This is a weird week for me.
June 19th would have been my sixth wedding anniversary, had I not made the incredibly difficult decision to end my marriage. In the state of Massachusetts, a divorce is final 120 days after the married couple's court date, which for me, just so happened to be June 26th 2013. Interestingly enough, I began dating Casey on approximately June 24th 2013, so I spend this week simultaneously mourning a failed marriage, feeling grateful for making a difficult but necessary life change, and celebrating a relationship with a partner whose love and support have helped me come to understand what a healthy relationship should be like.
Still, all these milestones being crammed into a single week is a total mindfuck. I don't really think about my ex all that much, and when I start to I try not to... especially since that time I was asked to corroborate the idea that our marriage was never real.
Unfortunately, every year, when June 19th rolls around, I think about the party. I drank a lot that day—I don't know if it was because I had a drinking problem, or because I knew deep down getting married to this person was going to end and probably not well, but I got drunk. Like, fell asleep in our hotel room after the reception-ate pepperoni pizza in my wedding dress when i was a vegetarian- drunk. I knew marrying this person was a bad idea, but I still went through with it. I don't know exactly why I did, maybe it was some kind of game of relationship chicken I was playing, and by the time our wedding day came, an eventual divorce just seemed like an easier option than not getting married.
This year is a little different than last year, I suppose. During a recent trip to Boston, I found out through a mutual friend that my ex is engaged. I'd be lying if I said I was happy for them. I'm not. I'm not upset that he's getting married, and I'm not upset that I'm not getting married, I'm just being honest about the fact that I did not jump for joy when I heard the news. I've recently been reflecting on that relationship, specifically the fact that it was super toxic, and I just get sad. I mourn the loss of 9 years of my life, and I mourn the loss of my wedding day...at least my first wedding day. I don't really know what I'm feeling, because I don't really know how to feel...I don't know too many divorced 30-somethings, and a lot of the divorced people I do know have kids, and when I hear about their shit, I feel like a total dick for complaining about my first world divorce problems.
Then I look at celebrating my divorce. I remember going to court in February 2013. My ex had asked me to meet him at Haymarket Station so we could walk to the courthouse together. I got there and waited. He was running late. We texted back and forth—me asking where he was, and him telling me he was almost there, asking me to wait—I waited, until waiting would have meant I would have arrived at the courthouse late. I distinctly remember feeling bad for heading to the courthouse without him, then remembering it was no longer a thing I needed to worry about. We got there, and when they let us into the courtroom, it was just a room full of lawyers and couples looking to be divorced. We weren't allowed to look at phones or books. We sat there, listening to droves of the soon-to-be-divorced stating various statistics revolving around the dissolutions of their marriages. Some couples had just been married, others had obviously waited until their kids were college-aged to divorce. It didn't matter. In the courthouse, you answer 3 minutes of questions and you're either granted the divorce or you are sent away with more homework to do. I remember it feeling very clinical. I also remember trying to high-five my ex outside the courthouse before we went to grab a celebratory beer. I sort of wish things had remained amicable, but I also think life's way less messy when my ex is dead to me 98% of the time.
Now let's get to the good stuff. I met Casey through a mutual friend in early June 2013, we hit it off, and as far as we're concerned, began dating on or around June 24. The last three years have been a wild ride, including a year of long distance dating, quitting my job, moving halfway across the country, and a road trip followed by a moving halfway back across the country. The last three years haven't been without turmoil, or shouts, or tears, but overall they've been pretty amazing. To say he's supportive of me would be the understatement of the century—he not only supports me, but pushes me to pursue the things I want to do, but often avoid. He calls me out on my bullshit, but not in a way that is hurtful. He buys me snacks and tells me I'm beautiful, but is also sure to tell me I'm intelligent. He's super smart,creative, has jokes for days, and is good at fixing and killing things. For the longest time, I'd hear people talk about meeting "the one", all the while thinking it was complete bullshit, until I met this guy. He is so much my other half, that there have been occasions on which I have felt the need to double check and make sure our relationship isn't some "Fight Club" situation, in which he is the Tyler Durden to my Jack/Narrator. I have never felt so comfortable being me while also wanting to be my best self possible as I do with Casey in my life. If and when we get married, I'm truly excited to finally see what all this "happiest day of my life" stuff is all about. I'm also really excited about wedding snacks, because I know they will be on point.
Like I said, this week is a weird one, and probably will remain a weird one for the foreseeable future, but I like to think everything happens for a reason. Had I not been in the relationship I was in, and gone through getting married and subsequently becoming unmarried, I don't think I would have gotten to know myself or experienced the personal growth necessary to become a better partner. Furthermore, had it not been for the relationship with my ex, I don't know that I would have stuck around with that social circle long enough to have met the mutual friend who introduced Casey and I. So yeah, this week is weird, but also totally worth it.