One thing that surprised me when Bob left was how easy it is to obtain a divorce in this country. The legal system is set up to expedite matters, not slow the process down, no matter how long you've been married, in my case 26 years.
Even the lawyer I consulted about blocking Bob’s moves to dismantle our marriage step by step looked at me like I was nuts. Be realistic, he said to me, your husband doesn’t want to save the marriage. But I still wanted to put a brake on things, thinking he would soon come to his senses and return home. This is before I learned from a reliable divorce source that once a man moves out, taking all his possessions with him, the marriage is for all intent and purposes over.
I should have believed Bob’s actions, not his words. He promised he would go to counseling with me and actively work toward saving our marriage. To demonstrate his sincerity, he had even prepaid both our counselors for TWICE a week visits for a year. I only saw Bob during those sessions, not in-between. I later learned he was busy flying to his sister’s house in Buffalo every weekend to woo his new girlfriend.
Even through my grief and desperation I saw that grand prepayment for what it was: A self serving move meant to make him look good in the eyes of our counselors. Mine was fooled, but she had the good grace to apologize several months after the divorce. My eyes began to open the day of that prepayment, along with Bob's threat that if I saw a lawyer, any attempt on his part to fix the marriage would end.
I learned that you can love someone for 32 years and be married to him for 26 years and not know him at all. I also learned that when you lose respect for someone, it is easy to fall out of love. Bob’s actions and mean spirited words over the next few months caused me to lose all respect for him. The pain of separation and divorce still gripped me. But with each mean step that he took, came the realization that the man I loved was gone forever. His eyes were so cold, that the last time we went to therapy I barely recognized him. And I realized that so much of what I loved about him shone through his eyes. He once reserved the warmest, most loving looks for me, and I basked in that reflected glory. Back when we were happy, there was no better man in the world as far as I was concerned, and I was loyal to a fault.
As a friend later told me, "Through your eyes Bob was an interesting and perfect man. Through our eyes, he fell short." What my friends told me after the divorce about their perceptions of Bob amazed me. He had not stood on the same lofty pedestal in their world as he had in mine.
Would I take Bob back now? No. But back then I wanted him back so desperately I almost considered twisting myself into a pretzel to keep him. I’m glad I did not.