I have a wide cross section of friends who are married, single, divorced, some in relationships and others not. Most of us don’t define ourselves by our marital or relationship status, they are surely a large part of who we are, but not indicative our whole person. There are a few women I know personally and many I’ve encountered socially who are married and believe divorce is quitting… or they say things in that spirit.
I’m here to tell you that it most certainly is not!
I have been married. I’m currently divorced and in a committed relationship. I am a serial monogamist. I am that girl whose friends say “you always have a man.” The truth is, if I always had a MAN, I’d still be married. I have been in relationship with many men who simply were not mature enough to be with someone who has her shit together, standards, and her own. I have never been looking for someone to take care of me or to lace me, I lace myself… but I am certainly looking for a life partner. In that process, I have had to learn the hard way what is best for me. That means there are some things I’m unwilling to be involved in long term. Period. But ESPECIALLY for a lifetime. We should all have some boundaries. I honestly believe many women get married and shed and erect those boundaries as they go. As Tamar would say… that right there, she don’t do that !
Gone are the days when women had to be and remain married for financial security. Hell, not that I would suggest it, but women are choosing to have babies without a mate… times have changed. Women spend as much time outside of the home, working to financially support her family, as men do. I have plenty of friends who bring in more than their spouses. But even with those very clear markers that women no longer need to completely sacrifice and compromise themselves to stay married … never had to frankly… we continue to do so.
Be clear, I’m not suggesting divorce as a remedy for simple marital problems. I am suggesting that when you see signs that the man you chose does not intend to respect, consider, and commit to you as fully as you have him, after you have exhausted all other remedies, you don’t have to remain with that person who is refusing to treat you well. Period. We all have our own boundaries… mine are simple. If you are unfaithful to me by bringing another person into the intimate bounds of our relationship or by sharing your body with them, you gotta go. If you mistreat me or my child, you gotta go. If you steal or take from me, either materially or otherwise, you gotta go. Lastly, if you are unable to be trusted and show that continuously by your actions, you gotta go. Otherwise, the table is open for discussion and solution. But I’m not talking about you being unable to control yourself sexually, financially, or behaviorally. Go talk to a therapist.
Those women who qualify it as quitting, are typically women afraid to be alone. Women who say things like, they feel sorry for women who are dating. Women who don’t know their own strength and power.
If I’m practicing for a marathon, and the shoes I picked are not supporting me, are hurting me, are making me feel like I can’t finish the race, it’s time for a new pair of shoes. Doesn’t matter how much you spent on the bad shoes, how long you had them, or how good the reviews were. You need good shoes to plant in to make your relationship with the ground as steady and solid as possible. It may rain, the sun may go down. Other people may be ahead of you, or pass you, but your only competition is you and if you felt like you gave it your best. You can’t be at your best with janky shoes. You can’t be at your best with a janky man either sis!
Marriage is hard. Divorce is much more difficult. When you cleave to a partner, to end it, you have to chop them off like a limb. And like an amputee you will feel phantom emotions from that person you cut off. It’s very much like death. It’s also much like ending a book before the last chapter and having to wonder what might have been. So before you make that choice you have examine and exhaust all the possibilities for healing. But if you dig and find nothing but more dirt, eventually you can stop. There is nothing there. The choice is yours… but by no means is it a choice based on quitting. It’s a choice based on you, choosing you.
If you happen to be reading this and you are married and have sacrificed and compromised yourself into a person you no longer recognize for the sake of marriage, but you choose to stay, I hope you find comfort in that decision. But don’t attempt to weaken the person who makes a different choice. Like you, she too deserves support.
As for me, I chose not to subscribe to the very negative propaganda that is spread about Black couples, Black marriage, Black men, Black women, and Black love. Marriage is difficult to maintain across the board, but so can be your sense of self. One shouldn’t be sacrificed for the other, ever. Choosing you is NEVER quitting. It is imperative. Divorce doesn’t make you a quitter, just a survivor.
If you need to… and only you know that, quell the chatter, divorce is ok!