September 30, 2012

Life Changes

Every now and again my ring finger feels naked. I absentmindedly reach for my wedding band with my thumb, as I’ve done probably thousands of times before, and realize that it’s no longer there. That symbol of eternity, as the priest described it over 12 years ago, now sits in my overnight bag, tucked unceremoniously under the bathroom sink.

What led to this life change is complicated and, yet, simple. While I’m not inclined to air my laundry in such a public forum, I am at peace with the decision. For too long I gave and, in my mind, received little. Or, at least, not enough. I’m not sure if blame is to be cast – it just is. And while I am mindful that the person I will no longer be married to will always, and hopefully, be in my life as we continue to parent our beautiful children, I am also mindful that my life can be mine again.

Again, this is not to place blame. Blame implies anger and resentment and that’s something that I don’t have. Not anymore. Sometimes I feel a melancholy sadness that mostly percolates to the surface when a childhood milestone is missed as the family we once knew – but I am also filled with hope for the future and a sense of peace that the decision is the right one.

And as I look at the faces of my children, I hope they will one day understand that this decision was made, in part, because I want something better for them. I want them to learn what a healthy, strong relationship looks like and I feared they wouldn’t learn that with the status quo. Perhaps they can see what two loving parents can do for their children – even if it’s done in two separate households.

As for me, my life feels at ease for the first time in a long time. The irony is that there are many reasons to feel differently but I feel, for the first time in a long time, a sense of optimism that I thought had died long ago. I know who I want to be. I know what I want for myself. I know that I can take the lessons I learned from my marriage and apply it to my next relationship. I am a work in progress but the final chapter hasn’t been written. In fact, this middle chapter might be the defining time of my life – as a father, lover, friend.

Here’s to the next journey. One where the symbol of eternity won’t be a ring of precious metal but a resolve to give and receive and love and be loved.


  1. Oh Matthew. I want everyone to make it, and I’m so sorry when that doesn’t work out, for whatever reason. But on the flip side of that, I’m an ardent supporter of happiness and peace, and if this change is what it takes to achieve that on a better, higher level — that’s what I wish for for you.

    All the best — thanks for sharing so your friends from the computer can share our support and cheer you on as you take these next important steps. Hugs to you!

    Comment by Laurie — September 30, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  2. Welcome to the club Matt. We have good cake here. ;)

    Seriously though, your reasons to make this life changing decision echo so many others. We want better for our kids and staying in a relationship that isn’t working just isn’t enough for us and it isn’t deserved by them. You’re a wonderful father and you’re raising amazing kids. What more needs to be said?


    Comment by Miss — September 30, 2012 @ 11:24 am

  3. Oh goodness. I’m sorry that you have to go through this, I hope the kids are doing well and get to spend plenty of time with you. I don’t know what else to say, just that way over here on the other coast, I’m thinking about your family and hoping for all good things.

    Comment by Goddess in Progress — September 30, 2012 @ 11:27 am

  4. Thinking of you. I mean that sincerely.

    Comment by Busy Mom — September 30, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

  5. Sorry you all have to go through this.
    As a wife #2, I’m glad that my husband is no longer married to his first wife. If he was, neither of us would be as happy as we are now! And I wouldn’t have the most wonderful family that I have now.
    It sometimes takes a while to find it, but I promise there’s a silver lining.
    Sending prayers for peace and comfort your way…

    Comment by krys72599 — September 30, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  6. Dammit. I’m sorry. Even if you’re all OK and everything … I’m still sorry. Hugs. Best wishes. Hoping good things for you.

    Comment by Becky — September 30, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  7. Even though I have been there and done that it is still always sad to hear when someone else joins the club.

    And yet, having long ago healed and found what I knew was possible in a relationship and in myself….I share and applaud your feeling of optimism.

    In my experience the first year is the hardest as those milestone days/events come up…then somehow that second time around is infinitely better.

    Be gentle and patient with yourself. Hugs.

    Comment by Christina — September 30, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

  8. Matthew- many thoughts and prayers for all of you as you navigate this new world.

    Comment by Fran — October 1, 2012 @ 5:31 am

  9. Hugs to you Matthew.

    Comment by Issa — October 1, 2012 @ 7:40 am

  10. You are a class act, my friend. May your future be full of peace and happy!

    Comment by Lex — October 1, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

  11. The best is yet to come. I love you more than there are stars in the sky.

    Comment by Grandmother — October 1, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  12. It gets better. Try your best to keep a dialogue with your STBX, pick your battles, and find your tribe to help see you through. The other side is waiting.

    Comment by LOD — October 2, 2012 @ 6:27 am

  13. I’m sorry to hear, man. If you ever need an ear to lean on, feel free to reach out. As Doug said, it’s hard but it does get better.

    Comment by MD — October 3, 2012 @ 4:33 am

  14. I’ve known too many people who didn’t split when they needed to and suffered (as did their kids) because of it. Sometimes the break must be made. Sorry, man. Fare well on your new life.

    Comment by Always Home and Uncool — October 4, 2012 @ 5:08 am

  15. I’m always jealous whenever I read that anyone I know is getting divorced. So many people I know in real life, as well as bloggers I’ve been reading for the past 7 years or so, are taking the plunge instead of maintaining the status quo. I do worry that my kids are going to grow up with a warped view of what a healthy marriage looks like, but I think it’s probably too late for us now.

    Comment by L. — October 5, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

  16. Sorry to hear your family is going through that Matthew. I hope all of you begin to heal and that your three children realize you do what is best for you and them and that their father will always be there for them. I hope you find happiness and comfort.

    Comment by Laurie — October 6, 2012 @ 7:16 am

  17. Mattthew – I wish you all the best on your new journey. You are a wonderful dad and I am sure your precious children will never think otherwise.
    My parents have been married for 28 years and it is not a healthy relationship (it sounds very similar to what you descibed where the give/take balance is way off). As a result, I feel like my sister and I have a warped view of what a marriage should be and what true love really is.
    Here’s to you – may you have the peace and confidence to live this next chapter to the fullest and be as happy as you deserve to be.

    Comment by Emily — October 7, 2012 @ 9:30 am

  18. I’m so sorry to read this Matt. I don’t know your family in “real life” but have followed along on your blog for so long that I feel like I do. I am sad for the loss of your family as you knew it, and even more for what you dreamed it to be. I hope that this change brings peace and happiness for all of you, despite the turmoil and sadness of the process. Your children are blessed to have you as their father.

    Comment by Michelle — October 7, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  19. I am sad to hear of the end of your marriage, but I know that you’re moving forward to healthier and happier times for you and your family. Best wishes to you all.

    Comment by Nancy (@ Spinning My Plates) — October 11, 2012 @ 11:01 am

  20. I’m so sorry to hear this, Matthew.

    Comment by memphislis — November 19, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

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