She’s Leaving Home, Bye-Bye

I am finally moving into my own place after two and a half years cohabitating with my ex-husband. We were living in this arrangement to better raise the kids together, and for a million other practical reasons. This situation was never supposed to be permanent, and of course I understand this is the next correct step. I fought for this, my independence, but then how do you explain that when the lease application arrived in my email, I cried for an hour and a half straight? (And it wasn’t just because of my bad credit.)

The weeping has continued, on and off, as I got approved and the lease signed. As my ex and I had one of our very rare fights about how it will all look when we move to separate locations. As I started to think about what I would take and what I would leave behind. I know that millions of people go through this daily, but I don’t want to become the bitter person who looks at wedding pictures and says to myself, “Aw. I hope the divorce is just as pretty.”

I am writing this in a lull of tears. For a few days now I have done many things through tears- drive, text friends, answer emails, and load laundry. The kids have seen me cry a few times despite my best efforts. Tonight it was as simple as watching the remake of “Annie.” I welled up with love for my children, where moments before in the kitchen I had been a real live Miss Hanagan. Oh divorce, you are a cunt, and so am I.

I am the reason for this. I caused this fucking disaster with my insistence to throw a bowling ball at the pins formerly known as my life. It’s a strike but not the lucky kind, more like strike three and you’re tapped out, busted and broken down. In this case, the house always loses.

Two years and five months ago almost to the day, I don’t recall my thought processes exactly, but I must have said, “Oooh let’s see what happens if we careen this train off the rails? Who wants to be married anyway? Wonder how many decapitations there will be?” The body count has exceeded even my usually catastrophic prognosis, and I am chief bloody walking ex-corpse-bride, the true Zombie Divorcee; the ultimate irony is I am not even legally divorced yet. So you know that blog is going to be epic…

Sure the old ex-husband living in close proximity has put a damper on the colossal amounts of F’s I am D for (DTF, get it?) but those of you who read me know I’ve managed quite well. Even if I have to trick people as to my exact living situation, I have done it, which is reprehensible. Mama has to get hers, without it the unbearable realization that I ruined my life for absolutely nothing. At least when there is a dick, I am temporarily occupied. It’s like putting a Band Aid on a gangrenous limb, but it works in a pinch, when amputation is not available or covered by insurance.

Yes I still slept alone many times while my ex husband worked, but he existed as an overarching concept, a fuzzy Vaseline fluffing up the edges of reality through the lens of life. A fuzzy blanket of comfort on my darkest days (and there were many.) The realization has hit me over and over and does not get any more pleasant that now NO ONE HAS MY BACK. I mean, nobody. Sure, friends, and I am blessed with great ones. But he was my everything, and even though yes, well meaning people, I understand that this is a new important chapter, and positive changes are ahead, and assorted other Marianne Williamson quotes, the fact remains that I am not one of those people relieved to be divorcing some abusive asshole. I (almost) wish.

I wish I could go back to the person who could have stayed married. I wish I could go into my DNA with an infrared laser and carve out the things that made me want anything different. I wish I could turn back who I was, regress in a way, to the girl who was literally rescued at twenty-three when she never in a million years expected to be loved. But there is no Tardis, no Delorean, not even a Hot Tub Time Machine. I cannot change who I became, or who he did, and no amount of tears can drown out that truth.

What I have lost cannot be regained as it no longer exists, and I have been clear on that for a long time. But for some reason this moving thing, and all the adult decisions it entails, throws into stark relief that I allowed myself to become an incapable moron while I was married, when it came to matters of the everyday. And even as I become less moronic, sometimes it still feels like without being married—the identity, the reality, the comfort and the friendship I enjoyed for so long—I literally have nothing left.


  1. Been there, done that, I’ve been to Bali too…….. ( I love Redgum )

    Beautifully written piece. I related so much to this. 11 years ago I went through all this. The ‘house stuff’ is the worst. For me the idea that at times my son wouldn’t be under the same roof as me was so hard to take. I felt like I’d let him down. For the most part it has worked out really well thought. The initial part of moving etc sux balls, in time though it in itself creates whole new possibilities.
    That and think of the filthy sex in every room you will be able to have in your new place when the kids are staying with Dad! ( I need to remind my 2nd wife that this should be occurring 😄 )
    I’m not a crier but this part of life you are going through, was the time in my life I cried too, it’s a grieving process and while it doesn’t feel great now it’s important to go through. ( I know you know this 😊)
    You are not alone and thank you as always for sharing.

    • And I’m really impressed about the crying! That really makes me feel better- if this made a stoic (albeit underneath emotional) Aussie man cry, this must be some heavy shit. I’ve been off anti-depression meds for almost a year, so the tendency is still to pathologize everything.

  2. You’re right; if he was an abusive scumbag it’d be easier. That’s what I left behind when I moved out I didn’t have the crying and the tears when I left. Those occurred during the marriage itself.
    I guess you’re experiencing regret because it wasn’t all bad. That part I envy you. But it was sooo much easier for me to leave.
    I hope (and have no doubt) you will be fine because you are a survivor. Lately I’ve come to appreciate just how significant that truly is.
    Your friends and readers all are rooting for you. I count myself (albeit from a distance) as both.

    • I don’t know about it being easier. I have talked to various people about it who were in truly awful relationships and maybe the leaving part wasn’t awful but… At some point the dream of what you thought it was going to be has to die and that can’t be any easier when someone turns into a monster on top of it all. It’s all hard and it all sucks, until it doesn’t. Thanks as always for giving a shit.

  3. Such a great post…made me cry as even if you can see the benefits to the relationship being over, there’s still such a deep, deep sense of loss for it all.

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