A Guest Post by Christy
I am new today.
While I realized within a couple months that my ex-husband’s departure was more than threat and my marriage was over, today conjures a set of emotions I hadn’t imagined. The state of California mandates a six-month legal separation before clearing a dissolution of marriage. It has been much longer than the six months we were legally separated; today happens to be six months from when some particular paperwork was filed with the court. I still can’t discern what that was in my documentation. Anyway, this to say that today is an arbitrary day in the process of separateness that has already happened, and doesn’t relate to any date hitherto personally significant to me. But by virtue of The Law, today I am single once again. It took signatures from us both, two witnesses, one ordained clergy, and one state official to marry; only his signature and that of a judge to undo it. (Side note: what if we had to get signatures from each of those participants to undo it?)
Dates I’ve considered mile markers in this process? The first time I saw him after months without; the day I nursed him back to health while apartment shopping; the day after Christmas when his sister posted family pictures that included my replacement; the day his brother made a point to visit me when he came into town and told me he was relieved for me and nearly told my replacement to “run for her life”. Those are dates I will remember moving ahead.
I doubt he has given today any thought, and to be honest, I’ve launched into singlehood by now too. But today, I do feel a certain last chain removed.
Also today: I accepted what is essentially my dream job. I plan to share more of my story here in the future, but for now I’ll say that my career was problematic within what my ex somewhere along the road dreamed to be a “traditional” marriage. My husband left at a particularly vulnerable time (whether this was his intention, I hope never to know)—right before I was to finish dissertating, enter the job market, and once I was all out of funding to continue enrollment in my PhD program. So for quite a long time, not only was I grieving, I was also tremendously vulnerable and scared.
Today I feel very excited for what it represents professionally and personally. It also feels vindicating.