anatomy of a break-up: the end & the beginning

I’ve always imagined break-ups to involve yelling, slamming of things and/or gratuitous hand-gesturing. You know, drama, with all that raw, slow-motion unfolding of feeling. I blame Hollywood.

Or maybe it’s just my lack of experience with it.

As it turns out, the end of my marriage was nothing like that. It played out over the better part of two-and-a-half years, and I wouldn’t have had the energy for quite that much flailing of limbs. When it came down to it, to the moment, it was quiet and rather solemn. Yes, there were tears and denial, a plea and some pain. Questions with few answers. There was a hug in there somewhere. But it was reasonably civil and not a surprise.

I have known for a while that this was coming. It had gotten to the stage where ‘if’ had made way, more and more certainly, for ‘when’. So there was also relief. A sense of empowerment in choosing my way forward. The exhalation of having it all finally out in the open.

In some ways that makes it easier, knowing that I’m sure. My gut tells me so. But there’s a lot to consider and it’s just the beginning. The very beginning of a process I’m bracing myself for. What will we do about the house? Will things get nasty? Who will take the cats? How will others take it? Where do you start to untangle lives entwined, memories shared, secrets told, futures once so vividly pictured and closely held?

Above all else, how will we nurture two young, vulnerable little souls through it?

I’ve been in a relationship with T for 13 years. In among casual boyfriends and drunken, dodgy nightclub pashes, he’s been my one long-term partner. The father of my kids. The keeper and the unraveller of my heart. The one I’ve gradually been releasing from my present and my down-the-track.

My ex.

There are no rose-coloured glasses here. We both know the ‘why’s. It is confronting and difficult and uncomfortable, but it is also right.

Yes, I’ve known this was coming.

In the wash-up of it all, I don’t suppose it really matters how it plays out. Or how prepared you think you are.

It’s still fucking sad.