When my husband and I made the decision to separate and divorce we agreed we were going to be the couple that could do it the right way. What we hope for and what becomes reality can be quite different.
I’ve heard it said that whatever you are fighting about during your marriage is also what you fight about during the divorce. I had no idea just what a fight I was in for. We couldn’t agree on anything.
Before I knew it we both had attorneys and a legal battle pursued. I hate that I’m writing this and that it went the way it did. Every day was a struggle for me, as I knew it was for our sons too. We shared custody and they would spend one week at my house and the next with their father.
I was so broke; I actually looked forward to them being gone because I wouldn’t have to figure out how to buy groceries for a week. I had no phone or garbage service because those were luxuries.
I had made the decision when I moved to stop drinking all together. I knew the next few years would be so hard to get through; I wanted to keep a clear head. And I was afraid I might use alcohol as a crutch, instead of dealing with the pain of divorce. I also couldn’t afford it.
When I didn’t have the boys I was lonely and tired. I didn’t have money to go out with my friends for drinks and dining out, so I spent a lot of time alone. There is a butte in the middle of the town I was living in with a hiking trail up it. I would plug in my headphones and hike up that hill crying most of the way.
I was still working for the saddle maker, but things were changing between us. I remember one day in particular when I was sitting on the floor with a big piece of hide in front of me. I was laying out the patterns for pieces of the saddle, and looked up at my teacher and saw him in a different light.
He was talking about a near death experience he had as a teenager, and I could see the softness of him. Before that moment, I only saw the side of him he let the world see, the tough side. Sitting there on the floor looking up at him and listening to him tell his story, I fell for him.
Before I knew it, I was spending my weeks off from my boys, with my new boss/boyfriend. He was supportive and kind and wanted to help. He listened to my stories and laughed and cried with me. It was so nice to have a strong person to lean on during those times.
By the end of the summer, the court battle was over and the divorce was final.
The outcome shifted everything for all of us. I was granted full custody and the boys were happy to end the week on, week off shifts. They hated it and wanted to just have one home.
I now had my boys home with me full time. I also had a boyfriend that I didn’t realize at the time was a different sort of crutch.