I was talking with a friend yesterday and she brought up the fact that she thinks my saying, it’s been seven years since he left puts me in the victim mode. I felt like I had to defend my answer. Like she just didn’t understand. And how could she? She’s still married. And yes, I am someone who marks time by events. Saying he left is what really happened. And while I am truly grateful that he did go and I am happier than I was when I was married to him in so many different ways, I don’t view it as victim mode. It’s just fact. We went on to discuss it.
Her: Don’t you think it’s bad that you say he left? Why can’t you say that the marriage broke up?
Me: I don’t know. I never thought of it. I guess because I would have never left him.
Her: But were you really happy with him by then?
Me: Probably not. He was super unhappy and it made for a lot of walking on eggshells, so I was uncomfortable in the home as well. But I was still trying to make it work for the kids’ sake.
Her: And now?
Me: I’ve seen how his leaving and the subsequent divorce opened my life up in different ways that I really like. But in my mind, it matters that he left, but that I filed for divorce. So I guess it shows.
Her: It shows. Change your wording. You’re giving him power by saying ‘he left’ so perhaps ‘we separated’ is a better choice.
Hmmm…what do you think? Do you mark time with events too? When you tell your story of a breakup/divorce, what do you say?