Last week, I went to the Divorced and Separated group for the second time. I get that the idea is to move on. But I realize that I often feel like the fifth “None of the above” bubble.

Although I can relate to a lot of what’s being shared at the meetings, my moving on, and what I’m moving from, just feels different than what’s discussed. I think that what I am really getting out of these meetings, other than the all-important chance to make friends, is not advice, but a chance to see what my divorce looks like compared with the inner workings of some other ones. It’s an opportunity for perspective.

There is a lot of talk about the legal stuff. Four years ago, I had no idea that we were going to need lawyers to “work things out” until one day at work I found that my ex had one. In a panic, I snuck into the closet where the network server shared space with an extra phone. I went through the yellow pages, scribbling names and numbers of referrals from the lawyers who couldn’t take my case. When one said it would be a conflict of interest, I knew the attorney my ex had retained. One of the names in the yellow pages would take my case and she’s represented me ever since. The people in my group tell stories about their own lawyers trying to stir the emotional pot to get more “billable time” from them. My lawyer has gotten me the best outcome with the least amount of billable time. Often, the clock was not running when my emotional state was in an upheaval, and there were also times when we just chit-chatted off the clock, too. She’s a friend. I lucked out.

There is not a lot of talk about caring about the exes at the Divorced and Separated meetings. I don’t feel that coming to terms with my divorce involves some kind of an act of rejection of my ex. I see him as a weak man whom I love.

The stages you go through to get into an emotionally intimate relationship are usually better defined than the path to get out of one. My ex is not my enemy. He is not my partner. He is not my friend. He is not my acquaintance. He is not my pizza delivery guy.

As I sit out here with my laptop writing this post on the new patio table my daughter and I bought today, enjoying my dog, the dahlias I planted, the squirrel who’s mastered the new bird feeder, and hoping the twice-seen hummingbird remembers where I put that feeder, there is only one way for me to define what my ex is to me:

He is a person who doesn’t affect me that much anymore.

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