Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

There are days, and then there are DAYS

Last night was one of the more difficult nights of my adult life. I helped a friend ask her husband for a divorce. The situation is grim. 21 years of marriage, the past 6 or so extremely difficult. Violence, severe anger, tension, and a complete breakdown of communication. It was horribly sad.

My friend is amazing. She prepared for this evening by interviewing and finding the right attorney for her situation. She wrote a speech, she planned for me and another person to be there to ensure that there would be no violence. She planned for the other person to move his furniture down to the guest room, and then she and I moved all the clothing from his closet down there as well.

She has asked her husband to be in his own place by mid-August, giving him a very generous month. She has told him that she will no longer shop, cook, and clean for him. He's on his own. She asked him to respect her privacy upstairs in her bedroom.

We came over, met out in the front yard, and then all entered together. She called him into the living room, which was swelteringly hot, and asked him to sit down and listen to what she had to say without interruption. And then she began to read her speech.

He sat at rigid attention, not looking at anyone. He stared ahead in shock. He didn't expect this to happen. He had no idea how unhappy she's been, how difficult he's made their family's life, and how much tension there is in their home. She told him how afraid she was of him, how she cringes when she hears him stomping around. She told him that his priorities are way off, with his family coming in a distant 3rd after work and religion. She told him that after 21 years they had both changed and that she was done. DONE.

When he spoke, he ripped into her about religion and how she reacts to their son. He started the blame game, and she cut him off and reiterated that she was finished. He sat for a bit, and then stomped off. The other friend followed him and talked to him for a while. They talked about finding an attorney and renting an apartment. Hopefully, he will do both sooner rather than later, as he's a known procrastinator of huge proportions.

After we moved his stuff downstairs, my friend and I sat on her bed upstairs and talked for a bit. It was getting late and I needed to be home, so I left. As I drove the short distance home I burst into tears, not because of the sadness, but because I had to release all the tension of the last few weeks in dealing with all this.

My friend is so amazing. She's coming into her own after being fearful for a long time. She's taking control of her life, making her own decisions, and feeling powerful. I'm so excited for her, even though this all has been terribly difficult. For the first time in many years, she can do what she wants, when she wants, how she wants, without having to risk a temper tantrum of massive proportions. Instead of restricting her speech and her actions, she can be herself. It's so invigorating to watch this process. As one what has always had those things, it's been hard for me to watch her kowtow to this selfish man. More than once I've asked her why she hasn't killed him yet. I tell her how lucky he was to have married her and not me, because I'd definately added a bit of arsenic to his morning coffee and I don't think there's a court in the land that would have convicted me!

I don't want to make light of an extremely complex situation. I've only touched the surface of all the nuances of this situation, in fact. But I do want my friend to know how very proud of her I am, how brave she's been, and how wonderful it is to see her beginning to regain her life. She deserves only the best.

So give her all some love, please. She needs it.

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Blogger Rhea said...

I want to say that you and your friend who helped the woman who is getting the divorce deserve a ton of credit. This has to be incredibly difficult. I am really happy for your friend, but also fearful. This is the time when violent men do their worst. Is there some way she is going to be safe?

10/7/08 2:50 PM  
Blogger queerpoet said...

Rhea asked the same question I had. I too hope that your friend will be safe. And thanks to you and the other friend for being their to support your friend.

10/7/08 3:18 PM  
Blogger Daisy said...

Her safety is a concern. Does she have a cell phone or other way to call for help quickly and immediately? I am happy she is taking action and has support from you and others. I hope he doesn't overreact in a dangerous manner.

10/7/08 3:24 PM  
Blogger Jendeis said...

Just wanted to add that I think you and the other friend did something very loving and caring for your friend by being with her to add support while she changed her life for the better.

10/7/08 3:28 PM  
Blogger SunSpotBaby said...

I could sure identify with your friend. I didn't have the courage to take the first step in a similar situation, but cowered and waited until he found someone else and that was my salvation. When people heard he had left me for a "friend" and offered their condolences, I had to say NO WAY! She did me a favor!! I always referred to her as my lifesaver.

10/7/08 4:14 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

My friend does have a cell phone. She told him specifically last night that ANY pushing, shoving, hitting, etc would result in an immediate call to the police and she WOULD press charges. She has collected information about previous physical attacks and she would not have a problem using them against him.

Additionally, the husband has a LOT of issues, is probably aspergers, is VERY concerned with outward appearances, and would really die if he ended up in the local paper.

She had dinner here tonight, and stayed until about 8:30. She'll have dinner here tomorrow night as well. And she's got weekend plans, so she'll be staying well away from him, just in case.

It all is just so unnerving. But she's doing GREAT.

10/7/08 10:20 PM  

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