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6/29/11

divorce series: part 1

sending the wife in me away


there's a line from an avett brothers song that has gotten me through almost all aspects of my divorce. these words sum up perfectly my feelings about my marriage...its beginning and its end. 
all of it is only these words...

"always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name"

i have no regrets.

my experience, and all the messy details, is a personal one. i also know that it isn't a remarkable one by any means. i'm apart of a very large statistic. and after over 4 years of healing, i want to speak plainly and honestly to all of you without undoing any of the hard work or filling in the space anyone close to the situation has put between them and what happened. this is not going to be a steamy tell-all...but i do have a story. and i'm hoping that it will encourage or buoy someone out there who just might need it....from someone who's been there, who still visits from time to time.

the intricacies of the end of my marriage are painful, and there was a time where i needed to put words to that pain on a daily. I’ve felt all sorts of hurts i never thought i would have to feel. but the beautiful thing about growth is that those brutal details, the ones you’re convinced you'll never be able to see past or get over...the things you think are the real source of your emptiness, somehow, over time, become the footnotes or afterthoughts to an even bigger story.

this was the beginning of mine.

(click on the "read more" link to continue)






the memories of my childhood read like little flashes of light...tiny snippets of insignificant mosaics that form a beautiful picture of my early days...the first climb up my apple tree, riding that horse, finding a butterfly cocoon at church, and locking eyes with max's dad. we were five. 
i suppose God has a way of dog-earing what seem like insignificant moments in life on the pages of our hearts and minds for later. i've never forgotten the moment that i first saw him...even when it made no sense to remember.
i know now that that tiny moment of my childhood was the opening chapter of my life as a wife and as a mother.

15 years of friendship later we were married.  we were young...and had absolutely no idea what we were doing. we just knew we wanted to do it together. and that was enough. our marriage was imperfect. but we never lost sight of the friendship and passion we had for each other. being together was worth the hard work. above anything else, i knew i was loved. and from where i sit now, knowing what i know, i still believe i was...just in a different way then i needed.

it's funny looking back, my life at 20-21 was completely figured out for me. i thought i knew who and where i would be in 10 years, 20 years, even 50 years. i was settled and we were happy. there was never any smoking gun...but then, 4 years and 1 little max into our marriage, almost everything i thought i knew as gone.

what started with a phone call from a friend with a heavy conscience snowballed into forced confessions with backs in a corner. i was the last person in my world of family and friends to find out that there was infidelity in my marriage. everyone knew for years and no one had the heart to tell me.

there is never a good time to hear painful truths, but i can tell you that everyone deserves the right to bare their own. i felt foolish. i searched my memories for signs of cold shoulders or distant looks..something to make sense of all of it. there weren't any. my new reality looked nothing like the life i thought i was leading. and instead of ending the trust i had with my husband or my family, i stopped trusting myself. i felt more betrayed by my own instincts then by anyone else. any anger i felt i silently inflicted on me. i internalized the brunt of the pain and i chose to keep trusting those around me when i had no reason to trust at all.

let me tell you, life doesn't stop itself around you even if it has on the inside. i remember going straight from finding out devastating details to waking up max from his nap and taking him to the park with friends....having my world crushed to pieces then getting into the car to go to a meeting or to work with a smile on my face. i never let on. i threw myself onto autopilot...surviving the only way i knew....and that was to keep moving. never stop moving.

i knew right away i wasn't going to be a victim. there was a moment where i realized i was justified in doing almost anything i wanted...burning piles of clothes on the lawn, keying cars, random bursts of anger and emotions, physically confronting or stalking these other girls. society makes room for a scorned woman. it was a terrifying power to have and i decided i wanted nothing to do with it. and while i still battled with these emotions, i chose to love. to forgive. to try and understand what had brought us to where we were and how we could mend what was broken. i felt his fear and pain and need for forgiveness as much as my own. we fell back onto our foundation of friendship. and that early want of just wanting to live our lives together, regardless of the work, still remained. and so we worked.

to understand why i stayed would be to truly understand the meaning of unconditional love. (something i never fully realized myself). and it would also be to understand a woman desperate to save a dying dream. really, when your marriage is rocked in any way...especially with infidelity, it takes the understanding and acceptance of the dying dream to be able to move forward. i had to bury my childhood ideas of marriage.

i lost a few friends by staying, and i still have people who don't understand why i did stay. the best way i can explain it is like this: imagine the love you have for the significant person in your life...the depth and intensity and realness of it. then imagine finding out they hurt you....and realizing the amount of love you have hasn't changed. you feel sadness...deep and true...but your love for the person is unaltered. that was my experience. and i had a peace knowing i wasn't going to go down without a fight.

for the next 2 years after, we sought counseling and worked on forgiveness and trust. i was told i knew everything there was to know. i had my good days and i had my lowest days. we had our nights when i would beg to hear details everyone had forcefully forgotten...begged to know if there was more that i didn't know. i felt a real need to open my chest, take all the pain at once, and stitch myself up again to heal. i couldn't bare to keep reopening the wound with new revelations. i wanted to know everything. i became an emotional masochist.

whenever things started to feel normal again...good even...something in my heart told me not get comfortable. the instincts i so despised kept warning me of another storm. and that storm came. one last confession. another girl...but not a current one. one that had been kept from me from the very beginning. one truth that i never was given the respect and honor to hear...even when my chest was bear and i was begging for truth.

it was then that the wife in me started to die. she became a cancer in my soul. i became a walking shell of a woman. so in love with a man that i knew i couldn't stay with. he, so in love with a woman that he knew he wasn't right for. we were riddled and disjointed. and i started to see a window...a chance to pack the wife in me away, send her off, and save myself as a woman and as a mama.

and so i kissed her goodbye...and i jumped.

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76 comments:

  1. you are brave.
    thank you for sharing.

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  2. how very strong of you.

    you're such an honest writer. i can't wait to hear the rest.

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  3. Katie, I admire you so deeply for writing this. My favorite line would have to be that you don't regret anything. I want you to know that Max has such an amazing mother who works hard at being the beautiful person that you are.

    I know from experience that leaving something that you thought was meant to be is hard. I left someone who wanted to marry me, and I don't think I ever felt my heart break so hard. Yet, I think that it is when we are at our lowest points in our life that we tend to turn out the strongest.

    From one Katie to another, I have no doubt that you will do such great things in the future.

    -Katie

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  4. My sweet angel girl. This made me think of our divulging emails years ago. This was a bittersweet reminder of sad times and strong decisions. You did good little lady. Very good.
    Love you!

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  5. I think this is such a beautifully written and respectfully honest post. I myself have never gone through a divorce, but reading this actually gave me the first insight into my parents. I never understood before when they would tell me that they loved each other dearly, but just couldn't stay together. I thought it was just something parents say to their kids after divorce. Like it's written down in a manual as a band aide phrase. Now I can see how it's possible. They did love each other deeper then I've given them credit for. They tried forgiving, they tried to keep moving. But that wound just wasn't healing if they were to stay together.

    Thank you for your courage to put this out there. I think many people will find some words of healing.

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  6. This is phenomenal, Katie. Thanks for writing and sharing this.

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  7. I am in tears reading this. You write so beautifully, and even though I have never been in a situation like yours, I can totally feel your emotion. I have a good friend who is going through a very similar situation and this helps me so much to see it from her perspective.

    Thank you for sharing such a raw personal part of your life with all of us.

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  8. I've typed four different thoughts and deleted one after another. I can't seem to say how much your words healed a part of my heart.
    This helped me, in 10 minutes of reading, what six months of simply trying to come to terms with my feelings couldn't do. Thank you for your bravery.

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  9. oh, thank you writing this so honestly and brilliantly.I've read your blog for awhile and never commented, but I had to say that this means so much to me right now.

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  10. Beautifully written. I have a friend I am going to pass this along too. Thank you.

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  11. Your words are so heartfelt, they really touched me, I'm kind of speechless and almost in tears, thank you so much for sharing, it really did help.

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  12. good. for. you. you're special.

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  13. wow, it's amazing how similar the feelings are in these situations. the masochism, the going through the motions. and then after all the forgiveness, the breaking point of being changed. i call it "when my spirit was broken"

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  14. wow, it's amazing how similar the feelings are in these situations. the masochism, the going through the motions. and then after all the forgiveness, the breaking point of being changed. i call it "when my spirit was broken"

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  15. So beautifully written. Thank you for being brave and baring your soul to us.

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  16. So beautifully written and honest! Your strength is inspiring!!

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  17. I read this and instantly got goose bumps! Thank you for writing this. You are beautiful inside and out.

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  18. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. It's got to be so completely confusing emotionally when the person whom God intended to love us more than any other human on earth, decides they want someone else instead. I'm very thankful for my husband after reading this. Thank you so much.

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  19. This is so beautifully written and so brave of you. I have been enjoying your blog for a while but I have never commented before. Your writing is as sublime as your wonderful photos.

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  20. This is so powerful! I am on my second marriage and I know how painful lies can be. Bravo to you...brave sister..its like we are a tribe of survivors and we understand how it goes. Eloquently put! Hearts, Janna Lynn

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  22. Thank you for writing this. It means so very much to me, because I have been stuck in that battle too. Three years later I am only just asking for help with the depression that I have hidden for so long. My beautiful babies were my saving grace, and i clung to their smiles and love, because it was the only thing i could feel and know was real. Thank you. Thank you.

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  23. that was so beautifully written and honest. thanks for sharing - looking forward to reading the rest (despite being about your tough times) x

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  24. divorce is a strange thing. so common, but so devastating and hurtful in a myriad of ways to every person who goes through it. i really admire what you've put out, and how you've shared it. and i'm also glad to know that you're happier now. <3

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  25. lovely. perfectly put.
    I have always and will forever describe leaving my first marriage as "the leap".
    Thank you for sharing.

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  26. beautiful. I felt privileged reading this.
    you are brave!

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  27. Thank you for sharing this. This was beautiful and raw and captivating. Women need to prop each other up by sharing their stories. And I thank you for sharing yours.

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  28. oh katie... bless your beautiful soul. i am also part of that large statistic and have faced the disappointment of altered dreams... i say it all the time, but you are truly inspiring!

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  29. so wonderfully put.. thanks for sharing this.

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  30. Your post was so beautifully written. Really, there are no words to describe how this makes me feel. I'm sad that you had to go through something as painful as this, but it also makes me realize how strong the soul is. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  31. This was beautifully written and so heartbreaking. I am so sorry that you've gone through all of this, but I admire your strength.

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  32. Intense. I feel sorrowed and brightened by your loss/discovery. I am so happy you shared this.

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  33. The last paragraph and sentence shook me to my core. Thank you for sharing your pain and story with us. You are a brilliant writer.

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  34. I love the way you're sharing a bit of your salvation here. Keep on, Mama.

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  35. Wow - I came here from Liz's Twitter and I have to say, this was extremely moving. You are a gifted writer and can verbalize that which stumps others into silence so well. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  36. thank you for sharing your experience <3

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  37. I went through very similar in a relationship once. Though thankfully it was without children/marriage involved. (For me, but not for him, he had several exs and children and one was a marriage.) I can completely appreciate why you stayed and what you went through while staying. We had hope and faith and broken trust. Thank you for sharing. *hugs*

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  38. Dearest friend, I admire your honesty, your strength, and your heart beyond words. Your writing is a gift, and it's always blessed me to read about your world. You shared this incredibly difficult time in your life in such a beautiful way... And I can tell that, as deeply hurtful and brutal as this was, joy was found in your pain. And I feel so proud of you and the way you've gone through the past few years with such grace and hope. I know God is blessing you immensely for that, and I hope He continues to do so... you deserve all the goodness in the world, mama. You are an inspiring soul and a dear heart. <3

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  39. Thank you for this. You're a beautiful writer and you're so brave for sharing this. xx

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  40. Katie,

    I have been a reader of your blog for a while and haven't commented, but I wanted to thank you and tell how admire your courageousness to be open and speak of your story, no matter how lovely and sorrowful it was. You are a beautiful, eloquent writer and I know your kind words help others going through such a painful experience.

    ♥ Kate

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  41. i've been trying to think of what i could say to you since i read this earlier today at work (oops). i suppose i could just say thank you, though. i recently found out that my father cheated on my mother for more than half of my life, with the same woman. my mom didn't decide to leave him until months after we even found out, and i struggled with her decision quite a bit. i couldn't even look at my dad - how could she share a bed with him? tell him that she loved him? the decision to finally leave still haunts her, although i think she has found a new happiness, and i have never quite grasped why until i read this.

    my mom's decision to leave is one of the things that i admire most about her, but i never gave her the credit for trying to stay that i should have.

    i feel like i may actually be on my way to forgiving my mom for her insistence on waiting to decide to leave, and maybe even my dad.. and i have you & your honesty to thank. <3

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  42. Wow, Katie. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. You're such an amazing writer and this truly touched me. I'm so proud of you for taking the leap<3

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  43. thanks for sharing. i've often wondered if God would give me the strength to stay if this, every woman's fear, happened to me.

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  44. this is just... wow. i'm speechless.
    thanks a lot for sharing.

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  45. Im so sorry this has happened to you! :-(
    I hope you ll find a true loe and that you heal soon. Betrayal is the worst. I hope you ll have the strength to move on, but I dont doubt it because you were strong enough to let go! Good luck katie!

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  46. You are one very inspiring woman, I stumbled across your blog and now find hope and strength in your words xx

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  47. Wow, Katie. This is all so much to process, so beautifully and devastatingly expressed, and it made me teary. I want you to know that I think you are a beautiful soul, and that I admire you so much even though we've never met. I wish so much happiness for you, and I truly believe that you will be blessed with all of the best, you deserve it so much.

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  48. My dear friend, you are one of the bravest and most beautiful people I know. I'm glad you finally shared your story.

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  49. Katie, this was so carefully & beautifully written. I will pre-order any book you write :) Knowing what you've been through makes me so happy for you & all the love you have in your life. It is no wonder why you cherish it. I truly wish the very best for you & Matt & Max!

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  50. Thank you for your honesty, your transparency, your bravery and your careful consideration in choosing your words. This reads as if coming from your very heart. Thank you for sharing with us. There are so many, myself included, who will be nodding along in agreement to so much of what you've written. Thank you for putting it into words.

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  51. Thank you, thank you. I have tears coming down my face because I have been there. I AM THERE. 7 months post divorce. After 10 years of marriage and one sweet girl. I relate with you when you said a lot of things, but especially that you had a need to hear it all at once and stitch your heart back together. Thank you. You are brave. You are strong.

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  52. Thank you so much for sharing. I just finalized a divorce in February. Your writing is so lovely.

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  53. Katie, thanks for sharing. First off, I am a big Avett Bros. fan and had not heard "Murder in the City" until this past Mother's Day when my 15 year old son played it for me. Best present ever. The words that you quoted have been dancing in my head for weeks now and to see them pop up on your blog was sweet. Second, Max was created in love and friendship and nothing can change that. You are still family just in a different shape. And kudos to you for taking the high road back when it started, the view is so much nicer up there. Have a lovely day.

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  54. Katie, you have no idea how much this means to me, and that you would take the time to talk with me personally about it...You have encouraged me in more ways than you know. You put so much of what I have been feeling into the perfect words... the hardest thing I think to let go of, is what I thought marriage was going to be, I had to bury my childhood ideas of marriage too...and It's not easy to let go of. I suppose life has a way of throwing curve balls. Thank you for sharing your story, I am so happy for you and Matt :)

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  55. Wow. Thank you for being so real and honest. I wish more people would open up like you! You had me in tears.

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  56. you're so brave. i'm so glad you are happy now!

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  57. wow, i so admire women who have been through situations like this and come out thriving and better because of it. you are amazing! thank you for sharing your story with all of us.

    p.s. beautifully written, as usual.

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  58. When we suffer in darkness for so long it always helps us appreciate life when it's in the light!
    It's so great to read a post that is from the heart and so incredibly honest & sincere. Thanks Katie!
    Big hugs!

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  59. This is so beautifully written and I admire your strength and valour for first of all living it all and secondly for writing it down, I am sure both must have been hard. I guess it must be funny looking back at those times wondering how you would manage to get through another day and seeing where you are now! and I am glad you have a man that loves you the way you deserve to be loved :) it has been a wonderful peek into a part of your very personal life and subject which is often not talked about - but I am glad you stayed, that you fought, that you tried, that you gave it a go. I hope that life only gets sweeter and more fuller for you as each day passes.

    Sending all my good wishes
    Katyha xx

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  60. My internet was down so I'm reading this a day late. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I'm sorry for everything that you went through but love your life via blog. You seem to have such a great little world.

    Kacie
    http://acollectionofpassions.blogspot.com

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  61. You are such an amazing role model! Max is so lucky ( I am sure he knows:) to have such a strong momma like you. I especially love how you decided to be forgiving and choose love instead of the alternative. If that doesn't describe courageous then I don't know what does. You have such a contagious outlook on life!!

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  62. Katie, Thank you for this. I've been a reader since the early days...I found your blog one night while I was home alone because my daughter's father was out again, "m.i.a." for another evening. Your words and your strength have touched and healed that deep part in me...the part left scarred from my broken dream as a wife, as well. So grateful for this post...for your courage and your grace. Thank you. Big hugs.

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  63. Katie,

    I finally got a chance to catch up on my favorite blogs tonight and I'm sitting here, with tears in my eyes, as I read this. Half sad tears (for the way you felt) and half happy (for the way you now feel). I am so proud to know you- you're such a strong, amazing, beautiful, inspiring woman...and it took a lot of guts to share this with the world. Thank you so much for putting this out there and letting all of us in on your journey. Sending you so much love my sweet friend.

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  64. I was filled with memories as I read this. Our childhood was so innocent and sweet, it makes me so glad that you are doing everything in your power to provide that for Max. I am sad for Jesse that he made such horrible choices, but I'm glad that you had the courage to move on, and it is obvious that this experience is fine-tuning who you are into a beautiful and strong example for others.

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  65. I've read this a few times now. the first time I cried. I've been following you long before you started this particular blog and I remember the divorce and when you moved out, or at least what you wrote about those things (not very much, from what I remember). I was impressed then with how you handled yourself (staying positive, at least in terms of your internet presence) and I'm even more impressed now that I know more of the story.

    I don't comment very often but I read every entry you write and I love following your adventures with max and matt. your ability to find small, otherwise unnoticed wonders in every situation really inspires me. it is a gift- a gift that I suspect has helped you get through these dark/tough times (with max's help, of course!).

    thank you for sharing this with us.

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  66. thank you for sharing this. the guy i'm dating was in your position and hearing your experience is helping me to understand what he went through a little more.

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  67. your journal is therapy to me. thank you, katie.

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  68. Woman, you are amazing. You are such a talented writer, your words are so tangible to me at all time, even in moments I have not experienced.

    My heart hurts for you and what you had to go through. I'm also incredibly inspired by how far you've come. I've been through many difficult things in my short 29 year life (divorce being one of them) and it's so encouraging to see someone else's success. So happy for you and the life you have built- you deserve all the happiness in the world.

    Thank you for sharing your story and allowing us all to have a look. I find my favorite blogs to be those peppered with tender, emotional, painful moments. REAL moments in a real life. I'm so thankful to Danielle at Sometimes Sweet for introducing me to your blog. It's truly one of my favorites. xo

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  69. katie i remember when this happened and i was in shock and sad for you, but i knew you would come through like gold...you are such an inspiration and this writing touches me so much because i am in the beginnings of a divorce now and aside from reading this I am numb to the topic. thank you so much you are an inspiration to me as always
    xoxo
    adrienne <3

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  70. as someone who is going through a somewhat similar situation, i thank for sharing. i certainly understand the 'wanting to know everything' attitude. you & your words are beautiful, thank you again for sharing, i think you have hit a nerve with me.

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  71. I have a friend who is going through a similar situation right now, and I was just saying, I can't imagine what she is going through. Thank you for articulating it in a way that hopefully will help me be there for her in a better way. I will pass this along when it feels right.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  72. This is super-brave and I'm so happy you've bared these parts of your soul - I'm so sad that this happened to you, that people do this to other people, and - as someone quick to take a stand on what I'd do in the same situation, it's really made me think how hard either way would be. Hugs to you! I hope it helps sew the wounds a little more, sharing this, too - I feel like it's really sad when bloggers feel like these thing can't be shared...

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  73. I am awed by your words here.
    They are so brave and true.
    They resonate with me in a way no other words about all this ever have.
    I have walked your journey.
    At least parts of it.
    Except 1.5 years later we are still working and healing.
    And while I still find myself wanting to giive into the fear, I try not to.
    It is the hardest thing I have ever done.
    All of it.
    It has also been the lonliest journey of my life.
    Reading your words makes me feel less alone.
    Some one else out there has felt the things I have felt.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Love from,
    Greta

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  74. This is all so true and beautiful, but what got me most was
    i lost a few friends by staying

    Why do we feel the need to judge how others deal with pain? I'm so sorry you had to go through all that but thank you, so much, for sharing your experience.

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  75. oh my my my katie!! i miss seeing u and ur family sooooo much!! ur posts r the most precious things ever!! u r a true inspiration!! i miss u all!! and cant wait to c u all again, including matt and the new bundle of joy!! hehehehehehehehehe love u all bunches!! <3 :))

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