Dreams, Hopes and Different Kinds of Love
Getting divorced is not getting the get (divorce certificate), but it’s taking yourself and your surroundings on a magnificent journey, from anger and despair to better self-knowledge, to healing and forgiveness. This journey gives you a unique window into yourself, your kids, family, friends, love, past and future expectations, dreams and hopes.
The divorce journey starts with the history of marriage. Here’s a quick look: until the 18th century most people got married for social or economic reasons. Getting married for love was uncommon and matchmaking became the newest fad. Then the Haskalah and Enlightenment brought Romanticism — with this artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement in Europe, people started to want more from life. Romantics flourished, as did getting married for love. At the same time, divorce (whether legally or not) also increased.
When getting married you have so much hope that your love will stay forever and dreams for your joint future that you sometimes forget how much work love and relationships need. I’ve had so many conversations with many divorced friends who all believe that though there is no way to fix what is broken, you cannot give up on love and that there is always hope for a better future.
BUT Chapter B (relationships after marriage) is NOT Chapter A (first marriage)…
In Chapter A, each side arrives to the relationship with a carry-on suitcase, comprised of issues both parties can work on and probably overcome. In Chapter B, each side shleps in a huge suitcase. You find a variety of surprises. You can only imagine what kind of revelations there are in it (it’s actually very interesting…) and the most interesting thing is the kids!
Now you have so many dilemmas and you ask yourself so many questions, new questions — will you be able to find love again? Can you give trust? Where do you go out to meet people? How do you act around your ex? What is home? Is it your home, or your kids’ home? How do you describe your family?
And if you find a new partner, there are so many more questions — do you bring your new partner home? When do you let your kids see the new partner? When do you let your kids meet his kids? Do you bring him to meet your family? Do you go to his? If you do, when? What happens if your kids don’t like the new partner or don’t get along with his kids? The list goes on…
Once you have children, you and your ex have signed a contract to be connected for life. Even when you’re remarried and have moved on with your life you will always have to take into consideration the father or mother of your kids. Thinking you won’t see your ex and their whole mishpacha after the divorce is a fantasy. You will be a family for life. You won’t live in the same house, you won’t have the same household or share the same values, but you have kids and they need both parents, no matter how old they are. You will be meeting your in-laws for years to come at birthdays and births, and all other manner of graduations and simchas. So, no matter how much you’re angry, disappointed or grieving the loss of your love, relationship, dreams and hopes, you find space in your soul and heart to be open and respect the other side and even try to remember why you once loved him/her.
I’m no different. I’m hoping to start my Chapter B with as few mistakes as possible for my kids and myself. I always try to keep in mind the importance of love and family, even when the family is not two parents living together, but separately with the greatest love of all for the kids.
Perhaps that is a new kind of modern love to honor on Tu B’Av.
Tal Winbrom is the Wexner Senior Leaders (WSL) Program Manager in Israel. In her current position, she plays an active role in the design, planning and implementation of the program and manages the recruitment, selection and preparation process. In her previous role with the Foundation, she was the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program Manager. Tal graduated from the Open University with a Bachelor’s in History of the Jewish People and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Federmann School of Public Policy and Government at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Outside working hours, she volunteers in various social programs in her community. She lives in Jerusalem with her two children and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.