Redefining Family

I’ve thought a lot about how I would begin this post over the last couple of months, but as I sit here staring at blank screen, nothing comes to mind…

Dave and I have decided to get divorced.

It is a hard phrase to write and even harder to say out loud, mostly because you can see the pain in people’s faces when you say it. You can see them imagining what it would be like to go through a divorce with two small children and you can see them wondering what went wrong. The truth is that the most pain comes when I look into the eyes of our kids, especially Evelyn. She doesn’t understand how you can stop loving someone. And I don’t know how to explain that I haven’t stopped loving him, it’s just not the love that makes a marriage work. We tried our best to make it work. But in the end what was broke couldn’t be fixed. We grew up. We grew apart. The divide became too much.

And I don’t know exactly what broke and maybe that’s why we can’t fix it. I don’t know if the problems started in the foundation of our relationship or if the problems started out small and continued to grow because we didn’t tend to them. A marriage is a lot like a house. It needs to be built on a strong foundation and with the best materials. But it also needs to be tended to. It needs to be cared for. You can’t just let the house go and expect it to stay intact. You can’t give it a new coat of paint to hide cracks in the foundation. And you can’t expect a house to grow with you without making changes to it.

It’s easier to look back now and see where things started to go astray. But neither of us noticed while it was happening. Unfortunately marriage doesn’t come with a handbook. We tried our best. We did what we thought was right and it didn’t work. And the truth is that I wouldn’t take back one day of the eight years that I was married to Dave. There was an unforgettable feeling when I met him my second week of my freshman year at Ohio University. It was a feeling of almost immediate comfort and ease. Like I knew this person was meant to be in my life. And he was. He was absolutely meant to be the person who was beside me as I became an adult. He was meant to be the amazing father of our two beautiful children. And he was meant to be my best friend for twelve years. But unfortunately this is where our love story ends.

And while this process is hard and deeply saddening, we both know it is what is best for us and ultimately our children. We want them to have happy parents. We want them to witness loving relationships in their daily lives and unfortunately we can’t do that together. We are both extremely rational and reasonable people and while this process is not all unicorns and rainbows, we have been able to make it tolerable. We both want our children to know that they are always loved. We want this to be an easy transition. We want to remain a family. We will never be a traditional family in the sense that we are all living under the same roof, but I will always be their mom and he will always be their dad. This is just the newest version of our family.

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