Coronavirus Quarantine: Dreaming of Marriage in Divorce Loneliness, Here’s a Rose

The divorce isolation has never been so acute as it is now in quarantine life, but somehow roses make it better.  Longing for a spouse is greater now than it has ever been, because without “the person” all that thought time rests in the inadequate self and menial activities versus a stimulating connection with another human. The fact is, loneliness is the wrong motivation for a spouse entirely.  A spouse shouldn’t be there to pacify loneliness or act as a security blanket.  A spouse is there to be a partner in life, working with their partner in unison to accomplish life’s goals together in all quadrants (health, spirituality, intellect and community).  Satisfying the desire for a romantic touch or gesture does not satisfy all the quadrants essential for an “ideal” marriage relationship to thrive in the hard-cold world and the quadrant grid must be firmly drawn on character lines of course.

Somehow inspired by roses, meeting of the minds and hearts is a fantasy that occupies daydreams of marriage in divorce loneliness.

Divorce loneliness longs to watch a relationship fantasy launch with only a look making sparks fly after decades of familiarity.  A mere touch of the hand gives support that could be compared to the engineering stability of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Some words of encouragement that sustain like a 4-course meal.  A thoughtful act which warms your soul even when the outside temperature is below freezing.  After all this, chemistry collides with bodies, and the groundwork is laid for a heavenly intimate experience only possible because God designed it.  Does this exist for some marriages? It must or I am a hopeless romantic!  This has to be the definition of finding the one and only (the peanut butter to your jelly, the lock to your key, the cookie for your filling, etc.)

What destroys the love fantasy experienced above?  When people turn into Jekyll and Hyde or emotions flare-up with no resolution or acknowledgement from the unresponsive spouse (this is divorce loneliness while married – unmet emotional needs and a lack of communication); however, a validating spouse loves the other through these turbulent moments like giving a rose to someone who is crying.  They do not make things worse with manipulative reaction abuse to somehow get the perceived upper hand in the situation.  In the imaginary romantic world of marriage, those tough hard times should create deeper intimacy and love, because that’s the outcome when disagreements turn into compromises and roses are given instead of ridicule. When marriage becomes a dictatorship or bulldozer with no resolution, the connection starts flickering slowly, oh so dreadfully slowly.

Connection with life is flickering slowly with this quarantine too.  It feels like a dying marriage lately. The pervasive Coronavirus has infected everything not just human bodies; marriage, divorce, family life, children, etc. Going to the grocery store is one place where there should be life; however instead, life is flickering.  Everyone has a mask on, everyone maintains some distance, and no one is making pleasant conversation or meaningful eye contact.  Now everyone gets to experience the courthouse at the grocery store. Even the happy couples are distant.  One man suggested to his wife, “do you want some roses?” and her answer was “no, I don’t think we need them.”  The words fell like a great weight to the bottom of his heart.  Couldn’t she have said, “what a lovely idea dear;” “roses sure would brighten the mood;” “roses smell so good, OK”?

They are simply roses and the lady could not make the leap, to “yes.” The quarantine made her response 10x drearier than any other day though, because it was mechanical and a rose is a symbol of life, love and happiness – something that everyone desires right now with this quarantine.  Divorce loneliness is better with roses than without.  I wish I could share my roses with him now and reverse the mechanical damage.  What a difference a correct response makes in creating love for the one you call LOVE. Dreaming of marriage in divorce loneliness is a reality check, the desire for marriage is still there, but loneliness cannot be the main reason.  Look for that special someone that says, I understand you’re lonely, here’s a rose.

Divorce Life: KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FRIENDS

When you get divorced after you’ve been married for a long time the fabric of your life looks and feels completely different. It’s like putting a cream cashmere sweater in the washing machine with red socks, a bra and sneakers. If you were to wear that cashmere sweater with the same friends after that dreadful treatment of cashmere, they would give you the stink eye and think you’re from a different planet. In fact, anyone that knows anything about washing clothes might just think you’re completely inept for looking the way you do which means you can’t find your way in life especially in your thirties, forties, fifties, etc. Even if half your friends are forgiving about the cashmere, you yourself feel extremely self-conscience because at one time you were wearing an admirable sweater and now what you’re wearing makes you stand out for the wrong reasons (discolored, snagged and wrinkled) and perhaps it is only perceived, but it feels so real. This small little analogy sums up the divorce life with friends. Friendships change at the microscopic level when divorce occurs! Let’s look at the process at each step.

Step one: The big divorce reveal – When the divorce is looming, there are a handful of friends that want the “scoop.” When the divorce is looming, “scoop” people hastily gather around, giving you the attention and conversation, you craved when things were going well with your ex-spouse. The thoughts that enter the brain include, “wow, I never knew how much this person cared” or “I always knew they would have my back” or “I bet we will be lifelong friends” or “This divorce is not so bad when I have friends like this.” DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME & ENERGY WITH THESE PEOPLE. These people are only in it for the “information.” Once you need someone to talk to (1 year in), they are nowhere to be found. These people think of you as competition. Now that you’re out of the game, they have won and need to find competition elsewhere. Others who are single, will show their grave disappointment in the falling apart of your marriage and will disown you, because you did not live up to their “expectations.” It is sad and depressing that this happens, but don’t you want to know versus being blindsided like me?!

Step two: The divorce saga – Most separating couples that have lawyers on one or both sides are not amicable. That means one or both people will be engaging in unbelievable behavior. On the non-abusive side, this person is barely able to cope with all the mudslinging, threats, gaslighting, stealing and so on that the other commits during the actual divorce process. The non-abusive person needs a lot of support, so the heavy lifting “first responder” friends will most definitely come through at this time. They will bring food, go to court with you, be a listening ear and even invite you to their family gatherings. Bless the sweet hearts of these friends. After you lick your wounds from the friendship exodus that happens after a year in step one, a wave of gratefulness is restored by the pure kindness of the “first responders” in step two of the process. The abusive spouse loses all their friends at this point, except maybe one.

Step three: The divorce lull – After a few years, time makes the divorce abuse seem less terrible, but one person is still dragging the other person to court (divorce finalized or not). The “first responders” are no longer needed for dire situations, so they gradually go back to their life before they were needed so frequently. They don’t call and ask you to go to tea or seek you out for friendship/companionship. They were solely there to “get you through.” Now that survival has been achieved, new friendship acquisition begins. This is one of the most challenging steps. Making good friends later in life after a divorce is hard. It is hard for several reasons. You are still getting to know yourself in a, single state, so pinpointing who will jive with this new you is like throwing a dart at a moving target. To be completely candid, people in their thirties and beyond are busy with their own lives, so it is even more challenging to find moments that solidify your friendship. Overall, you must be satisfied with less friends or no friends for a period. Yes, I said NO good friends. Good friends are people you talk to everyday and truly, less people are interested in frequent regular interaction especially if they have families of their own (it is a hard pill to swallow). The abusive spouse will latch on to co-workers for support at this time and possibly change jobs.

Step four – The divorce homestretch (occurs if you have children). Once your children are school aged, there is a slight friend revival. You are hurled into new social engagements, so you are forced to engage. Some people will stick and some won’t. This stage is ongoing until the children graduate high school. At this stage, friends that remained dormant will come out of hiding and there will be renewed interest in doing things together and possibly, exploring life with singles as friends as well. Friends at this stage are “fluid friends” it is uncertain if they will be lifers or those just passing through.

The desire for friendship after divorce is a longing that I did not expect. The deep connection I expected from my ex-spouse almost transfers to others in the form of friendship. It is still missing on some level for me. I cannot seem to grasp it. Friends now, seem temporary or platonic. Do not be blind sided by life after divorce. Remember to avoid the “scoop” friends, treasure the “first responder” friends, stay strong during “no good friends,” and be grateful for those “fluid friends” that have the potential to last a lifetime. I am grateful I have more genuine people in my life now, but I still miss those friends I thought I had.  You will too.