Kimberly from Long Beach, CA says, “Despite his drinking, I put so much time, love and energy into our 9-year marriage that I really wanted it to work out.”

For five years, Kimberly contemplated leaving her marriage, “because I felt that my spouse had checked out emotionally. He was drinking too much. Much too much. And while I knew that was a big problem, I knew that there was something deeper going on inside of him. The way it came out was through angry words. He made me feel bad about myself, as if nothing I did was good enough. Increasingly it became clear that nothing I did would make the marriage work.”

A year of counseling, family meetings, date nights, and mixing it up in bed were Kimberly’s last ditch efforts before the decision to divorce was made. “It was him who asked for a divorce — the weekend in August 2019 right before I started a PhD program that I worked hard to get into. Needless to say, that first semester was a little bumpy.”

Was she shocked when he asked for the divorce? “Yes! Because although I saw it coming — I find few people are never quite prepared when a life-changing decision actually happens. It’s like a long illness that ends in death. You know the patient is really sick, but dead? It’s tough to take.”

What made Kimberly want to keep the marriage going, despite the problems? “I put so much time, love and energy into our 9-year marriage that I really wanted it to work out for us. I cared about him deeply, and wanted to see if we could re-spark the passion we once felt. But by the time he asked for the divorce, I was exhausted — and he was over trying to rekindle it. We were officially divorced in August 2020, and I have to say that I am relieved.”

What was that year like between separation and divorce? “It was pretty painful at first,” admits Kimberly. “I felt like my world had crumbled. But each day, each week, each month that passed, I found I had more strength and was more capable than I had given myself credit for. I continue to rediscover passions I had put away because they weren’t something I could have done with my ex. I have to say — I am so much happier now!”

How is Kimberley’s spouse doing? “He’s doing well, too, I think. Since our daughters are young, 4 and 8, we still share custody and see each other often. He told me that he has spent a lot of time reflecting and soul searching. Both of us would probably never want to get back together. I know I wouldn’t. Our relationship truly is best as friends and co-parents — and providing a safe, solid foundation for our girls is essential to us both.”

How are their kids doing? “Mainly, they are ok. I think they would be happy if we were back together — but not how we were before because there were fights and hard feelings. They recognize we are happier living separately. The decision has been made. The fighting is finished.”

Would she divorce again? If so, would Kimberly do anything differently? “No. I think we learn something from every experience. We had to go through it the way we did. We are both doing much better in our lives, and I think our divorce helped us grow as individuals.”

Would she marry again? “I really don’t know about that. What I do know is that I definitely am not going to compromise and lose so much of myself if I do. Who knows what the future holds? That’s actually the exciting part.”

Kimberly’s advice for others: “When it comes to co-parenting, be the bigger person and let go of petty disagreements. It’s not worth the emotional toll nor the energy it saps from you to feel like you are in the right and he’s wrong. For my situation, I want us to both be happy for the sake of our daughters. I try hard to show empathy and support to the extent that is appropriate for two people no longer in a relationship.”

Resources that Kimberly recommends: “A great support network and many friends who had been through divorce before,” she says. “That has been my saving grace.”