When Josh first told me he wanted a divorce, I immediately quit the job I had only been at for a day and, through sobs, told my parents I was coming home. They urged me not to drive through the middle of the night feeling the way I was. So I stayed in Champaign and Josh, having pity on the poor girl who couldn't even stand up because she was in such shock, made me eat something and stayed up watching Parks & Recreation with me all night.
Over the next few days leading up to Christmas I complied with all of Josh's wishes through a haze of disbelief; I stupidly helped him look for a cheap room to rent and he agreed to keep paying for me to live in our current apartment, we listed our second car on Craigslist because we could no longer afford it (with me being unemployed and all), and we talked about how we would divide up our belongings. I hardly remember anything that happened between the 17th and the 31st of December. I was too numb to process anything.
Somewhere during our time at home over Christmas break, Josh's dad convinced him to "stick it out" until the end of the summer and then reconsider. Josh agreed, solely to satisfy his father and myself, but later admitted he had no intention of staying past August 1st. He only admitted this after a few more sessions with Marriage Counselor #2, and when he did it was like being shot in the heart a second time. It took me a few days to shake the initial devastation, but I accepted my reality and negotiated with Josh - if he kept his promise to stay until the end of the summer, I wouldn't fight the divorce. I figured this would give me time to "transition" out of our marriage and mourn a little more gradually, taking a tiny fleck of the sting away.
He agreed to cooperate and we came up with a new game plan - we'd divide up all the tasks that needed to be done in order for us to divorce and complete a few of them each month leading up to the end of the summer. Between March and August, we'd take things slow. I didn't want a divorce. I still loved Josh. I wanted as much time with him as possible and I needed gradual emotional separation. Knowing myself, a sudden divorce and having Josh just disappear out of my life would have been more devastating. This game plan was a compromise - he'd get the divorce he wanted and I would get my time.
If it would have been a sudden divorce where he moved out the day after he told me he wanted out, I think I still would've been holding onto the shreds of hope that maybe we could've worked out. But I saw our marriage from a different perspective after Josh said he wanted a divorce; I realized what we were missing and what would never be between us. I took off my blinders and realized how much he had changed and how wrong we were for each other. Before, when I was fighting tooth and nail to save our marriage, I refused to see those things. Most days this transition was good for me, even if it kept Josh from the new life without me he so desperately wanted, but some days were so hard that it took everything in me not to strangle him...or myself.
Knowing that he was no longer the man I married was a double-edged sword - it stung because I missed the man he used to be, but it stung a tad less because he was now a man I would never consider marrying. Once I stopped fighting against the reality, I began to see a thousand reasons I didn't actually want to be married to Josh anymore. As painful as these realizations were, each one another punch to the gut, they were (and still are) a necessary evil in my journey towards a new life without him.
All I needed was time.