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Divorce Dialogues: 'I'm Deliriously Happier'

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Divorce Dialogues:Jennifer D. was married at 25. She's a science professor at an East Coast university. She was separated in 2006 and divorced this year. Her children are 24 and 20.

happy woman
momlogic: Why did the divorce take so long?

Jennifer D.: Because I hate confrontation of any kind, so I kept putting the actual meeting off. I knew it would suck -- and it did.

ml: Why did you get divorced?

JD:We were completely incompatible people. There are many things I admire: There was no cheating; he had a strong sense of family. But from where I'm sitting, he has the adolescent perspective that it's everyone's responsibility not to do things to make him crazy. He dealt with it by blaming me for [his] being unhappy, and I dealt with it by thinking, "Oh, gee, there's one more thing I could do" -- and finally realizing, no, there isn't anything I can do. I can't spend all this energy trying to make him happy when that's not my job, anyway. He wasn't really interested in being a partner ... I really do want a partner. I'm not interested in ironing or cooking or nurturing, so maybe that means I should be with a woman! I think there's this old joke, which I can't remember, but it's about this couple that gets divorced and the punch line is: "Enough is enough."

ml: What was the hardest part of splitting up?

JD: It's not good for kids, even if they're older. The family is not dissolving, but it's changing -- and not in a good way. It's not the four of you; it's the three of you and the three of you. For me, the sad period was the year before. We weren't getting along at all. I would get stressed out when I came home from work because I knew he was in the house. We tried to fight when the kids weren't around, but it was awful. You're angry and you can't sleep and you're not sleeping in the same bed and you just can't do it.

ml: When did you know you were going to be OK?

JD: Actually, there was a huge period of relief by the time we got separated. I knew I would be fine when he bought a house and the closing was our anniversary.

ml: What did you learn from the whole thing?

JD: I always had known that I'm not necessarily attracted to the people I should be. I don't make good choices when it comes to men. I really do want to sleep with assholes, and that's the problem. I think it's easier to pull the Band-Aid off more quickly than drag [it out] forever and ever. Women go through these hormonal changes, and suddenly we're like, "Huh ... I really don't care what he's thinking."

ml: The kids were older, so you didn't need to negotiate holidays, vacations, etc., right? Or did you?

JD: No. The kids were over 18. And in one way that was good, because there's one less thing to be negotiated. I think it's much better if it's only about the money and it's not about the kids, too. When they come home, they stay with me; his house is small, so he'll come down and take them out and spend time with them. They've chosen not to stay there. There's almost no room, it's smoky and he's dating someone they don't particularly like.

ml: What's the best thing about moving on?

JD: Oh my God, I'm so much happier! I'm so relaxed. There's a level of equanimity I haven't had in a long time. I'm constantly amused when people ask me when I'm going to start dating. I'm like, "You know ...?" And then I just start laughing. I'm deliriously happier.

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
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