Sofia’s divorce story is formatted differently from the way we usually format the divorce stories. It doesn’t have all the usual details. You would need to read in between the lines to guess what her frustrations were. Yet it is as clear as it should be. If you have been through stuff like this, or have a friend who has been, you would understand it. I am tempted to make my comments at this point but I don’t want to preempt you the reader so you don’t have a bias. Please read her divorce story, read my comments and come to your own conclusions.
My Divorce Story 82: Sofia, End Of Marriage, New Beginnings
I never thought I’d end up divorced. Of course, most people don’t enter into marriage thinking it will end in a divorce. Most people like me would prefer not to even contemplate the possibility. It was so far from my reality that I never imagined such a thing could happen.
My name is Sofia, I grew up in a solid, stable home environment — my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles were all happily married. Divorce was something that happened to other people, not in my family. So, when my marriage started to fall apart after two years, I never thought it would end in divorce. It was just not going to happen, not on my watch.
You see, I was the typical perfect child, a golden girl who never gave her parents and teachers a moment’s aggravation. I did my bits and even more. I studied hard, served God, was there for my friends, obeyed and helped my parents. At home, I was a model oldest daughter, lending a hand when my mother needed me and retreating to my bedroom to read or do homework when she didn’t. Life was smooth, unpaved with worries, and I thought it would always be that way.
But it wasn’t. Life got complicated and I had to start juggling housework and real work, and then marital challenges and housework and real work, I still thought I could do it all. After all, had I not been a master at multi-tasking, doing things well and doing things right? I knew all the right outlooks to life. All the right attitudes and I believed that God never gives a person something he/she can’t handle. Then, marriage came along and I just didn’t want to agree it was something I couldn’t handle. My thoughts were that “if this is what’s been given to me, I can deal with it”.
I never knew there were other aspects to life that were beyond my control. Aspects like, what if my husband is falling apart, is it my responsibility to put him back together? Things like am I to blame for my husband’s moods, irrational behaviors, mood swings and that? If I’m not managing, then I should get help.
I mean, how can I not be managing? Of course, I was managing. Before now, I have always been on top of situations my whole life. I head managers at my place of work. What was more, I came from a family of “trailblazers,” of successful people who couldn’t fathom that life could throw you a curveball you can’t handle.
The Perfect Husband?
I was married to a seemingly perfect man, a trophy son, one whom the society respected and adored. Ordinarily, I was supposed to be the luckiest woman on earth to have such a fulfilled man as a spouse. However, no one knew the struggles of living with him. No one knew that I felt like a stranger to the one I shared my life and body with. Nor could they see how isolated and estranged we were because we always put on a good show for those close to us and the public.
As it happened, I was left feeling trapped in a situation that was more difficult than any scenario my teachers and parents ever told me. I was struggling to get through each day with a smile on my face. It was a struggle to show the world that I was coping, even while dealing with the biggest challenges I’d ever faced. Did I get help? Of course! I tried, but no one was around. No one seemed to realize how much I was drowning – drowning in the anguish of lost dreams, incredible isolation, and total helplessness.
It took 3 years for the agony to come to an end. 3 years of daily pretenses to those nearest and dearest to me. I pretended that I wanted to move halfway across the world for the sake of my marriage. I pretended that I wanted to sell off most of my possessions and leave the country I loved for a “new beginning.” I pretended that I wanted to leave my closest friends and family behind to “start afresh” when in actual fact, it was for him. For the husband who had turned into a stranger almost overnight. I mean, I was doing well in my career and wouldn’t want to give that up for anything but I had to, in order to save a marriage that was doomed to fail.
And that was the worst of it. Covering up for him and pretending everything was normal. Pretending that he was still the husband I had once known, even though sometimes it seemed that all that remained was the history of our life together. I was always pretending in my marriage. And to this day, I don’t know who I was pretending to – myself or the rest of the world.
Of course, people knew that something was amiss. I couldn’t hide it all. But I could pretend a lot, and pretend I did because I was determined to protect my marriage, protect my image and family reputation.
Finally, I got to the breaking point and could no longer keep up the pretenses. I told him what I should have said long before, which was that he needed to take responsibility for his actions. Enough was enough, and I was done covering for him. Neither could I continue with the pretense that our not having kids was God’s will. We both knew that he was the one with fertility issues. I no longer was willing to pretend that I wanted to live far from home in the name of a new beginning when in actuality, he was the one running away from his failures in Nigeria.
I was devastated by the outcome of my outburst because divorce shouldn’t happen to someone like me, a good girl who had always done the right thing. Divorce shouldn’t happen to someone who’d learned all the right marriage tools. Divorce only happened to people who didn’t try hard enough, people who didn’t know what to do when their husbands fell apart. Not to me.
But after the end, there is always a beginning. And now, I see that even though that period of time was painful, it was the beginning of my new life. A new life that is ultimately healthier and more wholesome than the pretenses I left behind.
Divorce and life after
The life I was living before my marriage fell apart was a life so full of fears and anxieties, it was impossible to maintain my sanity through it all. It was a life of overwhelming unease and fear of the future. It was a life that was so far from normal living that I never felt calm and never felt at peace with myself.
Having shed my mask, that mask of steadfast loyalty and determination that I wore for so long, I can finally say it like it is: Divorce is hard, divorce is agonizing, but it’s not a pretense. I now rejoice because at last, I’ve found myself. I’m no longer an imposter, a fake, trying to hold onto a marriage that so obviously wasn’t working.
Today, I am me and it feels so good just to say that. My life’s not over yet. Divorce or no divorce, I’m optimistic and ready to begin again.
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The reason we started doing divorce stories is to influence marriages and make them healthier. Reading other people’s stories should help you do a diagnosis of your marriage and relationship. Seeing the marital challenges people face from an unbiased mindset, could help you see where you are going wrong.
In reading these stories, we can identify what the issues are and wonder why the individuals seem so helpless. The issues seem so simple, begging the question of how the marriage broke down into divorce. However, we seem to discount the underlying emotional and personal issues running.
Take for example Sofia’s story, Did the marriage have to end in Divorce, could it have been saved? that in itself is a big question. Sofia describes her husband as a “trophy Son” forgetting that she herself was a “trophy daughter”. She came from a background where everything was perfect or had to be perfected and that in itself is a problem.
Reading my series on So You Want To Be Married, we notice that two imperfect individuals shouldn’t expect to find perfection in marriage. They would only bring in the elements of imperfection into their marriage and amplify each other’s weaknesses.
Sofia needs to understand that marriage isn’t a perfect world that can be bent by sheer will into being perfect. It isn’t a project that would conform to the variable inputs. Marriage takes work. It takes understanding and it takes compromise.
Many issues in marriage take a long time to work out that is why most marriage counselors state that it takes five (5) years for the marriage to set. For the man to become the real husband and not a groom and the woman to become a wife and not a bride.
I meet people who come from a lifetime of success and have this belief that marriage is like a spreadsheet or a P&L account sheet that can easily be balanced, only to see their marriages crash before their eyes. Marriages do work but it takes work and commitment. Also, marriage is a journey, not a destination. When you think you have it all buttoned-down, it might throw you a curve.
We would always have marriages that would end in divorce. This is a given as long as we have people. However, we can have less divorces and more successful marriages if both parties would be more open-minded and be willing to learn from the past.
I truly look forward to hearing from you. If you have a divorce story you would love to share or need advice on a marital matter, please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your confidentiality is highly assured as we only publish what you give us permission to.