Current statistics indicate that approximately 41% of marriages in England and Wales will end in divorce. The rate of divorce quickly accelerates around the third anniversary. The 7-year itch has become the 3-year tickle. My marriage ended in July 2015 after just 3 years and 1 month. I am the personification of that statistic. Shortly after the divorce, I started writing my blog. It was fun, therapeutic and it gave me something to do during the evenings whilst my son slept.
Blogging - How It Can Help
Since starting Coffee & Bubbles, I have discovered it's not just about writing. Blogging involves a large amount of reading as part of the 'sharing is caring' community. The majority of blogs, I think, are mostly read by other bloggers. However, there's also an extensive network of people reading for advice, comfort and reassurance. To confirm they're not the only ones out there going through what they're going through. Whether they're suffering from a rare illness, are bereaved, have a weird fetish, or have a kid that can be a bit of an arsehole, there's usually someone else writing about it. Unless their fetish is insane, in which case, their site might be unique with little to no readers.
Whilst reading, I recently stumbled upon a blog that could have been written by my ex-husband. Assuming he'd had the revelation on what had gone wrong for us. This blog really struck a chord with me and gave me peace of mind that leaving my husband was:
b) Not the first time someone left someone under those circumstances
c) The right thing to do
The blog I found is called 'Must Be This Tall to Ride' and is written by a man who had been left by his wife. The series of articles I found most interesting is called 'An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands'. It is Volume 5 in particular that resonated with me the most. The author isn't bitching and moaning about having been divorced. However, he has had an epiphany. He has realised exactly why his wife, and incidentally many of his readers' wives, had left. For leaving his dirty glass next to the kitchen sink. Reasons not too far from why I called it a day with my husband.
Why I Left - The Dirty Glass
"You left your husband, the father of your child because he left dirty glasses lying around the house?" I hear you cry.
Basically, yes. Amongst a plethora of other reasons, but ultimately, the short answer is 'Yes'. And I'd do it again.
You see, in this scenario, the glass is a metaphor. Symbolising respect, equality, love, and caring for one another. Each time that glass was left lying around, despite numerous requests to "help out more around the house" it was a message. Screaming that my husband believed he was more important than me. More entitled.
Plus, it wasn't just dirty glasses. It was the lawn that needed mowing. There were pictures I wanted hanging. Red wine I didn't want him to drink because it amplified his snoring, robbing me of precious sleep. Furthermore, the carnage from the baby's supper that could have been cleared away whilst I did the bedtime routine. Having to constantly ask him to do such things was tiresome. Nagging was grinding. I wasn't fond of being the person always asking for him to do something around the house. I wanted him to do them because he knew they needed doing.
Often I'd be met with an "I'll do it later". We both knew this translated to "I'll wait for you to do it for me and then defend myself by saying you didn't give me a chance". What he might not have realised is that I had already been waiting a while before succumbing to asking him to help. Every time he decided not to do what I asked, he was choosing himself over me.
How Did It Get to This?
My ex-husband and I dated, moved in together, bought a place to live, got married, planned and started our family over a 6-year period. Things were good until parenthood created additional strains, and reality truly kicked in. I can't speak for everyone, but in my limited experience, parenthood soon became a battle of who did the most. Who had the worst day.
We both had full-time jobs but his meant he was away from Monday to Friday. This meant I was home alone with our son throughout the working week. I had to do everything, from every single midnight wake-up, nursery runs, food shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, bill paying. Not to mention a week of caring for our sick baby whilst also suffering from the same, horrific bug myself.
On weekends, we'd be reunited, and instead of arriving as my knight in shining armour, I received another body to look after. The cooking, cleaning and laundry increased and whilst I got 15 minutes' respite at bath time, that was about as helpful as he got.
Most nights he was home he would go to bed around 9pm, once again leaving me on my own. One night I retired to bed, and went into our bedroom to find the curtains still open and the laundry I had washed and folded kicked off the bed and onto the floor. There was no better way for him to tell me he didn't give a shit.
It's Easy to Say "I Love You"
It is incredibly easy to tell someone that you love them. Once you've said it a thousand times, those words roll off the tongue as a matter of habit. No thought required. What isn't easy is showing someone you love them. This takes time and effort, which if you really love them shouldn't be difficult.
I'm not talking about diamond jewellery, 8ft teddy bears or five-star hotels. I'm talking about listening and being kind. Perhaps I let him get away with too much in the early days of our relationship, before child. However, after becoming parents, everything changed and he didn't seem to get that. To me it became evident, quickly, that whilst we needed to have each other's backs, we didn't. We weren't working as a unified force and petty things, such as continually neglecting to put a glass in the dishwasher, became a huge deal. If he couldn't do such a quick and easy task that would make my life that little bit easier, how was he going to behave with more difficult stuff? Before we were married, my Dad (likely assisted by my Mum) imparted some of his acquired wisdom. Amongst other things, he said to:
"Share the burdens and the benefits of life. Share the washing up, the shopping and the cooking. But recognise any particular talents in these areas."
To me, it was abundantly clear this was not happening in equal amounts.
It didn't happen overnight. We attempted to reconcile and even briefly tried counselling, but the damage was already done. My reasons for leaving may seem incredibly petty to many. My husband wasn't abusive; he didn't cheat and wasn't a criminal. He worked and earned a decent salary and envisaged a happy life together. However, he was completely blind to the harm he was doing daily. He just wasn't very good at looking after us.
Once I'd decided I was leaving and that the love had gone, that was it. I had chosen my self-respect over the marriage and looking back I cannot think of one reason why I should have stayed. Not even our son. He is much better off being raised as part of a 'broken' family than in an unhappy home. He does not deserve to grow up listening to raised voices rising through the floorboards and I'm certain he'll understand that when he's older.
If there's anyone out there reading this that can relate to anything I've said, go and do the washing up. It might just save your marriage.
To read more, you can find me at: http://coffeeandbubbles.com/blog