I didn’t have kids in my marriage so I didn’t fit into the ‘single moms’ clique; I was over a certain age and too experienced so the youth group was a no-no and God forbid if I dared stay in the married group and endure the stern looks of disapproval from my once-close married friends who now treated me like I had the plague.
Dealing with all of this was too emotionally taxing; so instead of facing the truth, I continued to wear my wedding band, probably out of shame or fear. Every Sunday, I continued to sink deeper into loneliness and self-pity; I had never felt so alone in a room full of people.
Divorce is a type of death
At one point, I got so tired of being asked where my husband was that the best excuse I came up with, much to the disapproval of my best friend, was to tell everyone he’d died. It was a lot better to deal with the “We are sorry for your loss” looks rather than the “Akarambwa” (Her husband left her) looks.
My friend thought I had completely gone bonkers, but to me divorce is – in its own way – a sort of death; a premature end to a lifetime commitment. All I had been hoping for then was to be a good wife and mom, and that rug had been pulled from under my feet leaving me feeling lost and confused. What I had not imagined, however, was that my breakup would have a ripple effect breaking down many other friendships and relationships I had built over time. In effect, I was now divorced from my friends too; invitations to girls’ nights out and brunches on Saturday afternoons became few and far in between.
The seriously insecure girls would give me that suspicious look if I spoke to their spouses for more than five minutes; and the ones whose marriages were on the rocks expelled the rotten divorce fruit (me) lest it contaminate them too. And then of course there were the moralists who made themselves judge and executioner over my life; I could swear I was living in medieval times the way everyone carried on.
Through all these nightmare experiences I had my one true friend who stuck it out and helped me rediscover myself. She stayed with me over the phone for hours on end talking through everything. She cooked and served me meals when I couldn’t get out of bed. She even helped me plan the perfect revenge plan for my ex that I’m certain would have landed us in prison if it we had executed it! She made me feel better. If I had been alone to deal with all that, I don’t know if I would have survived.
Understanding being single
Having been the bride once and having gone through the excitement and craze of the bridal shower and eventual wedding, I had never paid a thought to the single best friend who had to smile through her own hurt and be happy for me. In all the bliss leading up to my ‘big day’, I had no idea my friend was driving home crying for her own share of happiness.
Even the animals are in love! (Courtesy www.macwallhd.com).
It was only after my marriage breakdown and becoming the friend who was the first to be told of a close friend’s engagement that I truly understood how it feels to fight back the tears and envy and try, really try, to be happy for someone else. Mastering the art of being really excited for someone else’s engagement and wedding is hard when your own relationship status revolves around trying to figure out why you have turned into the bottom of the barrel.
Wedding movies never really show the true reaction to news that your other ‘single comrade’ is ditching you for the married life.
But I am stronger now and the road is clearer.
I’ve joined a new church and the wedding announcements continue. Though the sense of loneliness creeps in sometimes, I’m doing my best to try and deal with it. I’m not a therapy kinda girl so I deal with things in my own way. First, I vowed not to watch all the girly movies with happily-ever-after story lines, but even the Animal Channel has the soapy love story woven in to it.... aaaaaaaaaaargh!
The one lesson I take away from all these experiences, however, is that I have found a new appreciation for people called best friends.
The author of this article has chosen to remain anonymous.