Divorce is very similar to death...
I met the “love of my life” in the fall of 1984. I hired her as my assistant in the accounting department of an advertising agency. I was married at the time and had three children. I didn’t know that Nadine was my soul mate until about Christmas of 1986. My marriage fell apart in March 1986 and I moved out on my own at that time. I started seeing Nadine outside of work in about June of 1986 (yah like only three months later).
After a number of dates and a run in with my ex-wife Nadine and I moved in together in February 1987. It was a wonderful relationship because it seemed that we really were two peas in a pod, cuff & link, ham and eggs. Once my divorce was finalized May 1989 we set a date and got married July 15th 1989. On this date I was awarded custody of the three children, we took possession of a 5 bedroom house, went to the SPCA to save a dog and quit drinking (I have been sober for 23 years now). Everything was fine…
Our newly married life was marred with court battles with the ex, rearranging schedules (mostly Nadine’s) so that the children had someone to care for them. She really went above and beyond to be the “new step mom.” Did I mention she’s 18 years younger than me!!! I hired when she was 20 and we started dating when she was 21. She was 25 when we married but nevertheless, she was taking on a hell of lot more than most people her age.
As time went on, one of the children became too much to handle and was in trouble in school and a disturbing influence at home. It was mutually decided that he would go and live with his mother. He did that and about a year later he had an accident and drowned. I now got to bury my 11 year old son. His younger brother decided (after the funeral and with his mother’s coercion) to leave my house and go live with his mother to take the place of his deceased brother. He’s 30 now and I haven’t had a relationship with him since that move.
After the death of a child, one gets rather reflective and seeks outside professional help to cope with the loss. As it happened I found I hadn’t dealt with my father’s death (1982), the death of my first marriage (1986) or the most recent death of my son (1991). I quit my job and ended up in a psychiatric day care program that lasted for 12 weeks 8 hours a day. There was a psychologist AND a psychiatrist in each of the groups of 6 patients. It was a gruelling introspection and very helpful. It was around this time that Rebecca decided to become problematic, she was kicked out of school several times and finally we told her we couldn’t take any more she’d have to go live with her mother too. The next three or four years were quite difficult for Rebecca and for us. Fortunately she outgrew her rebellion and turned into a lovely, responsible, independent woman. We are very proud of her.
Once I got myself together, Nadine and I decided that we would go into business for ourselves so we set up a cappuccino bar and pastry shop (Nadine loved to bake). We struggled with this for over 2 years and finally did a “midnight move” after Starbucks moved in about 200 feet away from us. We lost about $ 50,000 on this business. Nadine had her own set of emotional and stress related issues after this because she worked a full time job along with doing most of the baking before and after her regular gig.
At about this time as well, Nadine and I tried to have a child of our own. She underwent several bouts of in-vitro fertilization and a few intracytoplasmic sperm injections (ICSI) that’s where they insert the sperm directly into the egg. This was all very difficult on her both physically and mentally. As it tuned out she is incapable of having children and this too has had a serious impact on her life.
We closed the store and went back into accounting for advertising agencies. Guess I should never have left ‘cause we are BOTH still in accounting in ad agencies. I just had a birthday, my 65th and have slowed my accounting practice to about two days a week to give me more time to do chores around the house and take on extra household jobs as required. On my birthday we ran the Eugene Oregon marathon (Nadine did the half) it was a goal I have to do a marathon every five years. We also did a tandem parachute jump from 14,000 feet in Hawaii in February this year.
Life was grand. Rebecca (oldest daughter) is married with two little girls and a third on the way. She and Nadine are good friends. The granddaughters think she is first class and an a-one gramma.
Four days ago, Nadine told me that “she didn’t want to be married to me anymore”, she was tired and needed to be on her own to “find herself.” She’s 47 now and looks fantastic. She is more confident and attractive than she has ever been.
I am absolutely devastated. I’m in shock and cannot function properly. I’m reaching out for help in as many areas as I can. She stuck with me through many of the worst things a relationship can throw at you and now she has had enough. She agrees it is selfish on her part but I can hardly blame her. As I write this, it is getting clearer to me that she really does need to “move on.” Her inflexible decision has come as a complete shock to me but really, look at the history we have. She IS NOT interested in marriage counselling she simply wants to be on her own and hopes that we can remain friends. By the way, all of our friends and acquaintances (even her parents) are equally as shocked because they all thought we had a “great” relationship.
The last ten years of so have been exceptional, travelling to exotic places, cruises (5 of them) and visiting cities that most people only dream of visiting, two three week stints in Japan when Rebecca was there teaching English, 15 trips to Hawaii, cruised the Panama Canal, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, we’ve visited London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Switzerland (I skied the Alps), New York (twice), the Maritimes, the St Lawrence, Quebec City, Montreal, Barcelona, Cannes, the Italian Riviera, Mexico (never to be repeated as Nadine was really sick there), we’ve walked the beaches of Barbados, visited the Pyramids of the Incas in Central America, not to mention most states in the western USA along with various locations in BC.
We have truly had a great ride. I have no regrets at all. She has truly been a remarkable partner. I’ve shared 25 years of her life, she IS the love of my life and I still love her dearly. I must try and find a way to “set her free.” It’s very difficult. I’ve cried a lot in the past four days, but writing this all down brings a new peace to me that I didn’t have a few hours ago. To try and convince her to “stick around” is not fair to her, she has earned her independence. I really want her to be happy. I hope I am invited into her life once all this shock and “change” has settled. We are civil to each other and have had a few teary eyed discussions in the past three days. Yes I’m hurt, but time will allow me to heal and maybe my own fears of being on my own will allow me to become a better person. There are a number of loose ends to tie up and a clear head would make those chores easier.
I’m trying to be strong and let her do what she feels she MUST do. I have felt over the past number of months that she might be having an affair, I feel more convinced now that she was wrestling with what she needed to do, and how she was going to tell me, her parents and several close friends. She still cares for me, I know that, but her need to be “on her own” is stronger than the US I thought would go on until death do us part…
As the grieving process continues I will re-read this and possibly edit it as I feel necessary.