“To my happily married friends,
You used to know me as so and so’s wife.
But now I am just a so and so.
Some of you, well, most of you, don’t look at me the same way anymore.
You’re awkward around me.
You keep away.
You don’t contact me anymore.
And that’s okay, I know life is busy, but there’s a tiny part of me that can’t help but feel you think I’m… contagious.
That you might catch my separation. My pending divorce.
I don’t get the same smiles I did from you when I belonged to someone else. I can’t help but feel like some spinster that might steal your husband (because that’s what single women with kids do, right?). As I am met with pity and a little bit of disdain, there are a few things I want you to know:
I’m not diseased. I’m not contagious; I’m not dying. I’m not to be pitied or swept under a rug. I’m not broken.
I am okay. I will survive this. Yeah, it hurts like hell, just like your first heartbreak, but with a freight train on the side. But I’ll be okay… I will get through this. I will be stronger than I was before… because, as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I can’t die from a divorce.
I am not a pleb of society.
I also want you to know I never planned on being here. I planned on growing old with the man I married. I didn’t say those vows so in 7 years I could be wondering what I could have done to avoid that moment where the marriage thread unraveled. So I could be just Laura instead of so and so’s wife.
And I know when I’d hear of other people separating, I’d feel a particular type of reassurance it wouldn’t be me. I was like you. I tried to think about whose fault it was too, tried to pick a side and justify it, so I could make sure it wouldn’t happen to me (oh, but he did this…) but it’s not anyone’s fault. It takes two to make a relationship and two to break it.
And two hearts to break even more when people pick sides.
It’s okay to ask me how I am. It’s okay to tell me you’ll be there for me. It’s okay to have a coffee with me. It’s okay to acknowledge it’s s–t. It’s okay to treat me like a person still.
Because if you ever find yourself in my shoes (and I pray you never do), I hope no one treats you like that. I hope no one picks a side, or ignores you, or disappears from your life. I hope no one treats you as if you’re contagious or like you want to bed their husband. I hope they show you kindness. The kindness you need in the most vulnerable time of your life.
Because at the start, you’ll feel vulnerable. You’ll hurt, and you’ll cry.
But you won’t die from heartache. Because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; this I know.
You might not be so and so’s wife anymore, but you’ll be you… and that’ll feel confronting and scary, but it can also feel hopeful and exciting.
And I hope you know sometimes life may not work out as planned, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be any less than extraordinary.
Love your newly separated friend,
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Mazza, where it originally appeared. Follow Laura on Instagram here. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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