the decision to divorce or break-up is this horrible, awful situation, when it might not be. I’m so thankful my relationship didn’t end in a horrible fight, betrayal or one of us being incarcerated and I think our time together as husband and wife should be celebrated and not mourned. Were there times when I cried? Yes (like 100 times), but I never thought about changing my mind. Would it have been easier stay? Hell yes, at least in the short term. But I was so afraid that I’d wake up in 10 years and regret staying and I’d still be wondering what my life might be like if I made a change.
I had an amazing 14 years with G. We traveled the world, laughed a lot and we were best, best friends. And we’re still really, really good friends. He knows me better than almost anyone. I’m so happy to say that we’re in this place now. And no, it wasn’t always easy, we needed time to get here. To figure out how to navigate our friendship. At times it seems pretty weird, but I think it’s working. And if it doesn’t, we’ll figure something else out.
It also helps that I’m dating someone who understands my relationship with G because the boyfriend has a very good relationship with his ex-wife. I know relationships don’t always end this way and they can be so complicated and devastating, but it’s not always an awful ending and sometimes, congratulations can be the right thing to say.