After job hunting for several weeks on the west coast, we were offered teaching positions for both of us in Southern California at a university. My husband was hired as dance department chairman, and I was to teach dance part time. Everything seemed perfect, but it wasn’t. As our tenth wedding anniversary approached, my spouse revealed his unfaithfulness in the past and asked for my forgiveness. I had suspected something was not right for many years, but it was difficult to face the reality of what his disclosure meant to our future. Wanting to save our marriage and not divide our family, we decided to try a separation before considering a divorce.
Interestingly enough two of my cousins were also going through the same process of trying to save their marriages about this time for the same reasons. We each struggled with separations and reconciliations, broken promises, more marriage counseling then finally a divorce. My hope was always that given time, my spouse would see the error of his ways and we could rebuild our marriage after divorcing. But it’s difficult to restore broken trust plus mesh differing lifestyles and conflicting beliefs of marriage partners. We were headed in different directions, and we both felt we were right.
Trying to make our divorce as stress free for the family as possible, we agreed to a financial division of debts and assets, child custody and support issues. I was able to be my own lawyer in those days of California’s new “irreconcilable differences” mode of divorcing in 1975. My husband watched the children while I went to court alone. The next morning I headed back to Utah to establish a separate household with our three sons now ages five, six and nine.
As I look back on that difficult time from the advantage of 35 years later, I can see the tremendous growth I made as an individual taking back control of my life. Choosing to become a single parent I returned to my home state of Utah and looked forward to creating a less stressful life with my sons. I would come to realize the real victims of divorce are the children involved as their secure little world is completely changed. The husband and wife move on and heal, perhaps find new partners, but the children are full of confusing feelings and divided loyalties that they sometimes never resolve.