I am posting an article from my first guest blawger -my bro-lo el cunado, Matt Mainelli. He sent this to me the other day knowing I was having a down week with little output and asked if I wanted to use it. It sheds light on the tough and personal subject of divorce from the man’s perspective. But you may be surprised by what that take is. It takes some gritty Juevos to share this, but thanks for doing so Matthew.
So without further ado…
When it’s Over by Matt Mainelli
The wheels of the plane touched down and we were officially back in Omaha. Like the rest of the passengers, I scrambled for my cellphone to see what I had missed on the 3 hour flight. I scanned through the texts and emails- a few invites for meetings, 10 emails from my brother Dave (if you read this blog, you know he has a lot of time on his hands), and some unimportant texts. And then I saw it, a text message from my wife who I had been separated from for the last four months. It read:
We are officially divorced. Neither one of us can get married for six months. 🙂 Congrats!
This was not a surprise. I knew it was coming. Hell, I was the one who moved out. But for some reason, it hit me like a ton of bricks. My eyes welled up and tears started rolling down my cheeks. I had a sick feeling and felt like I had been punched in the gut. The woman next to me asked if I was okay. Must be allergies, I told her. This Midwest weather always gets me.
I got off the plane and walked through the airport towards the garage. I found my car and sat in the driver’s seat gathering myself for a long time. The moment again got the best of me, and I started sobbing. My body trembled; my face was wet with tears. What the hell was happening? It had been months since we had been together, and I was confident in my decision. I knew this was best for the both of us. I was excited about the future, the unknown, the freedom. But why this emotion? Isn’t this what I wanted?
That day was six months ago. I feel better every day about the decision I made and am happy with my life. But this week I had two close friends reach out to me and tell me that their divorces had become official. I knew they both had wanted to make a change for a while and for the most part had even moved on with their lives, but they were having a tough time with the cold finality- just as I did. It was emotional; it was hard, it was sad. Why? they asked. Why was this day so hard for them? It all came back to me in a flood of emotions. It brought me back to that day on the plane.
With some time now behind me from that day I received the text, I was able to really think about that situation with a more objective eye. I put myself back on that plane, back in that car. I had wanted a divorce for a while and prepared myself for it. We had a very amicable split- no arguments, no tension. It was easily the best divorce I had ever had… having only one under my belt. But when I got that text, it became very real.
Was what I was feeling, regret? No- I never once regretted choosing divorce. My wife and I were much better friends than we were at being married. It is work, hard work and neither one of us was willing to put that work in. When you find the one, both people should want to put the work in.
Was it loneliness that I was scared of? It’s true, I have never been alone for an extended period of time nor had I ever lived alone. Did it give me a little anxiety? Yes. But I was also excited about it. No one to check in with. No one to get in trouble with. It was more exciting than scary.
It wasn’t until I was sitting by myself at lunch the next afternoon at work when it hit me. It was so simple. The feeling was sadness. I was sad that a very important chapter of my life was over. I was sad that the woman I had been connected to in every aspect of my life for ten years, who I planned to spend the rest of my life with, was officially not my wife anymore. It was sad. It was heartbreaking.
Whether I wanted a move or not didn’t change the fact that it was a major part of my life and was now gone. We made a life together, we made a home together, we had dogs – that I loved. And now, it was over. And you know what? I’m glad it made me sad. Because if it hadn’t, I would have been upset with myself once the smoke cleared out of my head.
The fact is, no matter how it ended, I loved her and she loved me, and we will always carry that with us. That was no accident. We spent a large amount of time together and accomplished great things both individually and as a couple. We survived down times and celebrated the hell out of the good times. I will never regret my time being married to her. I will never look back with anger or animosity. I will look back with love and smile about the memories we made together. Whether it was our journey to Portland or the first night in our new house, no one can take them from us.
So when I think about my two friends who finalized their divorces this week and how they are struggling with it, I have a sense of what they might be going through. I was there. My advice to them is to let themselves feel. Feel the sadness they are experiencing. Feel the excitement of a new beginning. Feel glad to be alive. This chapter is not easy, but there is nothing you can do now but own your emotions that you have and take it one day at a time.