I was watching Girlfriends Guide to Divorce and when Abby McCarthy stood at that podium and exclaimed, “Are we divorced yet?” I wanted to say yes, but I can’t.
The legality of my marriage bothers me the most about everything that has gone on with my ex. How is it that someone who changes their name and gender is still legally bound to me? I find it confounding and destructive to my mental state at times. It’s not that I focus on it but since my finances are tight, the idea of having to pay for a divorce really pisses me off.
I am unabashedly angry at the prospect. It’s not like I haven’t been through divorce before. My first divorce went off without a lot of fanfare. I signed the papers twice. My ex and I parted ways and I left all of our community property behind because, frankly, I didn’t give a shit anymore. All I wanted was my sanity. So I just let him have it all. This time, I wouldn’t get off that easily. This time around, we share huge debts and a daughter. All of this must be accounted for in any divorce proceedings.
And still I question, why must I divorce a person who legally isn’t the person I married? Why must I invest money divorcing the person who killed my husband? “Killed” may seem like a harsh word, but allow me to explain. My husband was a completely different person from the person who now occupies what used to be his body. There are a few changes for the better in this new individual. Maybe it’s because living an authentic life has been freeing, but the destruction left in her wake is overwhelming at times. When I look at her, I hate her. She resembles him but seems more like my husband’s sister. My connection to my husband is missing but I am supposed to proceed as if she is an extension of him. Or see her as him without his qualities? I really don’t know how to do that.
Instead, I often mourn the loss of my husband. I mourn the day I left him in front of our beautiful home. I miss our family. I miss his face, his voice. And while our marriage was anything but a fairytale, I mourn the loss of the ability to fall in love with him over and over again.
So why do I have to divorce a dead man? My husband no longer exists legally or physically. I feel like I should have gotten a death certificate instead of the reality that some day I will have to divorce
him her. Or shouldn’t they just grant me an annulment immediately after they issued her new identity?
I get it. There is nothing unique about divorce. All divorces are painful. All divorces are about the breakdown of the marriage. But how do I reconcile that with the fact that my divorce papers will have her name on them. I didn’t know her when I promised to love him until death do us part at that wedding chapel in Vegas. I was madly in love with my friend of five years. I never loved her. I never invested my life and my future in her. No, all of my devotion was his and he no longer exists.