Thoughts on Divorce

I did a little peice for BBC Surrey today, I thought I might share it with you. This isn’t exactly what will go to air, it’s too long, but I thought it might be kinda nice to share it. It’s from the heart, after all….

Good morning, I’m Vanessa from Woking, a mother to three children aged 4, 7 and 14 years.  I’m 41 years old and 18 months ago I got divorced after 18 years of marriage. Getting divorced at this age isn’t all that unusual. In 1970, 22% of marriages ended by their 15th anniversary. By 1995 this figure had grown to 33%. Although the divorce rate has declined nationally since 2002, with a brief rise in 2010 due to the recession, the number of marriages is decreasing as well. None of this comes as any great surprise to me, because I’m one of the statistics.

My divorce happened in the kitchen. Well, the decision to divorce anyway. My husband asked me if I wanted to divorce and I, tears flowing, nodded and said yes. We hugged each other for such a long time then. I think we both felt relieved that we were finally being honest with each other. We had finally stopped pretending that everything was fine.

We had married very young, we were just 21 and still at university. My husband says he knew within a month of us going out that he wanted to marry me but he waited for two months before popping the question. We married six months later, nine months after we met.

We were and still are good friends. We grew up together, really. I was there when he got his first proper job, then a better one, our first car, first holiday. The first baby came along after 6 years together and we were happy. We moved to the UK after 10 years together, a huge challenge but we did it together and we prospered. We travelled a bit, got a bigger house, had two more children and got on with the business of life. But I started wondering “is this it? Surely there’s more to my life than this…”

And then I met someone else and I discovered that there was indeed more to my life. I wasn’t looking for anyone but when I met him I realised my life as it had been was over. It was like a lightning storm. I didn’t know who I was without my husband and finding out has been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs.

I have discovered capabilities I never dreamed I had. I can stand up in front of people and have something to say that they want to hear. I can lead two voluntary organisations. I can sing at the top of my voice and entertain. I can be a businesswoman, a writer, a sharer of my experience. I have the confidence to try stuff and see what works. I’m still a mother and a teacher, but now I’m finding there’s so much more to me.

Divorce is the end of a marriage, but it’s not the end of a life. It’s the next stage. I appreciate my former husband, without whom this journey would not have started. I appreciate he who is the other half of my soul, with whom the journey continues. Love really is all that matters. A love shared is eternal, no matter how things change.

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