Sunday, October 25, 2015

At the End of a Marriage

At the end of a marriage you only see what’s wrong, what’s frustrating and annoying, what’s horrible for you.  
You only feel the bad. 

Then, as the marriage is dissolving away, and you find your husband has moved on, you are flooded with nostalgia over what once was.  Waves of memory painfully wash over you — reminding you of what brought you together in the first place.  The spontaneous fun, the unknown challenge, the great sex, the new adventures

Everything was so easy then. 

Building a life we wove multiple threads creating a colorful tapestry that was an apartment and a wedding and babies and a relocation and new jobs and the growing kids and trips back home and ER visits and birthdays and middle school and vacations and teens and driving permits, college applications, graduations and the death of our siblings and the dementia and demise of parents.

The tapestry's still there but now it's worn and frayed and unravelling.  Things change.  

This unravelling, this sadness feels overwhelming and sinks you into an emotional paralysis that takes over your being lock, stock, and barrel.

Yes, you are the one who initiated the divide.  You are the one who wanted more.  You are the one who emphatically said, “I can’t live this way anymore,” but that doesn’t change the pain of the enormity of the loss.

I don't expect anyone to truly understand what it feels like, unless they've been there.  Done this.  Walked away from the familiarity and the relative security of a 35-year relationship into the unknown.

In the depths of this sadness, I have been unable to see or feel past it.  I wondered if I could or would ever be able to move forward; move out of this grief of mourning the marriage.   

Thankfully I am coming out of it — with the help of my daughter and (ironically) my husband...

My daughter (originally, and understandably, resentful of my decision, and the destruction of what she perhaps thought was indestructible) shared with me that she now felt my leaving was for the best and that it wasn't really the end of my relationship with her dad — we'd have a different relationship, given what had changed. She firmly told me that the two of us would find a new, better way of relating and being there for one another.

It struck me that she was being incredibly wise. But it wasn't until later that evening (when I talked with my husband) that I truly experienced what she meant.

Trying to break-in to the job market here in Manhattan, I have been scrambling from thing to thing.  Senior Editor, Facilitator, Program Manager, Part-time Diversity Coordinator, Development Officer — all things I can do well and have rich experience doing, but NONE the sole occupation of my work history.  Everyone I spoke to for advice wanted a narrowcast focus on one particular function, one well-defined strand of my skills and talents.   

It's the challenge of taking my extraordinary Jill-of-all-trades career and translating it into multiple versions of resumes, cover letters; extrapolating all that is relevant to one singular profession and selling myself online along with the multitudes of others.  Forget forty years of my work life — in today's market only the last ten are relevant!   What I wanted, what I craved, was a face-to-face, one-on-one, real live appointment with a human being — but in this day and age that seemed an anachronistic impossibility.

Crippled by the job of getting a job, I've felt fragmented, frustrated, exhausted amid the four hundred thousand opportunities and the overwhelming machinations of finding employment online.  Should I focus on higher ed because that's where the bulk of my most recent experience has been?  Become a trained home chef for  Explore the non-profit world?   Sign up with to start doing ANYTHING, to make some money?  The endless possibilities were weighing me down.

Then, when I was emotionally at my lowest, having a dishearteningly depressing day, Teri — a friend, my client, the President of Skillful Means Training and Consulting  reached out to give me a tremendous piece of advice.

"Stop trying to find just ANY job.  Don't settle.  Open yourself to imagining your ideal job and go after it.  I may not know you well, but I have complete confidence that you are entirely capable of achieving whatever you imagine.  That much I know." 

I heard her words.  I tried absorbing them but they didn't sink n; they didn't translate into any feeling or action.

Later that day, the conversation with my daughter.  And finally, late that evening, while sharing my anxiety over the job search to my husband, and stating the possibility that I'd fail and might have to return to the hometown and figure out something else...he abruptly put a halt to my words.

"Stop hedging your bets.  You've got the talent and what it takes.  You only have to get in the door someplace and they'll see what you are.  Look, you got yourself to New York because you belong there.  You're gonna succeed.  Go after what you want.   Even if it doesn't feel that way to you now, even though it's tough, you can do this.  I know you can."

There it was.  For the second time that day, someone was expressing with surety that I could achieve whatever it was I wanted.  I hadn't seen this for myself.  Now I did.

There was such consolation, such comfort in realizing: my husband knows me better than anyone. He's still there for me, cheerleading, helping me see what's best. Just as I hadn't compromised by staying in the marriage, he was urging me not to compromise now.  No matter how painful or tough.

I felt a door opening, a veil lifting.  And all in a moment — I clearly saw the path I needed to take.

There is still grieving.  There's no getting away from it.  It is what it is.

But among all my rollercoaster of emotions, I feel deepest thanks — to one and all who continue to support me on this journey...


  1. Good luck! I hope you find fulfillment in the perfect job. Enjoy New York!

  2. Strange, isn't it, how we're often blind to what's so obvious about us to others? There's not a doubt in my mind, either, that you're on your way to somewhere fantastic. I'm excited in advance for you, and just a little impatient to know the details!

  3. There is great beauty to those old worn out beaten up tapestries... They have lasted for a reason! Hmmm.....

    1. Yes there I'm wondering who you are....I have so many "Anonymouses" in my sphere...

  4. Melanie - So proud of you. Keep your head high. Keep going for the result you want to create in the world - whatever the form it takes (job or something else!). You have some much to give. Bless you for being willing to go out there and create it.