Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thoughts on Divorce

Stephy had been waiting a long time for her divorce to come through when it became final on Tuesday. Outwardly she was ecstatic and went for drinks with some friends to celebrate. But yesterday she emailed me to ask if it was normal to feel funny about the whole thing, which made me remember how I had felt almost 7 years ago when my divorce became final.

First of all, it was completely anti-climactic. All of the emotional investment and the stress of wondering if I was doing the right thing were long past. The biggest thing had been making the decision to leave in the first place and then gathering the courage and emotional strength to actually do it. By the time the divorce process came to a close, there was no strong emotion left, only a lingering sadness.

Jarda and I had travelled up to
Česká Lípa together by bus for our court date. We were both still registered as living up there and there was not a long wait like there would have been for the Prague courts. It was not long after I had ruptured my calf muscle and I was still on crutches. The court thingy was so fast that it was almost surreal. Jarda and I went to lunch together and then got on another bus back to Prague and said goodbye at the bus station.

I had arranged to meet some friends for drinks at Red Room that afternoon. I objected to the gathering being called a divorce party because I didn’t feel it should be a party. I wasn’t really celebrating, it was more that I was in need of the support of my friends, or maybe just their company. I had only asked girlfriends to come, but at the end there were more men than women because the boys had known where I would be and that there would be girls there. Although they did say that they wanted to make sure that I was all right.

But this is the thing I told Stephy. The divorce was a positive thing, to get your freedom back completely when the marriage hasn’t worked out. But the problem is that by getting divorced you have to give up an ideal that you have probably held most of your life, and a belief in yourself that you would get it right the first time, that you would be able to make a marriage work. It is like shattering a dream to let that ideal go. And then there is the matter of having been very much in love at one time with the person you have just divorced. It is sad, just like any break-up, but a different sadness because it is also the end of such a very long process. And it is so very very final.

Yes, Stephy, my love, it is good to feel funny about the whole thing. I think there would be something wrong if you didn’t.

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