Bitter Divorce and Remembering What Was

I’ve never been divorced.  My parents were happily married, until death did they part.  My in-laws are still married.  I’ve never had any direct experience with a bitter divorce.  I’ve only seen it from the outside as I watch former classmates decide that it’s time to part ways after fifteen or more years.

Sometimes, I see that my friends have had what’s far from a bitter divorce.  Some have joked that their divorces have been better than their marriages.  But others?  I look at them and wonder if they remember what was.

Bitter Divorce and Remembering What Was

We lived in a small town growing up.  A lot of my old high school classmates are still there, raising their families in the same streets that we used to wander without a care in the world.  Some of them are still married to their high school sweethearts and watching with pride as their children enter the same high school we graduated.

But a few of them are not watching together.  There’s one in particular that I can’t help but think of, and it’s just so very sad.

He was a high school stud muffin.  Girls just circled around him and he reveled in the attention.  He had this wonderful gift for turning the girls who crushed on him into his friends and was never cruel about it.  He was a nice guy, not a player.  Most of the time, his crushes accepted his girlfriend into the fold.  If she lasted for very long, she had to be secure that he wasn’t going to cheat on her with and of them.  And he didn’t because, well, he really was fundamentally a nice guy in spite of his pretty boy status.

But the one he chose?  She was not accepted by the gaggle of girls.  They couldn’t stand her.  She was pretty, she was younger than us by a couple of years, and she was not someone that they wanted around us.  (Keep in mind that since this was a small town, some of them knew her since preschool.)

There’s one thing that I do really remember.  Despite the disapproval of his friends, he was proud to be with her.  It was almost defiant.  He had decided that he loved her and only her, and his friends were not going to interfere with that.  She stuck with him, equally as defiant and equally as in love.  Their faces would soften as they looked at each other.

I wasn’t one of the gaggle of girls who followed him.  I wasn’t one of the “haters.”  While I wasn’t a close friend to either of them, I was always sympathetic to her plight and would talk to her even when his friends would walk past her like she wasn’t there.  It hurt her, but she was young and in love and wanted only to be with him.

As I’d expected, those two young loves did get married.  I’d figured it would be a “happily ever after” story just because they’d already demonstrated that they were willing to fight to overcome adversity.  They would not allow outside forces to push them apart.

But now?  Oh, no.  It’s a terribly bitter divorce.  It makes me sad to look at them and know that she’s keeping his children away from him as much as possible.  For all of his flaws and ego, he loves his children and wants very much to be with them.  Now, where there was once a young love that was determined to beat all odds, there’s hatred.  I can’t help but wonder if they ever look at old pictures from happier times and remember that before the fighting, the separation, and the bitter divorce that they were once two people in love.

Have you ever experienced a truly bitter divorce?  Does the anger fade?

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About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. I am divorced, but it’s not bitter. I’ve accepted that he has flaws, as I do too.

  2. Allyson Bossie says:

    My divorce wasn’t as bitter as many, but it was only amicable because I keep it
    “nice” because we have kids, and I don’t want them to know the details or be hurt by his stupidity. He cheated on me for 15 years with the woman he married. I knew he was cheating, and I ultimately left him for this, but I didn’t know it was with her until he rubbed it in her face when he gave her a big fancy wedding and took her to NY on a week honeymoon. This is only a big deal because we got married at the court house and he promised he would have a full wedding with me on our 10th anniversary and take me on a honeymoon. Like our whole marriage was a lie, so was this. He never did it, and he loves rubbing crap in. I am truly happily married now to someone who loves me, but no, I don’t remember what was. I remember years of someone being a fake, someone causing me extreme pain, and someone who was never home, always out cheating. You don’t really know the ins and outs of their marriage. I am not saying she is right to drag the kids into it, but maybe she has a good reason. She may know things that went on in their home that no one else knows (and in marriage that is how it should be). Or she may be hurt to the point that pettiness is the best she has to give. Extreme hurt that a bad marriage and divorce causes can change a person. It will either make you stronger or break you. Usually it breaks you before you get stronger

    • I’m so sorry that your first marriage went the way it went. At least you’ve found someone that you’re truly happy with!

  3. Not sure what it feels as I haven’t been through a divorce, but if it seems as it is not working out or there is no respect, I will not continue this relationship or at least seek help before making a decision.

    • I don’t disagree with their getting a divorce. I just find it terribly sad that two people who once were so very much in love now can no longer stand to be around each other.

  4. Karen Hewitt says:

    I went through a very bitter divorce, thankfully no kids were involved. However there was no other choice than to get out of the abusive situation. Divorce is a terrible thing but at times it is a blessing

  5. I always find it heartbreaking to hear of a failed marriage. People do change over time, and they need to find ways to stay connected.

  6. Ashleigh Swerdfeger says:

    My parents’ divorced when I was 3. It was difficult at the time. My dad chose a different family. They don’t speak now. I think it is nice when people can work out their differences, but sometimes they can’t.

  7. I got divorced about 10 years ago and it was the hardest thing that I had to do. It is far worse than grieving from a death and they are somewhat similar. I highly suggest that you take all the time you need to grieve and get counseling to help you heal. Divorce is similar to a death because you are losing a person that you love dearly; however, they are still alive. If you have children, they will continue to be a part of your life no matter what.

  8. Gladiator in Heels says:

    Next month will be 5 years since the divorce. I have learned so much about myself since then. Divorce feels, literally, like someone has cut a piece of your flesh off. It’s an ache, a dull ache that won’t be lessened by Advil. Even if you don’t like the person you’re divorcing, the ache is still there. It’s tough even more when children are involved. Many people think that you’re doing the kids a favor by staying together. NOT. Within 5 years, my kids have seen a different mom, a better mom. I don’t advocate divorce for anyone. If you do it, you better be ready to go through every stage of grief, that’s the only way you’re coming out alive. Face each stage head on. I still have to interact with my ex. It’s gotten a lot better. I think in the beginning, I was intimidated, I am the one who initiated the divorce, so I felt like I had ruined everybody’s lives. 5 years brings a lot of growth. I am no longer intimidated because there’s a bigger prize at stake. God advocates forgiveness and that’s what I’ve done. Forgave myself, the ex, the situation, all of it. It is a must if you want to come out alive.

    • I don’t mean to sound like I’m anti-divorce. I’m not. There are definitely times when it’s the best solution for everyone. Staying together “for the kids” is nonsense. It just models staying in an unhappy situation for them so that they, too, can learn to be disfunctional when they grow up.

      It’s just amazing how things can change.

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