Monday, January 11, 2010

It's A Strange Feeling

I know about divorce, but not really.

That may sound confusing, but it makes sense. What I'm trying to say is that I understand the concept of divorce, I am aware of the impact it has on children and families, but I don't really have much firsthand knowledge about the topic. Even though I have family members and associates who are divorced, I really don't know divorce.

For example, I only realized recently how much sadness is associated with divorce.

There is the obvious sadness that comes from seeing two people dissolve what was supposed to an eternal union. I can't forget about the gut-wrenching pain of knowing that any children that couple has produced will now be scarred for life. But, there is more.

I wasn't aware of the subtle, and yes, selfish sadness that even distant associates feel from divorce. Watching another couple founder, particularly a couple that reminds me however slightly of my own marriage, affects me more than I ever would have thought possible.
I don't know these people, yet I feel a connection to them. As I see them slowly trying to create a life apart from each other, a life that only one of them seems to want, I can't help but feel the fragility of my own connection with my wife.

This feels so strange for me because I usually lack empathy. True, I've improved in that area in recent years, but as a side effect of my upbringing, I'm not the guy that's usually good at feeling other people's pain.
And, honestly, I can't even tell in this case if I'm feeling someone else's pain, or just my own. Do I really feel bad because of this couple's situation, or do I feel bad because I wonder if their failure makes it more likely that I will fail?

Truthfully, I don't know. What I do know is that I feel sad whenever I see this couple sitting apart where they previously sat together. I feel bad when I see them unable to share the intimacies that married couples share in every interaction. I feel terrible when I see other folks ill at ease in their presence because they don't know how to react to their split. Mostly, I feel terrible because the sense of loss surrounding them is palpable. It's an ugly miasma that follows them like a bad odor.

I see it, I feel it, and it's just strange.



Tit for Tat said...

Big Man

I think we all can feel it. Its just that all wont admit feeling it. I know where youre coming from. Im getting a little better at admitting it too.

Mr. Noface said...

I know the feeling and it does scar the kids (no matter how hard both parents try to make the split easier on them).

Brenda said...

Big Man,

I'm going through a divorce myself. Fourteen years of marriage down the drain. If there is any upside to this situation - there are no children who will go through the pain of two parents splitting up. Some days the emotions and attitude is, I can't wait to be gone. Other days, there is a tremendous sadness that what was once a happy, loving union is now nothing more than two people living as roommates who barely speak to one another except when necessary.

The reasons for the failure of my marriage are varied and private. But I will say this much - if you and your partner find yourselves at a point in your relationship where you aren't communicating openly. Get thy self to a minister/marriage counselor/therapist immediately. The lack of communication problem is not going to improve, it's only going to get worse. And from worse comes even more problems and issues.

Big Man said...


The blog was really about me and my wife, we're doing pretty well. It was more about a couple at my church. However, I agree with you on the counseling thing. Far too many folks refuse to take that route and wind up letting workable issues become dealbreakers.

JudithNYC said...

I don't know about scarring for life. I am 60 yrs old, raised in an intact family, go to church several times a week, pray every day sort of family. And I still cry myself to sleep many times from the hurt my parents inflicted on me as a child and as an adult.

Of course, I had a hard time with marriage and divorced the father of my twin boys. (If thruth be told, the father divorced me because I was impossible to deal with.) My boya are adult men now and seem to be well adjusted, happy men in very nice jobs and successful relationships.

What I am saying is that whether divorce or continuing married for the sake of the children is not a hard and fast rule and sometimes you have to "amputate" to save the whole person.

Divorce is painful, though. I will not make light of it.

Big Man said...


I agree that you shoudn't stay in a marriage for the sake of the children. However, I don't think that means you should get a divorce. I think that almost every marriage, no matter how toxic it may seem, can be salvaged if the two people involved commit themselves to salvaging it. Unfortunatly, that's a difficult step. However, if you allow yourself to start believing that you're only staying together for the kids, well there is no hope for things to improve.

Brenda said...

Big Man,

My apologizes for not clarifying who I was addressing when I said,"...if you and your partner find yourselves..." - I should have written instead, "...if a husband and wife find themselves..."

fromthetropics said...

I'm not married or divorced. But thank you for writing this. It speaks volumes. Yeah, it hurts to even hear about divorce happening around me, or even just statistics.

Btw, I followed you over from swpd. You have such an awesome writing style. It feels as though you can depict deep pain with words without even writing very much.

Raving Black Lunatic