A Letter to The Friend I Lost After My Divorce
I guess you chose the other side?
Dear Ex-Friend, I ate the quiche you made. You know, the one you made for Nathan because his wife left a few months ago and you felt sorry for him. He shared it with me because I’m on my own tonight too — my kids are at their dad’s — and it was delicious. I loved the mushrooms you added. Honestly, it was a really good quiche. I would say it falls within the top five best quiches I’ve ever eaten.
It reminded me of what a good cook you are. I ate that quiche and remembered all those times you had me over for a meal. Back then, when I was your friend. Before I left my husband. You always made healthy vegetarian food taste so much better than it usually does. Better than when I cook it anyway.
It made me wonder — Did you make my ex a quiche like this after I left him? Did you make him a whole fridge full of meals because you felt sorry for him?
It fascinates me that you never asked me the reason I left. Baffles? Upsets? I’m not sure how I feel about it really. Actually, no-one from your crowd asked me. I think what happened — and I know it’s not your fault perhaps— is that my ex told his side of the story and painted such a vivid picture that you all thought you knew everything. Why would you need to ask me? So no-one asked. Everyone just disappeared.
It’s funny though how that works. It happens all the time. There are plenty of woman out there losing all their friends because they left their marriages. I get it. The leaver looks like the bad guy. The one who is left looks like the victim. But is it ever really that simple? Have you thought about what it would take for you to leave your marriage? To stop cooking quiche for the man you’ve committed to for the last decade and a half. How unhappy would you have to get? How tortured would that decision be?
Women don’t just leave for no reason, you know.
I never guessed leaving would mean becoming the villain. Another terrible woman abandoning her husband. Because 85% of the time it is the woman who leaves. Did you know that? And not just on a whim. The women who leave have thought about leaving for a long time. Usually, it seems sudden to the men, but that’s just because they haven’t been listening. When a woman leaves her marriage she’s been trying to talk to him about it for a long time. If he’d listened to how unhappy she was…if he’d just listened, he might have been able to change her final decision.
And so she leaves. We leave. I left. And no-one asks. And no-one makes quiche.
Divorce is one of the hardest things to go through. We all know that. It’s right up there with the death of a loved one. You must have heard that research? That’s why most of us try to avoid it for as long as we can. We avoid it because divorce doesn’t mean it gets any easier necessarily. We know there will be long-term issues.
Divorce is a disaster financially. It strips your savings. It ruins businesses. It forces you out of your beautiful two-year old home and into a run down 100-year old cottage.
Of course, it’s awful emotionally. You lose part of your identity and have to find yourself all over again. You grieve for the lost dream — the one you had as a younger woman of a strong loving marriage and a together family. You rage. You cry. You make some terrible choices. You make some good choices. You have to learn to do things alone. You start over.
And then there’s the kids. Who wants to spend nights away from their child? Who wants to fight over custody? Who wants to feel the guilt? We know the research on how it affects our kids. We know the damage of divorce.
No-one leaves lightly.
I know you’re a caring person usually. I know you wouldn’t intend to hurt anyone. So, my dear ex-friend, next time it happens — next time a friend leaves her husband — maybe you could go and see her. Listen to her side of the story and be understanding if she’s not quite ready to tell it. If she doesn’t want to share, it’s probably because it’s still too painful. She needs your support. She needs you to withhold judgement. She needs you to be her friend.
Make her a quiche.
Kelly Eden is a creative nonfiction writer and mentor, published in Mamamia Australia, Apple News Spotlight, Zoosk and more. Check out her Personal Essay course and get your stories published too.
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