Divorce makes people a little nutty. It can make us identify so strongly with our delicate feelings that we behave in a nonsensical manner. As if even the tiniest incident deserves our full attention. As if every word needs to be met with a rebuttal. As if every minor drama is The Fight of Your Life… The following story is an easy example. It’s true. Minor details have been changed to protect individual privacy.
Before the divorce, I had a friend from “his side”. I was a member of her book club and we saw each other frequently. We weren’t terribly close, but we got along well.
While I was packing my stuff to move out, I paused in the office to shoot her an email. I kept it pretty simple- the jist of it was: “Hey, I realize we won’t be seeing each other as much from now on. I hope to still see you at the book club meetings.”
Her response came as quite a surprise to me. I don’t remember it verbatim, but she used phrases like “saddened and disappointed” and “the path to personal growth is not easy” and something about me taking the “easy way out”. Really, I’d expected her to be much more open-minded about the situation.
For days, I agonized over how to respond. I wrote several email drafts that weren’t sent. I was hurt. I was confused. Misunderstood. Angry. I wanted to write her a whole freaking book to explain myself. To say that he cheated on me. That my course of action was not easy. That I was going to grow more by leaving than I would by taking the true easy road- remaining in the confines of familiarity, as I’d repeatedly been invited.
“Just let it go,” a friend encouraged me. “She made it crystal clear that she doesn’t want anything to do with you.”
But I couldn’t leave her with the last word. That would be like admitting I was wrong… like scurrying away with my tail between my legs. I had my pride… I couldn’t do that! I decided to make my response brief yet meaningful:
“Greg and Mistress were dating for a month before he told me he wanted to separate.
She moved into my house the day after I moved out.
You’re saddened and disappointed by my decision? I’d be disgusted with myself otherwise.”
It was a strong response and I was hella proud of myself. Yeah… I really showed her! …or, did i?
Looking back nearly four years later, it all seems so trivial- as these things so often do from afar. I foolishly devoted much of my energy to the situation… and, for what?
Did it matter then? no.
Does it matter now? no.
What was it all about? It wasn’t about her understanding the truth. I’m ashamed to admit it: it was about me pretending to be a victim so I could hold my head high…. and that doesn’t even make sense!!
My friend was right. I should’ve let it go. I should’ve focused my energy on redefining myself and rebuilding my life. Drama like that drags us down. It gives us a false sense of accomplishment when, in fact, we’ve accomplished nothing.