Guest blogger Kate Meyers: Felice married a man 17 years her senior when she was 27. They had two children, lived in four countries and split up after twenty years of marriage. They have been apart for almost six years. Her son is now 18 and her daughter is 16.
momlogic: Why did you get divorced?
I would mainly say that we just grew apart. There's a large age difference between us, and at 27, I was still figuring myself out. The amount of growth I had between 27 and my early 40s was huge compared to his growth, so what I walked into wasn't what ultimately was going to make me happy. Our common interests started to shift and our communication got worse. We traveled a lot in our marriage
, and I think that kept us together longer and probably prolonged the inevitable.
ml: What was the hardest thing about divorcing?
Different things. Originally, it was the sense of failure. I came from a divorced family, and I promised myself that I wasn't going to let that happen. The other hardest thing was my kids, and making sure things with them were OK. They knew things weren't going well, so although they had a sense of relief, I felt a sense of disappointment for them. Now that we've been apart for a while, I would say that raising my kids on my own -- my ex lives in Asia
-- and the financial piece have been very tough. I was used to a certain lifestyle, and I had to get used to not having that and getting back into the workforce.
ml: Did your ex-husband ever split the parenting with you?
Never. I have always had the kids. They would have a sleepover with him when he came to town, or they would see him when it worked for everybody. He traveled for weeks at a time for long periods of time. Now they go to visit him in Asia
three weeks, and he comes here for a few weeks a few times a year. When he comes here, he stays with us. In the last year, he has seen them about two months total.
ml: Based on your experience, do you have any advice that would help other couples going through something similar?
F: In my case, the best thing is that he and I are friends, and we value the importance of the sense of family even though we're not a family. We both still watch each other's back. And I think that that's comforting for our kids, despite the fact that it didn't work out. They know that at the end of the day, we're always here for each other. When the kids need a talking to, he will help me. We have our bumpy moments, but we push through it.
ml: What's the best thing to come out of the divorce?
F: That's a tough one. I guess I really learned a lot about myself and what it feels like to be independent and what that looks like and how to move through adversity and grow through hard times. Learning to be alone and how to feel comfortable that way. That was a real eye-opener. I feel like I deserve happiness, and when I find the person who gets me and sees me for who I am, it will have been worth it. At the moment, it feels lonely and sometimes really challenging, but I wouldn't change it.