I spent 10 years in an intense relationship with a man I thought I was going to marry.
We never married.
The details of how and why I let this happen will be sidelined for another blog post.
Nevertheless, when it ended, I was left broken – a shell of the person I was when we first embarked on our courtship.
It took an extraordinarily long time to heal.
And it was harder than I had ever imagined it could be.
I struggled to accept it as “over”.
I used every fiber of my being to find strength to create a new life for myself – one that was structured around just me… without the crutch of another person in my sphere.
Years later, when I emerged whole… and the self-loathing had dissipated… I realized I had been through a divorce.
I privately named it the “silent divorce”.
My world spun out in every way…
Single meant starting over.
Finding a new home.
Setting new financial goals.
No longer part of a couple, I had to re-invent my weekends and re-engage my social circle.
Securing new places for old friends.
Finding depth and meaning in new friendships.
I felt out of sorts.
Desperate and overwhelmed.
I was scared.
And outrageously lonely.
Through all the pain and heightened emotions, I did not receive the empathy I had expected!
Not the same type of sympathy people accept when they go through an “actual” divorce.
Without the legal history, I wasn’t regarded as a divorcee.
Accordingly, my support network had alternate expectations for this loss.
While they were remarkably helpful, it was clear the loss was to be mourned concisely – without the emotional complications that would come with an official divorce.
How tough could it be to move past a 10-year relationship that didn’t assume children?
I recall the countless remarks about how fortunate it was that we didn’t marry and how thankful I should be for not having to arrange a divorce.
But if it wasn’t a divorce how come I was feeling all the same pain?
And why was I feeling frustrated by the ease in which it ended?
Was it strange that I felt a divorce may have validated and officiated the existence of this relationship?
Even stranger that I preferred a sanctioned divorce to my silent one.
Wasn’t the 10 years longer than some other marriages?
But the lack legal papers kept me from court battles, financial obligations, and the typical nightmares of separation.
But did it?
What do you think? Is the Common Law Divorce worth fighting for recognition?
Let me know if you think I was …
1. Divorced – no different from a legal divorce
2. Not really divorced
3. Not even comparable
Would love to hear your comments, please share below.
Co-Founder, Divorce Angels