The Other Word That Starts With D

Last night I had my first bad dream – ever – about Divorce. I’ve had dreams where Kamel wants to break up with me, or where I can’t find him and it becomes clear that he has, um, run away. (Ha, I actually just snorted out loud when I wrote that… we all know I would find him.) Anyways, it was awful.

I think when you’re approaching marriage there is this fear that Divorce is the big bad scary monster under the bed and it might sneak up on you. Like you could run into Divorce like a big brick wall if you’re not paying attention, it hides behind corners and jumps out behind garbage cans. Nobody wants it to happen to them, like cancer.

But it’s not really like that, is it? Even if a relationship ends because of infidelity there is something going on there in a deeper way. A break down at some point, someone lied about who they were, how they feel, and what they want – if it’s not to their partner, it’s to themselves. Sometimes it’s because life takes over and you stop making the other person a priority, but this takes a long time, it happens slowly, it creeps in. It doesn’t just show up on your door step like, “heeey! I just decided to stop by and ruin your life!”

In my dream Kamel had up and decided that he didn’t like me prancing around in my underpants and t-shirt anymore (something I do in real life constantly) and he was going to date my fictitious dream room mate instead. My panic thoughts included, “but! you took my name! you can’t reverse that!!” In real life, yes, but on a deeper level that means something to me. I also tried to convince him to slow down, let’s think about this, was he really sure this is what he wanted? He was sure. He was so sure, that he was also completely unemotional as my panic rose and rose until I woke up crying.

Now, even though I just said all of that stuff about your marriage not stumbling over Divorce on its way to the grocery store, does the whole “my spouse just up and doesn’t want me any more” actually happen? Is that a thing? Is there a possibility that without any other previous conversations, Kamel will wake up one day and decide he doesn’t like living with someone who enjoys a good bowl of cereal for dinner and listening to loud music in the car? (Me) Does that happen to people? Because I’m pretty sure, barring any unforeseen disasters, that I’m in this with thoughtfulness and compromise and teamwork. But now I’m giving Kamel side ways glances since dream him was obviously finicky.

22 thoughts on “The Other Word That Starts With D”

  1. Oh those bad dreams are the worse. And then you wake up and are sad/angry towards your partner because it felt so real you thought it was real. Just last night I had the strangest dream where Mark “sold” me to a boy, kind of like when Chuck trades Blair for the hotel. And I was angry at him (in the dream), but mostly hurt. It is so awful.
    On the D subject, I can’t imagine “just happening” I think it is a slow process, and that is why I believe in talking to each other a lot, going out, making time for each other.

  2. I think the thing that terrifies me so much is the idea that alex could have these thoughts, could think things are wrong, could be unhappy, but just wouldn’t say anything. and then one day, he’d wake up, and just be done. and i’d have been going about my life, not realizing that there was a fundamental problem, and be completely blindsided. and the scariest thing is, i think this actually happens to people who forget how to communicate, who let kids and jobs and bills distract them, and who stop checking in with each other on a daily basis.

    i hope i never lose that fear, just so i never forget to take care of my relationship.

  3. I hate hate hate those dreams. I had one so vivid and so terrible about Matt leaving me that I woke up, got in the shower, and cried my eyes out.. I walked out, towel wrapped around me, Matt asking what was wrong, and I just LOST IT into his arms. Blubbering mess from a nightmare? Yup, that’s me, haha. Worst dreams EVER.

  4. Aw. Those dreams are the worst. The last time I had one, I woke up crying and then spent the whole next day in a funk. Lindi has them a lot more often than me (probably about once a month) because she has all sorts of separation anxiety, and they’re always bad. Don’t you wish we could have a “remind yourself this is fake” switch for that kind of dream?

    Anyway, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. By all accounts, you two are in it for the long haul.

  5. I hate having dreams like that and letting them get to me in real life, haha.

    “A break down at some point, someone lied about who they were, how they feel, and what they want – if it’s not to their partner, it’s to themselves.”
    EXCELLENTLY put. My last relationship was the worst, and when it blew up I spent a lot of time and effort wondering what I had done wrong, til I realized HE had lied – both to me AND himself.

    I love that you’re able to take a dream and make a deep post from it. My dream posts are usually about Doritos.

  6. Gah! Those dreams SUCK! Ive woken up crying from dreaming that I caught the hubs cheating on me with friends, strangers, and just like your dream that he just decided he was done and leaving. Stupid, stupid dreams. But like Maris was saying, it keeps you on your toes to not lose that fear completely. I do actually have a friend whos husband just recently decided he didnt want to be a husband anymore, he wanted to live the bachelor life and be a douchebag. AND they have a 2 year old son! She said they hadnt had any problems, everything seemed so fine and ordinary as usual. Its been so hard seeing this poor girl so broken. But she is strong as heck and gets stronger everyday. But still, it scares the shit out of me to think that someone just do that…with a kid in the mix! She was just saying to me last night, “as much as you feel like you know everything about someone, they are still their own person”.

    1. “as much as you feel like you know everything about someone, they are still their own person”

      I hate to say it, but that is something I just learned/let myself realize recently. I think that’s the hardest thing about ANY kind of relationship – romantic, friendship, etc – and always something I need to keep in the back of my mind.

  7. This is kind of what happened with my parents. Maybe my mom should have seen it coming, but for whatever reason she didn’t. Then my best friend’s brother was left by his first wife while they were still newlyweds, because it turned out she wanted a wedding but not a marriage. I would say that the “blindsided” that my mom was is way more common that the kind my friend’s brother was.

    It’s weird, as the child of a horrible divorce, its the thing I was always most afraid of about getting married. Now that we ARE, I’m way more worried about death and don’t think about getting divorced at all. That was unexpected.

    1. I had a co-worker whose wife just left. Walked out the door after six months. I didn’t know their relationship intimately but I think it was a lack of a communication foundation.

      Relationships are hard and they take work. Lauren talks about it a lot here and it doesn’t stop being true. Communication is hard and takes work. I think the hardest part is remembering that your partner is your teammate. It’s the two of you working as a team. Sometimes it seems like C is working against my plans for perfection, but he’s got his own work/life/lack of sleep burden and we’re together in shouldering it all.

      1. you know what’s funny? In my dream you were the room mate kamel was leaving me for. But I felt that calling you out in the post would be weird…. HOME-WRECKER.

  8. hmm, the big D. Given that i had to go through a divorce I will tell its not something that you just smack run into. You do not wake up one morning and say Im done with this. Instead it seems like a series of moments/events that if you are not vigilant, it can eventually can turn into the big D. I saw mine coming and tried to fix it, unfortunately it did not work out.
    Some important things to keep in mind are honest communication as hard as it is sometimes you have to hear that yes-your snoring does bug me talk. Continue supporting and acknowledging each other contributions and self, sometimes you have to tell each other Thank you for making me a bowl of cereal for dinner. A little recognition goes a long way.
    As well as patience and sense of humor. Cause if you cant laugh at the ridiculous of life together-its going to make for a boring relationship.

  9. i think that happens. but- and this might sound like a jerk thing to say- i think it might require some obliviousness. people don’t decide overnight that they don’t like t-shirts and underpants prancing. you’d notice before.


    (also, my day-to-day attire consists of t-shirts and underpants. i don’t wear pants or bras unless there’s leaving-the-house involved.)

  10. I haven’t had a dream about divorce yet, but I have definitely had those dreams that seem so real and I wake up angry and hurt and even though he never said or did any of it in real life, it’s hard to shake the emotion. dreams! gosh!

    but yeah, divorce, it’s a scary beast. as Maris said, I hope I never forget to fear it.

  11. Jason always asks me why my unconscious’s version of him is such a douchebag (I have the scary divorce/affair dream every few months), heh. And I totally hear you on the “you don’t just stumble over/into divorce” thing. I remember thinking, when we had our first married fight, that everyone was wrong when they said married fighting is less scary than dating fighting because you know that no one’s going anywhere at the end of it. To me, that was MUCH scarier, because it meant that if in 50 years we were one of those couples who couldn’t stand each other, that would be something we’d done to ourselves. Definitely is incentive to work through conflicts!

  12. “does the whole “my spouse just up and doesn’t want me any more” actually happen? Is that a thing?”

    So, not sure if this will entirely answer your question or not, but it did make me think of a paragraph I read the other day in a divorce memoir (which, strangely, comforted me):

    “Nearly everyone who knows me has asked if there was a moment, a single moment, when my marriage died. Our culture views divorce with a mixture of fear and fascination, and people are curious about how it happens, how a couple who starts out like Ron and me–radiating happiness on the chapel steps–ends up embittered and angry, squared off in opposite corners and grabbing whatever marital possessions they can get their hands on. This question, ‘Was there a moment?’ doesn’t only spring from curiosity–it rings with the hope that if you could identify the crucial moment you could go back and fix it. You might be able to shove the fragile vessel that is a marriage back off the sandbar of disappointment and heartache and prevent its foundering.

    Perhaps. Perhaps for some marriages there is a moment, a moment when one discovers a spouse is having an affair, or when someone gets angry enough to hit a partner for the first time. I waited for such a defining moment for years. But for many of us who have been through divorce, this question is a bit like asking if there is a single moment when a cancer starts. One night in the middle of my marriage, in those years when I was unhappy but unable to change it, I heard a line in a play that made me ache with recognition. I don’t remember the play but I’ll never forget the words: ‘A drought doesn’t begin on a single day.’ The simple answer is that there wasn’t a moment. There wasn’t a moment that could be fixed, or that could even be understood apart from the million other moments of my marriage. I don’t remember when we stopped kissing, but at some point we did. And from that point on, nothing was ever the same.”

    -Breaking Apart: A Memoir of Divorce By Wendy Swallow

  13. I once dreamt that my husband didn’t divorce me, but did think it would be better if we lived in the same house as “friends.” He’d hang out in that room and I’d hang out in a different room and we’d pass each other like roommates. Needless to say, upon waking up, I was pissed at him, plus sad and depressed.

    I know that kind of thing could happen in real life…to someone, but I think it would be hard to just wake up and not care anymore. Instead, it would have to happen after someone refused to talk about any problems or ways to fix them…and then…just up and got out of the joint. To me it sounds like something I would have done with my 7th grade boyfriend…but maybe there’s more to it than I really understand.

  14. The surprise divorce I obsess over are the married couples with children and then a spouse comes out.


    I wonder if it will lessen in our generation. ..

  15. I think the D only strikes surprisingly on people who are either in denial or they are too wrapped up in themselves to notice the other person’s attitude toward the relationship changing. If Michael was creeping towards the idea of divorce or separation, I would know it waaaaay before and I would be like, “I know something is up and we need to hash this out. Big or small it doesn’t matter, let’s TALK.” We are constantly checking in with each other, and I think if we ever stop doing that, it would probably mean the beginning of the end. But, I’ve never been through it, so I don’t really know. But that’s what I’ve always assumed.

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