A Million Questions

I think the hardest part about any grief process is the questions that come with it. Whether a circumstance like a death, a medical diagnosis, a tragedy, infidelity--it's oftentimes shrouded in questions. Did I say everything I should have to my loved one? Why didn't I follow-up on my lab results sooner? Would she have crashed if she had taken a different road home? The questions themselves are hard, but more so is the the constant barrage of them entering your conscience at any given time. Inner dialogue is powerful, and it's more overwhelming when it just swirls around.

I can still get caught up in reflecting on my ex-husband's infidelity and the million questions that surrounded it. My previous blog, "The Big Why," may have been my biggest question, but the reality was that it was engulfed by a million other little questions. 

My challenge? Get them out of my head by writing them down. 

My goal? Show other women that at least one other woman has the same questions. You are not alone. These are hard, they mattered at many different times, but they won't always hold all the weight they once did. Regardless of the answers, at some point, I needed to put these questions to bed. I saw that the answers didn't exist, they may not matter, or there is a logical answer that comes forth with time and reflection.

Another reason to share a post like this is to provide a bit of insight into the emotional turmoil of the process. While others' divorce journeys may not play out the exact same way as the path below, it's clear that it is not for the faint of heart and encompasses so many aspects of life. I can only thank those around me who were my sounding board and helped me sort through them--and still preserve some sanity.  For any person supporting another during a time of grief and loss, the "sampling" list of questions below illustrates the vast complexity of emotional, financial, social, spiritual, and environmental considerations that might be part of a loss process.

It's precisely why grief experts recommend that giving specific advice to a grieving individual is often not helpful, and sometimes, even harmful. Instead, a grounded listening ear is beneficial. From my own experience, it didn't mean that those around me were to be silent. I absolutely needed to talk through many of these issues with others. In fact, many times I sought empathy from others who had gone through a similar lived experience, and perspectives from various lenses.  I acknowledge there is a fine line between offering a new perspective to examine an issue, and dictating advice, but they do feel different. 

I don't think any one person could be an expert in all the issues of this particular journey below, or for many grief journeys. For me, it was important to have a therapist or counselor, a support group, and to lean on others who have may experienced various components of this journey.  I also did what research I could muster to make the wisest decisions. At the end of the day, getting through in the healthiest way I could mattered most, and I absolutely tried my best to do so.

  • Why didn't I know? How didn't I know?
  • Did I miss clues along the way?
  • What if I never found out? Would this have continued forever? 
  • Did he ever love me?
  • Did he ever love her? Did she/they love him? 
  • What wasn't I giving him? Did he ever try to tell me? 
  • Why would he look outside our relationship? What was he looking for, exactly?
  • All the details--where did it happen, what happened, how often was it happening, how did anyone protect themselves? Am I at risk?
  • What did I do to deserve this? Did I treat him poorly and didn't know it?
  • Did this get worse because we had a baby and my attention went elsewhere? Should we have had a baby so soon? 
  • How much of our finances were involved? 
  • What else don't I know about?
  • Are there other issues like alcohol abuse or gambling or drugs? Does he have a mental health issue? 
  • Did other people in my life know?
  • Did other people in his life know?
  • Do I tell people?
  • Has he told people?
  • Who do we tell?
  • What do we tell them, just some high level facts, or everything, or nothing? 
  • Did he previous partners know? Did he cheat on previous partners? Was it the same scenarios?
  • How could I not see the finances associated with this?
  • How will I figure out the history of the associated financials?
  • Are there accounts I don't know about?  
  • Will his job be affected? 
  • Did something happen in his childhood? Is he OK?
  • How long has this been going on?
  • What will we do now? 
  • What does my family think, what do my friends think?
  • What do his family and friends think?
  • Will people be mad at me? 
  • Will they hate him? Can we never be together?
  • Would my friends and family ever accept him if they knew? 
  • Is counseling/therapy worth my time, my money? Will he be genuine?
  • Will therapy help? Can we "fix" this?
  • How do we choose the right therapist?
  • Should I get my own therapist? 
  • Does he move out/do I move out?
  • Do we physically stay together? Is space better or is togetherness better?
  • Can we afford two places?
  • Can I mentally afford to stay together in one place? 
  • Is it better for my child to have both of us here?
  • Can I really continue to live with him and be healthy for my child?
  • Can I live here without him?
  • How will I get a job during this?
  • Do I need to return to work now, or should I wait?
  • Can I afford not to wait?
  • How far ahead should I be planning? 
  • How can I work and handle this at the same time? 
  • How will I find a daycare? How do you choose a daycare?
  • How much will that daycare be, can I afford it?
  • Am I planing for two incomes or one income?
  • Will the daycare I choose be compatible with a new job (that I don't have yet)? 
  • Is he still talking to other women? What if he is?
  • What if he is still cheating? How would I know?
  • Should I get an attorney?
  • What if he finds out that I got an attorney at this point? 
  • How do I choose the best attorney for me?
  • How will I know if the attorney is doing his/her best?
  • What if I get taken advantage of?
  • How will I ever afford an attorney? 
  • What are my options? Are there options before divorce? 
  • How much will this cost?
  • Can I afford it if this legal process takes a long time? 
  • Can we do this without an attorney? 
  • How long will this take? 
  • Will we end up in court? 
  • Will I need to move? 
  • Should I buy a house, should I rent? 
  • How could I afford a house? 
  • What is the custody process? Who is involved in that process?
  • How long will the custody process take? What if we disagree?
  • What are mediation processes like? Will people actually be neutral? 
  • How much energy do I have to fight or negotiate?
  • How will this affect our son into the future? 
  • Is my child going to be permanently harmed?
  • Will my child blame me? 
  • Will my child ever know the truth?
  • Should he know the truth? Will it matter to him as an adult? 
  • How do you go through the annulment process? Who will be involved? What do I need to get through it? 
  • How much will it cost? How long will it take? What will my family and friends think? 
  • How do we put together a parenting plan?
  • What is the best parenting time? How often will we change it?
  • What if he doesn't agree or hold to the parenting plan, then what do I do? 
  • Will he always lie to me? 
  • Can I ever trust him with my child? 
  • What if he starts dating or bringing women around my child? Will they be safe/a good example/healthy for him? What if someone tries to take my place? 
  • Will I ever be happy again?
  • What if I am, did I not ever love him?
  • What if I'm not? How will that affect my child? 
  • Will I always be hurt and angry?
  • What if I'm bitter forever?
  • What if I try and heal too quickly? Will this come out sideways in the future? 
  • Will I ever have a normal relationship after this?
  • Will I ever get married again?
  • Will I ever have more children? 
  • Will he ever be happy again? What if he is? What if he isn't? How will that affect my child? 
  • What happens next.....

Just to name a few. What were your questions?