With No Warning, My Husband Filed For Divorce And Now I Am Broken

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I am trapped under the stairs in a blanket fort of my own making.

There are twinkle lights hung above my head and shafts of morning sunlight pierce through the 1970’s Brady Bunch stairs. I have endless chores and tasks and items on my ever-growing to do list.

But I am in no rush to escape my captors. 

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The boy, four, is heavily unconscious on my chest, snoring. The girl, six, is curled against my side, her head on my shoulder, her mouth agape. We are late. But I, who am never late, am going to let us be late. 

It is our first morning in the new house.

Last night was their first night here and they stayed in their rooms all night. In the old house, one or both slept in bed with me or on the makeshift “nest” on the floor. Last night I slept alone, but with my whole family with me. 

You may notice I didn’t mention their father. That’s because he doesn’t live here.

He declared two and a half months earlier, with no warning, that he was filing for divorce. I think none of us have rested since then, until now, curled under the stairs in our new, three person house. 

I am trapped. I have sole custody and all decisions are mine to make.

Their father won’t be taking them for a sleepover for a week. I will be the sole parent for a full week in a house where I am the sole adult.

I have to take out the trash, do the dishes, grocery shop, meal prep and plan, cook, clean, launder, wipe butts, pay bills, tame the wild yard, educate them because school is digital, of course, entertain them because everything is closed, of course.

I have to update my billing address, contact the DMV, and change insurance. I do not have a couch.

There are boxes overtaking the fourth bedroom, the one I will use as an “office” if I ever get a job. I haven’t met the neighbors or even told many of my personal contacts I’ve moved. 

My brain is broken. I am traumatized and have been having memory issues.

I take anxiety medication that was recently prescribed, but don’t like to take it when I’m parenting unless necessary because I need to stay on my toes.

I have trouble making even the smallest decisions because I’ve had to make so many giant ones in such a short period of time.

Don’t ask me what I want for dinner. I don’t have an appetite anyway, but I have no idea what I want for dinner, even if I was hungry. 

My heart is broken.

I have been rejected as a person and have left the home I called mine for the last seven years and the person I called mine for the last seventeen. I miss my neighbors. I miss being hugged. Stupid virus.

I didn’t throw away my wedding albums or my love notes. I packed them in a carefully labeled box. I stashed them on the highest shelf in the office, where I don’t have to see them.

I can decide what to do about them when I’m ready. It feels wrong to erase the letters, to burn them like Eliza Hamilton. I think the kids might want to see my wedding someday, even though I didn’t stay married to their dad. 

My kids are broken. They are resilient and strong. But they are sad.

They are confused. They are scared and everything they knew is gone. They already lost their school earlier this year, and, along with it, their social lives.

They lost their cat a few months later. Then we told them about the divorce.

Then we sold their home while they were still living in it, unable to escape because, where was there to go? Now we’re taking them to not one but TWO new, unfamiliar places. 

So I made it as cozy as I could. I found a house with a magical yard backing up to a natural area.

Our bedrooms are all tucked upstairs, right next to each other.

I bought warm lamps and let them pick out pretty bedding and choose their wall art. Lots of friends somewhat literally risked their lives by entering my house in a pandemic to help me hang curtains, put up ceiling stars, set up the TV and wifi, and generally make the house a home so that, when they arrived yesterday, they had rooms to sleep in, full of toys and pillows.

I hung the twinkle lights under the stairs and filled it with comforters and oversized pillows. 

Their dad dropped them off and went home.

I am alone in this. 

I am trapped with these stressed out, passed out kids.

I am unsure what’s going to happen next. 

I am free.

6 COMMENTS

  1. do you want a silver lining to your situation? At least your husband didn’t molest your daughter over and over while you were at work, while you thought your precious little girl was safe in the hands of “your person” , the knight in shining armour you married when she was 7. At least your kids still have a dad, and their mental status isn’t PTSD. You will move on and so will they. It will take time, but at least you can feel good about not trusting someone who turned out to be a monster.

  2. My dear friend. Don’t know you personally, but reading your words show to me how much you care. As long as one truly cares and tries then they aren’t failing, YOU aren’t failing. He failed you all and I will leave that comment there. Reach out, journal, talk to the cat, express yourself in color, not shades of black and white. Blessings to you all..this shall pass with grief & tears, anger & sadness..healing comes over time and as a Mom as long as your ok, they will be too. Thank you sharing. My holiday wish to you all is strength & peace. Better days ahead

  3. I have been in the same situation as you. It gets better. You will find your way out of the dark hole and be even better then before (though with a few cracks and tears but put back together). Your children will grow up to appreciate YOU. You will come out stronger. You got this. Take it day by day.

  4. I know your heartbreak. I have been there. Twice. Two different times. And I did not ever plan on either one of those separations. The first time I was without children. The second time I had two of them. Give yourself time to grieve the loss. There is no timetable for healing from this. It is very much like a death, but can honestly be worse than that because the “lost one” really is up walking around without you. Let me just say that the first time for me was a blessing. The second time…I did NOT give up on my marriage. I lived away from him for almost two years. I took him to court and got both child support and alimony and made him hurt a little bit financially. I never went through with sending divorce papers because I had spent so much money on attorneys so far and had taken out a huge loan for it. I still loved him. I made it as easy as I could for him to be with the kids. I did not talk to him unless I had to even when he came to pick up the kids. I simply lived my life away from him. 1.5 years later, he wanted me back. He promised to be the best husband he could be for the rest of my life. And in time, I came back home. It took me a LONG time though to feel comfortable again in our house. But we have been married for over 20 years now. It made me stronger. Follow your heart. Make him pay for EVERYTHING legally if he wants this so badly… unless you have to fight for child support and alimony. Do that regardless to protect yourself and the kids. I know how much it hurts. It is AWFUL. If you need a shoulder, rely on those around you that love you. Find otbers that are going through the same thing. Start your own support group even if it is on Zoom. Hang in there. I promise, you will feel better. It just takes time. Walk through it like the warrior that you are! Women are FIERCE! Do not let him see any weakness in you. I bet he will be back before you know it. The grass is NOT greener out there. He fell madly in love with you before this season he is going through. He might just end up regretting every move he made eventually.

  5. i am a single parent i know how feels , have been divorced twice with no fault of mine,its been a long battle, but i can tell you it get’s better,

  6. I see this was just posted, but written earlier. You are going through a period of mourning — been there, done that. Own it. Respect and expect the lapses in memory – they are temporary. Be easy on yourself. Hire help if help is available during this ‘Rona. You are strong like your Mother. You have talk therapy and your father is available at anytime to discuss things. Treat yourself to something you want and need. You and they will survive. But yeah, it sucks.

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