Mourning Your Marriage after Divorce

I sat in the filthy gym bathroom stall and cried today.  It was the first time I have cried about my divorce, the first time I have felt anything beyond palpable relief and a sense of having escaped an angry rhino. It might have been the yoga class- blame it on the tadasanas and the soothing south asian chanting, or the hot room and smell of primal human energy.  In any case, I left deeply sad.  I felt the loss of what was.  I felt the loss, and my responsibility for that loss. Its easy to look at our former…

Toxic Marriage, Served with Contempt

My daughters gaped, open-mouthed, at the histrionic couple dining at the adjacent table. We were in France, at an auberge in the Dordogne during my annual single-mom summer trip. The intimate dining room overlooking an ancient mill was frigid with cheerless couples purportedly enjoying celebratory anniversary and birthday dinners of foie gras and duck confit, but each unhappier than the last. Kids are sponges, soaking up tidbits of relational distress. They are not above gawking at fighting couples, nor are they immune to the subtler cues of relational frigidity; a husband’s pontifications about a wine’s terroir- tedious and unappreciated. His…

Every Mom Needs Sexy Selfies

Before my divorce, sex was the last thing on my mind.  My body felt deflated after babies, and my sexuality became wrapped in the sags, dimples and aging flesh- without my firm 25 year old pre-baby body, was a still a sexual being? Did I deserve intimacy, and would anyone ever desire me again? I shoved these questions to the back of my psyche and soldiered on through mommyhood. Sex was irrelevant, anyway. Such a chore- it took too much mental energy to climb from the pit of my own self doubt. The forest of good sex is watered with trust…

Divorce Labor

When I walked into my neighborhood cafe, “Mamma Says” by the Shirelle’s was playing- so appropriate for what I needed to hear right then. Going through a divorce is a process, much like labor.  And, like labor, the postpartum (or, postnuptial?) period has its rough patches. Our divorce labor was hardest in the transition phase, right before my husband moved out.  Sweat, tears, and high emotions heralded the soon arrival of our new lives. As soon as his last box was on the moving truck, everyone felt a great sense of relief, much like a nauseous person feels when they…

Family Style Hell

Our most recent family adventure took us to Kings Canyon National Park for the girls February break (somewhat obnoxiously dubbed “Ski Week” by wealthy Silicon Valley parents with ski cabins). The lodge I chose caters to families, and I was the only single mom there for the 4 days.  It was great for people watching, as all meals are served Family Style at communal tables, and there is really just one central space where everyone gathers multiple times a day. In the 4 days I was there, I witnessed constant bickering, passive aggressive contempt, disrespect, and outright anger between couples….

Marriages, Like Start-Ups, Should Fail Fast

Most marriage books tell you to keep trying, work harder, hang in there, ride out the tough spots.  I’m here to tell you that is bullshit.  If you marriage is in trouble, fail fast. My husband and I are in the process of separating.  As emotionally exhausting as this process has been, we have both committed to working together.  We are coparenting, more or less on the same page, with the help of our mediator. By “Failing Fast” we got out of our toxic relationship in the nick of time.  What do I mean by this?  We ended things while…