Divorced nomad

After eight years of marriage and thirteen years together, my wife Laurie and I are getting divorced. I am, for now, without a home.

Our marriage ending came as a shock. While I knew we were going through a rough patch, we’d been through plenty of hard times before. It never occurred to me that we wouldn’t make it through this one, too. It’s heartbreaking, and heavy, and confusing, and I’d be lying if I said it isn’t a relief. The burden of fighting for something that isn’t working is only fully apparent after it’s lifted.

Yes, we’ve been through hard times together, but we’ve shared a lot of joy. A lot of firsts: my first apartment, my first career job, the first time I slept in a bed with a significant other, my first mechanical bull, and the first time I saw The Babadook, was with her.

It’s strange to have your relationship with the person you are most comfortable with change in an instant. The circumstances upend; you might as well be strangers, save for a déjà vu of familiarity.

The last time I was single I was in my early twenties, and I’m thirty–seven now. I’ve been with Laurie for essentially my entire adult life. Almost every significant memory I have from my adulthood includes her. I had a moment where I felt the scope and weight of all that time re-contextualized, edited, altered, thrown into question. I had to sit down.

I’m finding out who I am again. Not the me in relationship to someone else, but the me in relationship to myself. This is pretty unexplored territory. In many ways, I’ve defined my worth in the context of fulfilling my duty to others, either my parents growing up, or Laurie as an adult. It’s both scary and exciting to know I’m the only one I need to ask. I’ve been finding myself—amidst the turmoil—capable. There is real power in knowing you can survive prolonged discomfort. That power is expert; I’m hurting, and I’m okay.

I’m paying a lot of attention. To myself, to others, to my environment. At least as much as I can. My therapist said I’m getting a PhD in myself. While I don’t think I’ve earned my degree, I’ve certainly put some serious work into my thesis.

Laurie has an apartment, but I do not. I was aggressively seeking one in New York City for a time, but as I discovered how much prices have increased, combined with uncertainty around the budget I’ll be working with, I decided to postpone that for a while, as we work through mediation.

Instead, I’ve been sleeping on friend’s couches in Brooklyn and Queens. I’m so grateful to everyone who has extended their hospitality to me. It’s made all the difference. Thank you.

It has been wonderful with connect to old friends, and meet new ones. That, I hope, will continue.

I’ll be traveling the country and staying with friends for as long as is socially and financially sensible, starting in mid June. I’d like to stay in each place a while, and get a feel for life there. See what it’s all about. Ponder. Maybe I’ll even get a bandana. In short, some real finding-yourself-horseshit, but the movement feels right. My job is fully remote, I suddenly have no other responsibilities tied to place; it’s a unique opportunity in the scope of a life, and I’m taking advantage of it. If you have any travel recommendations, let me know!

This is a weird time for me, one of big transitions. As painful as it is, I wish Laurie well, and hope she finds what she’s looking for. For myself, I don’t know what’s coming next, but I’ll be blogging about it.