“At some point, you just pull off the band-aid and it hurts but then it’s over and you’re relieved.” ~ John Green
Honestly, this will sound terrible, but I think I dreaded ripping off the band-aid of telling my children more than telling my husband! I was so afraid of telling them, and losing them, that I couldn’t think of anything else. I practiced what I would say, and got up the nerve, and then chickened out, and then got up the nerve again and decided it had to happen now, no matter what, I just couldn’t go through all this again. I put so much stress on myself, and now of course I know it was completely unnecessary! But hindsight truly is 20/20.
At first the words wouldn’t come, and they both looked at me with wide, fearful eyes, hoping I wouldn’t tell them someone died. They have been lucky, and no one very close to them has passed away yet. And then suddenly I found the words. I told them I wasn’t happy and had not been for a long time, and that Daddy wanted to help me be happy but couldn’t and sometimes grown-ups had to decide not to stay together. I told them it was not their faults, that I loved them more than anything in the world. I told them we would still be a family but just not live together anymore. I told them I would not abandon them like my father abandoned me.
Husband and I had not discussed what we would say, other than I had asked him not to mention that I fell in love with a woman. That is not the primary reason, though he tries to insist that it is, and I felt it would just complicate things with them. He did however mention that I was not in love with him anymore, that he was unhappy too, and we didn’t tell anyone but his boss, his parents, and siblings! I felt all that was a bit much, but why should he consider my feelings in all this, when he hasn’t considered them in years?
The worst part was seeing the tears that I caused, and having my daughter shrug my hand off her shoulder and my son sit stiffly when I hugged him. There was some awkward silence and then we all went to separate rooms to be alone. My daughter and I sobbed. Then we began to settle into a calmness. We had a nice dinner on the grill and watched tv, and then they each were invited to be with a friend. Sunday morning we had more calming family time. You would think after the conversation on Saturday that things would be even more tense, but oddly they were not. I was glad, because I at least needed calm after the last three months!
I wondered if perhaps things would get worse as the month progressed, that they are still disbelieving me. My Girl gently reminded me to just enjoy the peaceful days, to stay in today and not worry about the future. I have been so stressed and anxious, it’s ok to enjoy the relief and peace. I did what I feared and it went better than I thought it would. I took another step toward happiness, and being a better mom.
Yesterday Husband and I had a very civil conversation about finances and beginning to decide how to split things, and that was also a relief. He did make a few comments that hurt, but these comments also help to lessen the guilt when it reappears. It was nice to think that maybe one day we can be friends without trying to just be civil for the kids.
So I am two days past telling them, and I am still having a range of emotions, relief it’s over and I made it through, guilt that I am glad it’s over, surprise that things have settled so quickly, and wonder that there aren’t more questions or angry statements directed at me. I wonder why I thought I wasn’t strong enough to rip the band-aid off sooner.
I am glad all the band-aids are off now, and that the pain will soon start to fade and the rawness will heal. I know there are still painful days ahead, and I will get through them, knowing the worst is over.