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Well friends, it's time I come clean about something that's happened in my life.

Really, it could be worse. But it's still not fun. My husband and I have decided to separate and plan on proceeding to divorce in about six months' time.

If I really face up to the facts of the situation, this has been coming about for a long time now. But, for whatever reason, neither of us was really ready to face it until recently.

As I've mentioned before, I quit my full-time job at the end of the year, and I've been working freelance since then. This is both because I was desparately unhappy at my job, and because I wanted to devote more of my time to my studies (I'm currently pursuing a professional certificate in Landscape Architecture at UCLA.)

For the last couple of years, I had been struggling with the fact that my career in publishing wasn't going anywhere and that I really needed to take a new career direction. But for a long time, I didn't quite know what that was. I considered going to a career counselor, but it turned out that through my own research and soul-searching I was able to serve as my own career counselor and finally settle on a new direction.

Although it's a career that will require considerable new training and a bunch of new skills, I haven't had a second's regret or doubt about this career change. [My only question was how I was going to pay for the necessary training. Well, for reasons that will become more clear during the week of May 24, the money side of the equation is no longer a problem. ]

But there was still something wrong. I *thought* that when I quit the job that was making me more miserable, and started working on something that would make me happy, and had more flexibility in my time, that my unhappy marriage would also improve. Turned out that the effect was somewhat the opposite.

It just became more and more clear all the time that our interests were widely divergent, that we didn't want to live the same kind of life, and that we were incapable of actually planning for a future together. After seven years of marriage you'd think that would have sunk in sooner. But I refuse to characterize the marriage as a 'mistake', and so does he.

Perhaps we could have been more astute about realizing that what we had was a love affair and not a marriage...but I also wouldn't trade the happy times for anything.

I realize how lucky we are. It seems (from totally unscientific anecdotal observations) that most separations/divorces are at least to some degree acrimonious. But once the decision was made that we needed to break it off, we found that we were able to get along very peacefully, and there are no major areas of disagreement to fight over.

No kids. No joint property apart from some consumer electronics and cheap IKEA furniture. No joint bank accounts, even. We have always kept our money completely separate and we both want to keep what's ours and not interfere with the other person's stuff.

(And yes, we are aware that California law does not regard our property the same way we do. But we know we can draw up a legal agreement that will break things down the way we want.)

I think we might even manage to stay friends, oddly enough. There is still love there, and mutual respect, even though it no longer takes the form of wanting a life together.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

I think the decision was reached around the middle of March. He started looking for his own apartment in April and officially moved out on May 1 (although most of his stuff is still here and he comes by often, to use the computer and pick up things.) I was suffering plenty of emotional trauma in the early days, and I'm sure it's not over yet, but I feel like I am adjusting reasonably well to his absence. After's not that different from how things were recently. He was rarely home.

I'm glad this is proceeding so peacefully, and I'm also glad that I have something to look forward to in my life does make it easier. If this had happened while I was still trapped in a dead-end, high-stress job, I shudder to think what my state of mind would have been. As it as, although I still feel pretty down at times, I also feel optimistic about the future. And I feel like my excuses are now gone - I have nobody but myself to answer to, and I know it's completely up to me to improve my life, now that I'm not waiting for some form of participation from my spouse that will never come.

The lesson, I guess, is that when you get your life unstuck in one area, all kinds of other, unexpected things also get unstuck....whether you want them to or not. Anyway, thanks for listening.


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When Life Gives You Lemons
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