As a divorce mediator I have noticed a troubling, sad fact: more people file for divorce during the holidays or right after. There is something about the atmosphere of family and tradition that seems to bring everything to a boiling point; Thanksgiving and Christmas in particular emphasize family and togetherness. For a spouse in the throes of an affair, separation from their affair partner during this time leaves a large and agonizing emptiness. They come to the inevitable reality that they can no longer put off divorce and that being with their “soulmate” must become their number one focus. Thus, its off to the attorney to draw up divorce papers and hand them to the unsuspecting spouse during what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year.
In the months before bomb drop, when he was going to “therapy” and sitting on the sofa staring off into space, I would gently, tentatively, ask him, “hey what’s going on?” to which he would bark, “Leave me alone! I don’t have to tell anyone what is going on! I deserve to have peace, and be left alone in my own home!” As a consummate people pleaser, I would duck my head, retreat in fear, and meekly slink away to wonder exactly what was going on.
10:00 pm 2009 Halloween Night- my husband decides to “walk the dog.” Now mind you, my husband never walked the dog, EVER, so I knew that something was fishy. Granted, things had been fishy for a long time, but I couldn’t ignore this or talk myself out of it. This day had been a long day coming.. three years to be exact. Right after he became a captain at the airline he worked for as well as becoming CO of his Marine C-130 squadron, he began to distance himself from me and the children, becoming colder and more contemptuous.
Your spouse just served you divorce papers and you never saw it coming. You were blindsided. Maybe like my ex, they were living a double life and just couldn’t deal with the stress of it any more. Or maybe you had an inkling that something was wrong, but you couldn’t quite put your finger on it. Either way, your spouse, who had been plotting and planning their exit for some time, got up the gumption to serve you divorce papers. And maybe they did it in public, or at your place of work (mine served me papers at church, my place of employment at the time) or even at home. However it happened, it feels like someone sucker punched you in the gut and then kicked you in the head for good measure. I remember the document processor who served me my paperwork, the apologetic look on his face combined with a look of pity. I stood in front of him tears streaming down my face, while he had me sign his notebook, documenting that I had been duly served.