Breaking The News

Not everyone knows yet that my husband and I have separated.

I don’t hide it. Clearly, I’m writing about it nearly every day on here, but equally so I don’t broadcast it. I haven’t written any ranty facebook updates. I haven’t spilled all to everyone I know, and I haven’t told all his friends about how much he has hurt me. I haven’t messaged the girl he was photographed cuddling up to and told her they deserve each other. I haven’t, and I wouldn’t.

Whilst I am glad I have taken a more calm approach to the whole issue, it does mean I seem to forever be breaking the news to people. I don’t keep track of who knows and who doesn’t know. I don’t know who he’s told and what he’s told them, and I am not hiding it. So if the subject comes up I talk about it, not in a “ARRRRRRGH!” way just in a conversational “this has happened” way.

“What? You broke up? When? How? What happened? Are you okay? Where is he? Does he see Rose? Are you getting divorced? Are you heartbroken? Is he seeing someone else? Are you seeing someone else? Who left who? What does your mum say? What does his mum say? How are you coping? How is Rose coping? What have you said to him? What has he said to you? Do you have a lawyer?”

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t resent these questions. Indeed, if someone didn’t know and just shrugged it off I would question whether they were truly my friend. No… I’d be sure they weren’t. But equally so, it’s hard work. Not answering, I have all the answers, it’s hard work for the emotions. Recapping the story, explaining how he left, how I feel, what is happening, it’s like clawing back over old wounds that are just about starting to heal. It is still raw, it is still painful, and I have to keep worrying at it which only makes it worse.

In some ways it’s good to talk about it though. When he first left neither of us publicly acknowledged it. For a couple of weeks after he’d gone we said nothing and we did nothing. Only those closest to us both knew it had happened. It was my choice to discuss it and let people know when it was right. I couldn’t cope with acting one way, but feeling another. I felt like every status update I did was a lie, every text I answered was fake.

“How are you guys doing?”

Is a common text from friends. How are we? We’re separated actually, my heart is broken, my child is having panic attacks, and I haven’t seen hide nor hair of my husband. How are you guys doing?

Only you don’t write that.

“Not bad, you?”

The more people know the easier it is. Once people know and you’ve had the conversation you don’t need to do it again. Simple updates of “Yeah, getting there” or “No he’s not seen Rose for a bit” or “Bit crap today. There’s always wine and chocolate” will suffice.

But it’s hard to get through to that stage. It feels like you’re letting everyone down. We were the couple people had faith in. We were the couple nobody doubted. We were surrounded by couples that have a big question mark hanging over their heads. Couples that family and friends doubt will make it… in some cases hope they don’t… and we were the ones nobody questioned.

A situation like this is hard for everyone involved. Everyone has something emotionally invested in a couple they love and support. The shock, the concern, that people feel is understandable. But it’s hard to handle. Everything about this situation is hard to handle.


About J.J. Barnes

Author of The Lilly Prospero Series Writer and Podcaster at Blogger at Rose And Mum And More Contributor to The Huffington Post
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3 Responses to Breaking The News

  1. Sorry to hear you’ve broken up, Your the one hurting, there is nothing wrong with shouting that from the rooftops do it! The more you keep busy the less you will think? Just do what ever is easier for you. Take care ….

  2. Tanya says:

    I can empathize with that feeling of telling the story so you don’t have to tell it again. Everyone seems to feel as though they have the right to your story but they haven’t always earned that. I promise it will get easier and you will heal.

  3. Hugs. If you feel like it, “When I Needed A Helping Hand” one story about breaking the news. I’ve also blogged about my kids breaking the news. It’s tough. I used to have a shorthand, “Well, any day I’m not on the 6 o’clock news, we’re doing okay” response. I had a friend who sent a Holiday letter with her cards telling everyone at once. At the time (when I was still married and I already knew the story anyway) I thought it was odd. Now I completely understand. It got the news out.

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