As I heard a song today from Take That – ‘Back for good’ I was transported in time, pre divorce time, to going to their concert with my two best friends. At first the memory was happy, it was a great weekend, then the dirty black infection of my divorce tainted it, these friends dropped me like a stone, maybe their marriages were in trouble and I was infectious? Or their husbands too entwined financially with mine? But as the song says ‘whatever I said I didn’t mean it’ and that was them. It seems we were not true friends, it was a shallow thing and I fell for it. Perhaps I’m being too harsh, but not once have these best buddies invited me out since he walked.
The sadness of divorce is that all your happy memories are shattered, all those times of fun, building the children’s treehouse, dancing in the moonlight, in hindsight you look back and think, was he wishing he wasn’t there then, was he thinking of her then?
However hard I tried he had left me long before he walked out the door and now every happy memory – and I admit most of that 25 years has sadly disappeared in to a self defensive (a sort of PTSD blanking) black hole – is painted with sadness and pain. It’s as if each memory has been wrapped in tissue and put away like a beautiful precious Christmas decoration, now I am unwrapping each one so slowly, but they are broken and cut me.
The things he said to me when I went through each miscarriage (I stopped counting when we got to double figures), were they just words, did he really blame me? When he couldn’t make love, was it really that he felt nothing for me anymore, is that really what all these men who can’t er, perform are thinking? When we laughed was his real? When was that moment that it turned from love to hate and resentment? Can I spot that moment? Had he had other affairs all the time we were married or was it just one big mid life crisis at the end? Questions interrogate each memory.
Will my memories ever return to me washed of the dirt of divorce and betrayal so that I can remember a happy family with laughing children, a beautiful time? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want him back – I want him gone for good as Take That would say, I’m not that forgiving. So why can’t my memories be sweeter? There is also guilt, how do I be with my new partner and admit I was happy before too? Do we have to demonise our past to make our present feel secure?
Is that one more thing I have lost, 25 years of memories have to be rewritten, my perceived history has turned out to be a lie and impossible to rewrite so my brain has buried it deep only to bring a sharp snap of pain when I see a photo, hear a song or reminder where there used to be pleasure.
This forces me to move on in a cautious way, I won’t make friends lightly, I will never be able to trust a lover in the same way, there will always be an escape route now or at least a place to retreat to, it’s just self preservation. Maybe it’s no bad thing to keep a little independence, a little strength in reserve. I do wish I could remember happy times though.