I went to a social gathering last night with a group of women I hope to become closer to…
I was invited to BUNCO for the first time several months ago by a colleague/friend and attended with a few other acquaintances for a lovely evening of conversation and meeting new people. I was grateful for the invite and the company that night. I started feeling a bit more accepted and normal and that a healthy social life may be possible.
A couple weeks ago I got my second invite. I was so appreciative, but realized it was on my birthday. Not just ANY birthday, but my big 4-0 day. I had to get over feeling insecure and embarrassed that I didn’t already have plans on my own big birthday so that I could join this group of women that I don’t really know yet in an effort to get to know them better. I felt slightly guilty to my children that they had decided to switch weekends with their dad so they could spend my birthday weekend with me and now here I was “abandoning” them on my actual birthday. Nonetheless, in the end, I decided to go. I’m so glad I did. I enjoy many of these women and am enjoying finding new friendships. So, what?? What would possibly be the downfall to this scenario?
As when getting to know anyone for the first time…there are questions. Where you live, about your kids (ages, activities, bragging rights), what work do you do, do you know so-and-so, and the all uncomfortable – what does your husband do? and then all the questions that arise from “I’m no longer married”.
I found myself explaining to two women in the past week about the demise of my marriage. I try to be as diplomatic as possible when discussing the past eight years of my life and the demise of my marriage and keep to just the basics.
He started a new job, we intensely grew apart, our relationship suffered as we moved to three states in five years time, ultimately he found someone else, we split, he moved away but then moved back to be closer to the kids recently. Blah, blah, blah.
I try not to paint him in a purposefully negative light. I try to take responsibility for being ugly during those years and not treating him well and explain things in a very unbiased manner. I don’t want to seem to be bashing him…but at the same time I want to try and paint the picture clearly. I did not want the divorce, but I also did not want the relationship that was floundering, nor was I going to tolerate adultery.
I always feel uncomfortable a bit starting in to the conversation of my divorce, because I don’t want to be perceived as the bitter angry ex wife who lashes out and bashes her ex any chance she gets. I try to keep to the basics. But even just the basics often elicit responses of disapproval. I often wonder if they are just taking my side because I am the one relaying the story and if it were him relaying in a similar situation the audience would sympathize with him in the same way.
I would say nothing, but then I wouldn’t be able to form the kinds of authentic relationships and friendships I am seeking. Ones where you share things about your life and they know who you are and where you came from. I don’t dwell on the conversation of my divorce, I always try to circle the conversations back around to kids or school or work or community or anything else, but I also feel that the divorce and it’s surroundings are a part of who I am too, and I think covering it up or skating over the top would be inappropriate. Still, I feel ill at ease when discussing my past with regards to my divorce.
I enjoyed the comfort of these women who sympathized and accepted me wholeheartedly. I hope that the relationships continue to grow. I plan on creating opportunities to make these initial beginnings grow. This is the kind of community I miss and the connections I long for in my life. Last night was a good start.
I’m hoping the new decade I’ve entered has so much joy and peace to offer that I find these years to be the best of life yet…
I deserve it…and I’m ready for it!
It is always hard the first time or two but I am guessing that after a while the circumstances of your divorce will simple blend into the background. Great stuff that you are making new friends. I am so happy for you.
Just out of interest, I do tell people up-front how our break-up happened (ie he left me) and leave out any judgement or further discussion on the topic. Generally further down the track when the friendship deepens I give a bit more information if it seems appropriate. There were difficult events that had taken their toll and it seemed we were living from crisis to crisis etc. However, I do not play the magnanimous one and take half the “blame” for the actual ending. To me, whatever I did or did not do in our marriage, did not justify infidelity.
I don’t normally share the nitty gritty either, but this woman had already had the basics and was asking more probing questions, so I responded because I do want to forge a relationship with her. I don’t know that I take “half the blame” but I do always want to make sure to accept that it wasn’t all roses before he stepped out…I wasn’t the typical “betrayed spouse” because we had been living generally separate lives for some time when he ultimately chose to enter into a relationship with someone else. He wasn’t being loving and kind to my face and screwing someone else behind my back. He was just screwing someone behind my back. But thanks for thinking I am attempting at being noble! 😉 lol