On Divorce


On a Window into Divorce

Here we are: closer to the places I’ve wanted to arrive. Let’s get our hands dirty, shall we, in the miry substance of sticky relationship talk. I can’t promise that we’ll all come out clean, but I can promise that things might be a little better—for us both.

If you don’t want to read me get some shit off my chest, then it’s probably best to stop here. There you go. You’ve been warned.

“Divorce! Divorce! Divorce!”

It’s all over the place—in statistics; in sociological studies; in the tabloids; in the minds of both the married and the single; and lastly, in the scars of those who’ve experienced it first-hand—maybe even more than once.

Fine. Damn it. Ok. Yes, I am divorced (biased? Yeah; that too). Does it still piss me off? Yes, it does. I spent an enormous amount of my own personal worth on a project in which I believed wholeheartedly. The shame and defeat of that failure kept me very much in a kind of bondage for quite some time. Sometimes, I still feel those shackles where I thought the “ball and chain” to be absolute freedom. Odd, isn’t it?

Am I pretty screwed up now? Probably. But not any more than I would be about something else. And not any more than everyone else is, I think (at least people I know). There’s always something. Pain is inevitable. Suffering, however, is completely a choice, and since we’re being honest here, it felt good to wallow in my own filth for a bit. People listened because they felt I had something to say. I was (am) young and divorced. It doesn’t happen too often. The experience was one to which most of those in my social circle couldn’t relate, as most of those who have parted from marital bliss are in their early thirties or later in mid-life. It made me a pariah with some kind of faux-wisdom, I guess—maybe because I made it through? Honestly, I don’t really know what I was (am) to those people—in some cases, a friend; in others, a project.

But if you were to ask me if I’d go through all that bullshit again—all the loneliness and confusion; wondering whether anything would resolve or whether or not my wife would actually fight for our marriage; and feeling the inevitable ‘no’ cutting deep into the very substance of who I was upon her complete check out from the reality we’d built—and I will answer with the following: hell yes.

That fire tried to burn me down, but somehow, I escaped. Can’t tell you how. Faith; Family; Friends; Freedom: all played a significant role. But I am what I am because of it, and that, I would not change. I live in New York now—something I always wanted to do—and I’m even dating again (who would’ve thought I’d do that again? Not this guy). All of it because someone who promised to spend their life with me successfully tossed me aside for reasons I still don’t fully know.

It’s crazy to me what sticks around after the chaff falls, after you want so badly for the person who left to return. There’s a period of time where you feel every good thing, holding on to all of the beautiful and wonderful elements that brought you together in the first place and held you there for so long.

But then, from seemingly nowhere of significance comes the authenticity of what your relationship was. Such a moment occurred just last weekend.

I remembered my ex-wife clapping her hands on every syllable of every word of her argument for leaving, as we stood in the kitchen, I trying to make sense of what was occurring to my family.

I was watching an SNL skit—the one with Ariana Grande playing Maria from the Sound of Music. She interrupts the song “How do you solve a problem like Maria” to confront the nuns for “talking shit behind her back”. The sketch was very funny, and I got caught in a few fits of laughter.

But then Ariana started clapping out her syllables, one by one, driving her point, and out of nowhere, I was standing in the kitchen again, watching that cold-blooded woman bare her teeth at me, declaring that she didn’t love me/find me attractive/ want to stay with me.

“I *clap* do *clap* not *clap* love *clap* you *clap* anymore *clap*!”

Fuck that—as if I were some animal that couldn’t understand rational conversation.

That shit actually happened, and when I heard and saw Ariana’s hands come together with the live audience laughing at the silliness, it dredged up a rage from deep down that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

Clap. Clap. Clap.

An absurd applause.

This isn’t a pity party for me. I’m not wallowing anymore, but I guess if I were on the outside of this particular situation, and wanted to know what it was like on the inside, then this would be a window into the experience. It’s a small window that I had to open for a moment to let out the stench. I can’t possibly uncover it all, because, there is so much to what it means to be human, the red strings of interaction running from source to source so endless that it makes for a solid wall of crimson.

But I wanted to talk about it, and so I have.

As always, thanks for reading. It never ends, you know? The pain that those around us inflict will continue even as we inflict pain upon others. But you’re only as alone as you make yourself, so reach out.

We’re in this together. Let’s walk out of here.



p.s. Feel free to shoot me an email at michial.miller.author@gmail.com; I’m always down for feedback, discussion, or just keeping up with old friends and new ones.

10 thoughts on “On Divorce

  1. Oh my… So raw, honest and powerful. There is so much of you in there that I couldn’t get my eyes off the screen. I’m not sure I blinked throughout the whole text. Thank you for such a great piece. And congratulations for standing up again. “Let’s walk out of here”!

  2. Divorce is hard. I’m going through it right now. It’s not fun. But I will tell you that I find it SO interesting that every. single. person. i’ve ever talked to about divorce equates it with the word “Failure.”
    I think I find that so interesting because I’ve never once thought about my marriage ending as a failure. And I never thought that I failed at being married. I just figured… it didn’t work anymore. We didn’t work anymore. We weren’t a good match- it wasn’t failing perse, it was just what happened when two people grew apart (or were never really NOT apart in the first place).
    I don’t know… I know it still hurts you.. but I also know this- you will look back at this one day and be grateful for how it all turned out. You know that already, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to read it from someone else. You will be better for this. You will be better off. You will be better in general.
    And I will too. And I can’t fucking wait. 🙂

    • While I am sorry to hear about your divorce, I think it’s great that you can separate your worth away from your relationship. It can certainly be difficult when you tether yourself to someone in such a way and it doesn’t work out. I am grateful at this point, but it still makes me mad as hell sometimes.

      I’m definitely better off. Sounds like you are too.

      Thanks for being overall awesome and reading my stuff. Maybe one day I’ll have a few books out too.

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