Over a year ago I was still struggling with the divorce issue. Not because it was the wrong thing to do--it had been my choice. I filed. But more because of the underlying damage that had been done to my confidence over the fifteen years of that marriage.
I've disclosed tidbits along the way, but what I can't possibly describe is the utter lack of importance I felt. Because, you see, I didn't marry with the expectation that I'd divorce. I married because I expected to stay married to him throughout my life. That's how commitment works. Here's the thing, valuing someone, showing them respect and affection can go a long way toward mending broken relationships. I didn't have that. After fifteen years of living without it, I've become rather hard-nosed about being treated without those things now. I fought to hard to leave it behind and start fresh. Damn old patterns. Old patterns are burned every time I see them pop up. It's part of my personal healing process.
I think of it as a common decency thing. Treat others how you'd want to be treated. If it would hurt or piss you off, then don't say it to someone else. But I digress from my point.
My point is that while I was still struggling with my self-worth, feeling like a marriage failure who'd possibly ruined her children's lives because she couldn't live with a selfish, stealing, lying buffoon, I wrote a story. Now, I've never been in a menage. It might surprise you to know that I was a virgin when I met my ex, and despite his encouragement to cheat on him (Yeah, I know, right?) I never did. I knew I'd leave that marriage as blameless as possible. But I also left that marriage with a lot more personal growth and two gorgeous daughters. If you'll remember, I used to refer to them as my nieces. There was and is a protective reason for that, but the divorce is final and I'm less cautious.
My husband didn't love me. He told me so. He calmly told me he'd never loved me. It wasn't a surprise, because by then, I'd known for years that we were little more than shoddy roommates. I worked, cleaned, raised, cooked, proofed his sermons, and did the required "volunteer" work for his seminary years. He sat on the couch flipping channels and insulting me. It took it's toll and I used it as inspiration for the menage that's coming out next week (Staking Their Claim, by Katie Blu).
Siren is a new publisher to me. I sent them my manuscript littered with all the self-doubt issues I had and pot-shots at the ex (which I edited out with the help of my friend and fellow Michigan troll, Jennifer Armintrout). They offered me a contract. Folks, it took me over a year to submit that thing. The heroine's fears are so personal to me that I feared people would know too much. I think that's been taken care of, but I'm still in there in a big way.
Divorce sucks, even when there's no love left. It takes a lot out of you and you can be the one who filed the paperwork, or it could have been filed on you. There's light at the end of it. It's dim. It's a little hazy. It's terrifying as hell. Your family and friends may or may not agree with you about the circumstances and there will be (not might be) hate directed at you. It will hurt and you will feel desperately that you need a defense. That they don't understand.
And they won't. They won't because divorce has a toll on them too. And they won't because while they love you, they love him and he's blood. It's not over, but there's hope. There's always hope.
If you're struggling. If you aren't sure what the future holds for you and your spouse, just remember, no matter what happens, YOU ARE IMPORTANT. Respect, trust, kindness. They can fix almost anything and what they aren't fixing in your relationship, they are soothing a balm over your injured soul.
You aren't alone.