A guest post.
“Do you love dad?” My oldest daughter asks. He moved months ago. We’re getting divorced.
“Yes…I love all mankind. I hold love in my heart for him in the same way there’s love there for the homeless man on the street and the stranger in front of us on the check out line.”
She doesn’t ask if I hate him, like him, or respect him. I don’t. I’m grateful she has asked about love. Love is easy.
Early on in my separation, I decided I would take the high road during and after my divorce. It meant never speaking poorly of anyone, dealing only in truth, making choices I could be proud to share with my daughters. I would face whatever came at me from a place of love even if it was uncomfortable or difficult. It would be the end of a marriage and the continuation of a family for the sake of my daughters. Divorce, after all, is a doorway to freedom. Surely, two individuals set free from something that no longer serves them will be able to work together for the highest good, right?
I did not consider that my wasband* and I were actually transitioning into a new relationship where the terms would rarely be agreed upon. So I chose the high road, he chose his road, and turns out we don’t share a destination. We actually aren’t even on the same map. Despite early signs this was the case, I insisted on staying the course because the high road is the “right” road…right?
The high road is next level good girl training. If like me, you were raised to be a “good girl” then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Good girls smile and are polite and never ruffle feathers. They work hard not to offend. I graduated from good girl training and am working to undo a lot of what I learned. The high road has been a quick adult education course in how a societal narrative can oppress you under the guise of nobility. If I always choose to do what’s deemed “right”, by no one and everyone, then I’m not the bad guy and by default the good guy. The price I pay for doing the right thing and being the good girl is silence.
Nothing is worth the price of silence.
The high road deals exclusively in silence and sugarcoating reality. It has meant, as good girlhood demands, lots of smiling and assuring everyone we’re f i n e. Because, really, we are. But that’s not a complete picture of what’s happening. It’s meant weighing how my words paint another person and how the truth might make people uncomfortable. So I speak in half-truths and vague f i n e-ness.
I’ve taken full responsibility for making sure no one gets their feelings hurt – all the parties involved and the bystanders who ask how we’re doing. While I chose to stand in love to face my divorce, I forgot I needed to start first and foremost with self-love. The high road neglects to take me into consideration.
“He’s dead to me.” These were the words of my best friend in high school. She was a serial monogamist who’d recently broken up with her boyfriend. We were discussing if it was possible to stay friends with an ex. Being the consummate single girl with a serious inclination to also be the good girl, I balked at the idea of burning bridges with someone so furiously and permanently.
It wasn’t until I got divorced that I fully understood my best friend’s sentiment towards her ex. She never wished any harm to him but continuing any kind of relationship did not serve her highest good. So why bother? Without my daughters to bind us until their eighteenth birthday, I would certainly take the same approach as my childhood friend.
Instead, I’m jumping off the high road. I’m standing in truth. To my daughters, strangers, family, friends I will deal in truth. I have no plans to bad mouth anyone or recant details of any disagreements. But I’m certainly done smiling and blanketing our entire lives under the banner of f i n e.
*Wasband is a term used to define that guy that was your husband but is no longer. It is the brainchild of a beautiful divorced, single mama. May it bring as much joy to you as it does to me.