This post is going to get pretty personal. I mean, if I’m talking about my divorce, how can it not be? Let me start by saying this: I never thought I would be 32 years old and divorced. Yes, my parents are divorced, but that doesn’t mean that I was thinking ahhh, I’ll try it out and see what happens! I genuinely thought I’d get married, buy a house, have a kid, have another kid, and then live happily ever after. I’m pretty sure this is the American dream. (Maybe there’s a white picket fence and a husband who makes millions of dollars, too).
But as you know, that’s not exactly how things panned out.
Randy and I met in 2001. He was a senior in high school, I was a freshman. We were both on the winter track and spring track team. That’s how we met. He was different. He was older. He wore a dumb bandana, wrist wraps, one pant leg rolled up to his knee, and a dog tag around his neck. He was funny. He was nice. Everyone liked him. All signs pointed to Swoonsville for 15-year old Lauren.
He had a girlfriend at the time so we were just friends. But there was obviously a spark between us. He went on to graduate from school that year and over the next 4 years we kept in touch via AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and then texting (I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was 16!). We would get together during the summers when he came back from school but we were always just friends.
And then finally, the summer in between my first and second years of college, the stars finally aligned. Randy was back home, commuting to Brooklyn for his last year of college. I was commuting to Stony Brook. I guess things were different this time and we started dating. I was 19. Randy was 22.
Our relationship had its ups and downs like most people. But we fell into the roles we’d adopt for the next 12 years pretty quickly. And I’d be lying if I said things were always fresh and exciting. Things started getting a little stale (but NEVER bad) even before we got married (I was 25 when we walked down the aisle). But like a lot of people, I thought about all the years we’ve put in, how much we care about one another, how we’d make a good parenting team, etc. I thought this was all kinda normal.
But there was definitely something missing. The love that we had for one another when we were 19 and 22 was waaaaay different than the love we had for each other at 31 and 34. We literally morphed into friends. Which seems OK but it began to take a toll on both of us.
And it led us to where we were in January of 2018 when we finally started talking about it…
Before I go any further, there’s one very important tidbit of information you should know about: this was a joint decision. While it may have taken us a little while to get on the same page initially, we both agreed that this is what makes the most sense for us and our family. One of the things that Randy and I have in common is that we are very logical. We can both get emotional at first, but we tend to look to logic in order to solve problems. We made graphs, flow charts and the classic pros and cons list (kidding, not kidding).
We both made lists of things we wanted in a relationship. As I read through Randy’s list there were things I really wanted too, but I couldn’t picture me being that person with him.
We had options: ignore the problem or end things now, while we still liked each other.
What we wanted to feel for each other just wasn’t there. And we could’ve forced it because we get along well and we enjoy each other’s company, but we didn’t want to. We were concerned that forcing it would lead us down a bad path.
So we decided to live our truth. Own it. And accept all the fallout that might come from it. And when I say fallout, I’m mostly talking about the looks of disappointment and sadness on our parents’ faces.
I get the traditional family is still the societal norm. And that divorce is seen as “bad.” But I think it’s because people force themselves to stay in marriages that they’re unhappy with. We took into consideration many factors- including our children, our financial situation, and of course our own happiness.
Even though Randy and I always supported one another, there was something about our relationship that prevented us from growing. It was holding us back from becoming the people we are today. Remember when I told you that I wanted to start a blog years ago? Randy encouraged me to do it. But I didn’t! He was supportive about it, but I still held back. He pushed me, yet I didn’t budge. Why? Because I wasn’t the person I was a year ago when I started this blog. I had some growing to do. Like big time growing. I needed to go through this phase in order to really show up for my life.
And yes, IT’S SCARY!!! What if I never find someone else?! What if no one is willing to put up with my weird quirks?! What if I have to date 100 men before I find “the one”?! (Sidebar, I don’t actually believe in there being only ONE person for everyone. I feel like when you find “the one” it’s really “the one” that suits who you are in that moment best). But still… so many WHAT IFs! Of course I ask myself these questions. I think all single people do. There’s no guarantee that I’ll find someone and live happily ever after.
In the meantime, Randy and I are committed to ourselves, to each other and to our children to make this the best possible divorce in the history of all divorces. Are there times we piss each other off? Yes. Are there times when we disagree? Sure. But we both want the same things out of life: to raise happy, healthy and kind children and to be happy with our own lives. We don’t want to wake up 10 years from now and be absolutely miserable.
And so we’ve created our own version of the ‘modern’ family. The type that is divorced but can still go to the park together with our kids, or better yet, eat dinner together. We can confide in each other about our dating experiences and what’s going on with work and our personal goals. It might seem weird to people, but it works for us. Our relationship might change as we begin dating other people more seriously. They might not be so understanding of how our relationship works. So we’ll probably have to make some adjustments. But sorry friends, there’s not going to be any major drama so if that’s what you’re into, find another 32 year old divorcée to follow on social media. 😉
I know there’s a saying that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side— and it’s true. But I’m not looking for greener grass, I’m just looking for the shade of grass that fits me best. 🙂 And it might take some time, but that’s OK. Like I said, I’m confident that the chips will fall exactly as they’re supposed to.
So here’s to the next phase of my life!