For a year, whenever I disagreed with my ex he would ask, “what do you want…a deeevorce?” He would say “deeevorce” instead of “divorce”, like saying it that way somehow made it less hurtful, funny even. He said this with a smile, knowing that I would never leave him. You see, this started almost as soon as I got laid off from my well-paying job. I was trapped, or so we both thought.
That year I heard “what do you want…a deeevorce?” when I didn’t like what he was doing with the kids. I heard “what do you want…a deeevorce?” when he gave me my list of weekly chores to be completed while he was away (he was a pilot so was gone half the time). I heard “what do you want…a deeevorce?” when he didn’t like what I suggested for dinner. I heard “what do you want…a deeevorce?” when I wanted to watch something different on TV, or spend time with friends, or do anything he disagreed with.
Then one day, after a disagreement about something fairly minor, I decided that yes, I really DID want a deeevorce. Or a divorce. Or whatever he decided to call it.
This final time when he asked the question, he had gotten so used to having control he hadn’t considered the fact that I had a new job. He hadn’t considered that I might be unhappy. He hadn’t considered that just maybe my opinion, my thoughts, my feelings actually mattered.
He was shocked. He absolutely could not believe that I would end our marriage. He could not understand how much this phrase hurt me over the course of the year.
When I was growing up I was always told “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” How untrue this statement is! How unfair this is to the people receiving harsh words from someone who has promised to love them!
This was not the only reason for our divorce. It was just the tipping point. It is what made it easier for me to say “yes, I want a deeevorce.” It is what made me decide that being a single mother was better than being an unhappy married mom. While I wish I didn’t have to put my kids through this, I have never regretted this decision.
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash