The Day I Told My Husband I Wanted a Divorce
I remember the drive that Monday morning to my future lawyer’s office. I asked my Dad to join me so I had an extra ear. I knew the meeting was going to be difficult, filled with details and emotion and I needed the comfort of my Dad by my side. The whole ride he fired off questions about my future. “What will you do for money?” and “Are you going to move out or will he?” and “KT, are you sure this is what you want?”…. I looked at my Dad and said, “Dad, after 9 years in couples counseling, I am at the place where I know if I don’t leave now, then one day I will wake up a very lonely woman whose kids are at college and married to a stranger I do not love.” My Dad looked me in the eyes and said “I got it” and squeezed my hand. As we drove on, in partial silence, I realized that my Dad was very concerned for my future. For my kid’s future. These are things I wasn’t focused on in that moment. I just wanted to get today over and done with.
My new lawyer made me feel instantly comfortable, explaining that her job is to understand my situation, my goals, and then to advise me on how to proceed. She asked questions about our marriage, our children, our finances and our assets. I handed over a big file of documents, copies of the financials I was asked to bring. Financials I had never looked at nor understood. As I explained my husband’s personality to her, she asked me if he would have a difficult time accepting that I wanted a divorce. “Will he try and stop you from leaving?” she asked. “I don’t think he will,” I said. And I actually believed it. My lawyer told me that it would be wise for me to tell him that very night and that the date of separation is that day, which she wrote down in big numbers. She also suggested before I tell him, for fear he would stop access to money, I go to the bank and withdraw half of our account. I felt a sharp pang in my chest…That will cause him to freak out! He’s all about the money. As I signed on the dotted line and wrote a big check for her retainer, I felt a little dizzy yet exhilarated at the same time. “This is no joke. I just hired a divorce lawyer!!!!” I told myself. It’s really happening.
When my Dad dropped me off at home, I began planning how it would go down- me telling my husband I wanted to leave him. The lawyer suggested it would be best to tell him outside of the house (in case he blows up.) I agreed. I didn’t want the kids to hear anything. It would have to be a public place. I went into auto-pilot mode. I called my Mom and asked her to watch the kids that night. She agreed. Immediately after, I texted my husband. We had a fight (for a change) the night before and hadn’t seen or spoken to each other since.
Me: Do you want to meet for a drink tonight?
Him: Sure. Where?
Me: At the Corner Bar, 6:30? My mom will watch the kids.
Him: See you then. Can’t wait.
Me: See you then.
I went right to the bank. I was shaking. My stomach was doing back flips. I was about to remove a lot of money. Would they call him? Would he be alerted immediately, “Your wife just withdrew half of the account!” Was it obvious I was shaking? Why did I feel like I was stealing his money? I made unnecessary small talk with the bank teller to keep from puking.
A couple hours later, it was go time. As I drove to the Corner Bar, I remember I cranked up music really loud to block the noise in my head telling me that there is no turning back. I pulled into the parking lot, ready to break my years of silence. It hit me like a ton of bricks as I walked up to the table where he already sat, that I was about to say the words I never thought or ever wanted to say- and once they would come out of my trembling mouth, it could never be taken back. I sat across from him at the table. I looked into the eyes of a man I didn’t know anymore. A man I didn’t love.
Him: Hi. I already ordered. What do you want to drink?
Me: My regular
Him: Which is…..?
But before the drink arrived and before I could remain quiet any longer, I looked him dead in the eyes and said, “I want a divorce”.
He grabbed his chest like I threw a dagger into his heart. “Nooooooo! Oh no! No!” he cried. I was speechless. I had no words. No words. No w o r d s…..
We left his untouched drink at the table and went to his car where we sat for what felt like hours. He cried. He pleaded. He rambled. I listened. I felt, well, I tried to feel something. But I felt nothing. There was no emotion. No remorse. No tears. Nothing. I was already numb from the years and years of emotional upset. I knew my marriage was over a long time ago and had already mourned the loss. So when I couldn’t even fake tears, I knew my decision was the right one.
I moved into the guest room which is where I slept for the next few months. I remember crawling into the bed that night alone and feeling an enormous sense of relief. I did it.