My marriage is a mockery of the word: it’s dead. It’s been over for many years and we have both known it. Together we have continued living a lie; in fact it’s the only thing that we have done together in the last ten years. We say we’re staying together because of the kids: however, the real reason is because we’re both frightened of the next step. We could consult with Specialist Divorce and Family Law Attorneys; we could even consult with our local Priest or a Psychologist. To what purpose I am not sure, as this is the way we have tacitly chosen to be. We don’t speak of it; we don’t speak to each other. We’ve fallen into a sort of grunt and nod sequence when necessary but usually we have surround silence.
The next step means actually doing something about it; i.e. getting divorced. I keep asking myself what would happen once we’re divorced. I wonder how my life would be, because I’d be alone and facing a different life that I’m not used to. It would be unpredictable and strange and I don’t know if I can live a life like that. How can I spend each day never knowing if I’ll meet someone new; if I’ll still have the friends I have now; what if get married again and the same thing happens?
Maybe I’ll never get married again. What then? How can I spend the rest of my life knowing every day that nobody loves me enough to marry me? What will my family and friends think of me if I do get married again?
Then there’s him. Whilst I’m fairly sure that he would never have the audacity to go to Divorce Attorneys: what if he did? What if he gets married again; what if he gets married again and before I do; what if he doesn’t get married again but has affairs right there in front of me?
I might have to move to another area; maybe I should move to a different town nearby; maybe I should just move faraway, like to the coast or something. Anywhere would be better than being embarrassed by him and his new woman.
I don’t think I could go through all of those changes and such a lot of worry. Always wondering what was going to happen; always having to be ready for something different in my life. I don’t think I’d ever feel safe ‘living on the edge’ like that. Maybe I’m better off staying in a loveless and abusive marriage: at least it’s all predicable; and I’ve grown used to everything over the years – why change now, when it could be for the worse?
Fear binds us together and holds us in its thrall. We are mesmerised and fascinated by fear and the thought of what might be and what might not be. We are caught up in an inter-dependence of dread, and suffer each other as an alternative to the terror we feel of what could be if we were single.
Imagine going to Specialist Divorce Attorneys and having to air all this dirty laundry in front of them! How would they react? What would they think? I’m sure they’ve probably heard just about everything under the sun, but this is my story, it’s personal – how would they judge me?
We are damned: damned if we do and damned if we don’t. We have settled for the ‘devil we know’ and now live in the purgatory of what could arguably be called moral turpitude. To me it is depravity because living in a permanent state of abuse in all its many forms is not healthy and should not be normal or even tolerable for any human being.
In addition to that, consider there are two teenage children present who are more than capable of sorting through their assumptions, drawing their own conclusions, handing down judgement and monitoring the punishment of the sentencing. Kids know how to punish their parents and have no hesitation in making use of any means available to them and their imaginations. Imagine involving the kids in a divorce case! They’d sit in front of those Specialist Divorce and Family Law Attorneys and wonder whether to tell the truth or lie to help their parents, and they’d never know which was best.
Over the years I’ve reassured myself that it’s for the kids, but I’ve always known it wasn’t. This is all about fear – my fear. This is my twisted solution to the fear of being alone; the fear of starting out again; the fear of single life the second time around.
If I stop and think about the kids, I would fear their judgement and possible rejection of me if we divorced. How would they feel about me if I dated another man? How would they feel about me if I didn’t date another man? Would they judge me harshly? They mean everything to me and right now I think they feel sorry for me living in such an abusive situation. Maybe they’d feel less kindly and less protective towards me if I was single and independent and made choices they objected to; choices I couldn’t blame on their father.
I can’t risk losing my children’s love and affection; I can’t face their criticisms and reprimands. I’ll play it safe and not alter the status quo with a divorce. In another few years or so they’ll be old enough to lead their own lives and they might move out into places of their own. Maybe I’ll go to see some Divorce Attorneys when the kids are more grown up: three or four years won’t make much difference to him and me; we used to this numbing silent isolation now.