So, as stated in a previous post, I’m in the process of getting divorced. Though my husband and I have been separated for 7 months, we’re only now making it a legal thing.
I knew, really, when I walked out the door that I wasn’t coming back. I also knew that, while I wanted to end the relationship, my husband wasn’t as ready as I was, and so I delayed pushing for a legal split. A few months later, however, starry-eyed with newly developing feelings for a man states and hours away from me who I was about to go visit for the first time, I felt a moral and emotional obligation to make it clear that I needed a divorce and I didn’t want it to drag on.
See, my husband has been divorced before, and his previous divorce took quite a long time to be completed. He was still legally married when we met (which I found out quite by accident, but that’s another story altogether), and he and his first ex-wife had, at the time, been separated for well over a year. Perhaps longer. I didn’t want that.
When I brought it up, he asked for time to acclimate to the idea, time to be ready to take that step. I agreed at first, but then after months had gone on and I’d heard nothing, I ordered the paperwork and sent him an email to let him know what I’d done. He replied that he’d been waiting for me to take that step, and while I could have let it slip into one of the fights I thought I had left behind back in April, I decided not to, to move forward and let things go.
The next conflict, the one we’re having currently, is who gets to be the plaintiff and who has to be the defendant. We both want to be the plaintiff, I because I am the one asking for the divorce, the one who moved out, the one who has been setting this all in motion, he because he was the defendant in his previous divorce, because he feels I have done the wrong in leaving and so wants this little bit of consolation, I suspect, for the death of a relationship he feels he didn’t put the final knife in. In the end, it’s both of us having our last bit of pride, our last power struggle.
The mature thing, the adult thing, would be to concede. We’re doing a no-fault divorce. It hurts me, technically, in no way whatsoever to be the defendant. For expediency, for ease, and for a lack of one last fisticuffs, I should give him this, my logical brain tells me.
But then my emotional side kicks in, and all the pride and the anger start to churn within me. I remember feeling terrible about myself, crying for hours, being told I was crazy. I think about the things I was walking away from and I want to be the plaintiff. I want that symbolic assertion that I choose this. I choose to be done.
I think the problem is that, in the end, I do not truly know which is the better, more important thing.
We’re tentatively supposed to be meeting this Friday at the county building to do our paperwork together (I’d offered to do it on my own and he objected) so I have 2 days to decide if this is worth going to the mat over. My pride screams that it is, but another, softer part of me wonders if maybe this should be one last instance of letting go.
Margaret Bashaar’s poetry has been collected in 2 chapbooks – Letters from Room 27 of the Grand Midway Hotel (Blood Pudding Press, 2011) and Barefoot and Listening (Tilt, 2009) as well as in many literary journals and anthologies. She edits the chapbook micropress Hyacinth Girl Press, attempts to repair antique typewriters, and spends far too much time at haunted hotels in coal mining towns for her own good. She’s only been suspected of being possessed once and hopes to someday become a rogue taxidermist. She misses the Midwest. Follow her on Twitter @myhyacinthgirl