It's Those Little Habits You Miss ...

Apart from losing your best friend and life's mate during your divorce, you are also losing your financial security and those daily habits that up to now have made your life predictable and comfortable. One of the first habits I had to overcome was not to shout as I opened the front door, "Bob, I'm home!" For those first few weeks I would rush inside the house to share some news, only to find it empty. I cannot tell you how lonely I felt.

There was no longer a way to divide the household duties. All of a sudden I had to take out the garbage, mow the lawn, and pick up laundry at the dry cleaners, as well as purchase groceries, cook the meals, and clean the house.

I worked three part-time jobs all in different parts of the city; oversaw the maintenance of my 2-story house; went to therapy twice a week; and tried to keep up a social schedule of sorts. One thing I could say for certain - I had very little time to relax and feel sorry for myself.

The changes in my daily routine came as little shocks. I recall that the week after Bob left I had made arrangements to have my car serviced. I asked Bob if he would take me, for ostensibly we were "working at saving our marriage," but he coldly said no. I felt too injured to ask someone to pick me up and take me back to the mechanic's, so I spent that morning in the waiting room at the shop.

One month later we were hit with the worst snow storm in a decade. It was Bob with his strong wrestler's shoulders who would clear the sidewalk and parking area in previous storms; it was Bob's 4-wheel drive vehicle that would get us to the grocery store. I did the best I could, going out every hour to clear my front walk and driveway. That night the snow plows came through and trapped my car behind a wall of ice. My reliable, dependable husband was gone, and I did not have the physical strength to tackle that huge pile of compacted snow. I was trapped in my house, alone, with no one to comfort me. During those moments I despaired and cried the hardest.

But life goes on. My routine changed. I found people who could help me in a pinch. I moved furniture around, changed the side of the bed I slept on, placed a t.v. in my bedroom (a big taboo as far as Bob was concerned), got a dog (another taboo), and generally started to live my life not as a couple but as a single person who no longer needed to accommodate someone else. The small changes felt like self-nurture. I felt emboldened to try new things. And after a while, I recaptured the sense of adventure I felt when I had first moved out of my parents' house.

Oh, I did not take all these steps at once. They were slow and deliberate. I savored each change and felt stronger as I made decisions that used to require compromise. In fact, I am so happy with my new home routine, which suits my personality and bio-rhythm, that I started to wonder if I could ever share my house with someone again.

The answer is yes. Last winter a young female colleague moved temporarily into my house. It was so nice to come home and shout out, "Kate, where are you?" and to cook dinner for two, and to hang around in my jammies on Saturday morning discussing plans for the weekend. When Kate moved out, I felt that familiar sense of loss. But then my new routine, the one that is reserved just for me, kicked in again. That is when I discovered that, no matter what the circumstances, I am fine - with someone or by myself.


FI0NA said...

This is lovely, and you're great. Where have you been?

law recruitment said...

Great post! So true

Anonymous said...

All of the things that you now have to do yourself; mowing, taking out the garbage, all the house cleaning, I have to do all that and I am not divorced! I am 53, married 25 years and seriously considering divorce.

Anonymous said...

Your blog has helped me in my decision to continue forward at 52 with my plans for divorce. Thank you. Hope to hear more in the future.

Golria said...

Wonderful posting...Its true!

Thanks & Regards
Divorce Guide

Anonymous said...

YES. I am going through this at 48, and like the others, have been a single mother even though I was married.

I will continue to read as we progress through this together. Thanks for letting me know that I'm not alone.

Joyce Pitrone Hawkins--Wrinkles Don't Hurt said...

Just discovered your blog and love reading it. I will be reading back through your posts.

I have a similar life. Was with one man for 40 years (36 of them married) when he decided to leave. I am just 3 years into my divorce.

I have a blog I started recently and find it helps to write.

Utah Divorce Attorney said...

I think every divorced women can connect to what you wrote. I read many of your blogs and I enjoyed every single of it.