And then it was over.

the-next-chapter-1-470x264It always bugged the crap out of me how imprecise our language is for the relationships that commonly exist today. There was never a good term for “guy you commit to and have kids with while never getting married.” So really, I shouldn’t be surprised that there’s no good term for that same relationship once it’s over.

Ex-boyfriend sounds trivial. Ex-husband has the proper gravitas, but it’s just not accurate.

I think I’ll have to stick with “ex.”


My blog was never my diary or my therapist, even as therapeutic as it can be. So this may be surprising to those who don’t know us. Really, it’s not surprising at all. I’d rather not elaborate too much; just to say that sometimes you simply hit an impenetrable wall and realize that all the effort, all the therapy, all the sheer force of will you can muster just isn’t enough to get through it. It would take a battering ram and a battalion of tanks when all you’ve got a is a disposable picnic spoon.

Sometimes you realize that as damn hard as it is, it is essential for the greater good of everyone involved to put an end to something that’s become dark and broken and sad. Only afterwards, I realized I was wrong about one thing: We weren’t ending anything that hadn’t already been over for a very long time.

Nate hasn’t lived with us for the past month. It’s strange to fall into habits like sleeping on only two pillows when you can have all four. It’s more strange to lie in bed alone, feeling far less lonely than I did a month ago with someone in the next room over. I’ll take that as a positive sign of more beginnings than endings.

We’re both hoping to do this as amicably as possible, whenever possible. We will always be in each other’s lives. The most important thing now is that our girls know they have two parents who love them more than anything in the entire world. They still have a family, just a different kind of family. They still have amazingly committed grandparents and cousins and uncles and aunts. They still have wonderful friends and loving teachers. They still have their flatulent cats. Maybe we can even be that couple you always hear about—but never believe—that somehow manage to show up at the ballet recital and actually sit together.

(My girls will read this one day. My greatest hope is that when they are much older, and they get to that paragraph, they will nod and smile with recognition about those recitals.)

Some things will get a lot easier now, and a whole lot won’t; I’m not stupid. But on the other hand, I can’t say there are regrets.

We created the most amazing children in the entire world–no offense to yours–and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It’s just that some couples are meant to be together; some couples are meant to be together, only not forever.

That’s how I’d like to see it.


161 thoughts on “And then it was over.”

  1. I was in one of those couples. And I am one of those parents who sit in the band concert together with her ex. And it is all good and our son is good and life is good. Separate is hard, but it can and will be good, and I see you already know that. Sending hugs and bucketsful of grit, because that you will need. xoxo

  2. Liz, I think it’s brave to recognize and accept that the discomfort of a failed marriage isn’t something you have to live with or endure. I wish you both the best in navigating the uncharted waters ahead; your confidence that you’re doing what’s right will see you through, as well as those little girls in the center. Hugs.

  3. I can only imagine how hard this post was to write, since you do have a distinct degree of separation between your site and your life, but I’m glad you got it out.

    I’m sorry that you’ll all be going through the hard parts of this, but I’m happy for you that you’re able to unshackle yourself from something that was no longer making you happy.

    And, hell, if there’s anyone in the world who could do this and make it look easy, it’s you.

  4. It sucks that it got to this place but I hope it is happier for everyone here on out. Thank you for sharing. I ho

  5. I’m a child of divorce and was stepdaughter to three different people in my parents’ lives. I saw more endings than I saw joy.

    I think this is why I never wanted to get married. Neither did my sister. We didn’t want to sit around and worry when something was going to end. As you can see, we’re both optimists.

    1. I can attest to the fact that marriage–or lack of it–doesn’t guarantee joy. Marriage is a legal contract. It’s what you do with the relationship that matters.

  6. I’m so sorry that life led to this. It’s never easy. But you’re right and smart. I always sat with my ex so that my kids didn’t have to search the bleachers or the audience for parents in two places. That first smile of recognition and pride from them to you is all that matters. I wish you patience in the coming days and months. xo

  7. “And then it was over” is such a short sentence. And yet as soon as I saw it, with out really knowing you well or Nate at all, I knew what it meant. So much pain and sadness behind getting to that sentence. But also it sounds like some peace is emerging, just by being able to type the words. Blessings to you all as you navigate what’s next.

  8. Sorry, Liz.

    I’m a relatively new reader and though I’ve consumed an unhealthy amount of your archives over the past month, I realize I don’t really know you — but I feel like I want to say something. So, here’s to “more beginnings than endings”. Good Luck to all 4 of you.

  9. Liz – sending you best wishes. Saying sorry to hear the news is never a good statement because I remember my mom was much happier being separated from my dad. It took a few years to get over the anger and for them to both find a new life but now they’re very friendly. We have tons of holidays still all together with new spouses. Most important is the kids. The re-enforcement that this was because of them or by them is the most important thing. We’re all screwed up in life but I try to believe I’m a little less screwed up because of my parents because I saw a kid therapist close to two years after my parents separation.

  10. {hugs}
    My ex & I are one of those couples that sit together at baseball games & other events. Hell, teachers & coaches often can’t tell we’re divorced because we get along better than some together couples. But, it took time & a lot of work to get there. I have no doubt you & Nate can do it.
    Sending you lots of love.

  11. Sending you hugs and wishing you the best. I hope you are able to get those shared ballet recitals. As someone on the other side it can happen.

  12. Hi Liz,

    So sorry and Congrats. “We weren’t ending anything that hadn’t already been over for a very long time” was an amazingly explanatory line and personally, I feel sometimes when people stay together for the kids just models an imperfect example for them to follow. Regardless, I wish you only great things and sending you XOXO. Rock on.

  13. Definitely thinking of you and your family. Yours is the third news of this sort I’ve received in the last 24 hours. Such a wacky world we live in, and yet I’m glad that it is possible to move on (however difficult!) rather than being miserable forever in a relationship that isn’t working.

    Best wishes to all of you as you make this new situation work the best for everyone involved. Much love!

  14. I’m so sorry. My husband of 23 years and I are planning our own eventual-hopefully-amicable separation as well, and it’s so incredibly hard and sad, even though it’s absolutely necessary and right. I admire your integrity and hope to have as much myself when the time comes. Best to you all.

  15. Lots of love and hugs from your Boston cousins (and biggest fans).
    You are so courageous and of course the best mom ever! Love you all. XO

  16. Oh, Liz. I’m sorry. I know you guys gave this every effort and are making the best choices for your family. But it is still sad.

  17. I’m here anytime you need a shoulder or an ear. I know this can’t be an easy time. But I do I know many people who show up to their children’s events and sit together. xo

  18. I’m so sorry this happened, but so glad you’ve found the right way forward. I have zero doubt that you and Nate will do right by your girls.

    Your last line is perfect. Good luck in this next chapter.

  19. I’m always glad for the end of dark, broken, sad chapters. Thanks for letting us know, Liz, so I can send hope for the light and joy that I know for sure is on its way (and in those two beautiful faces you created.) Huge hug northward, sent super fast on Acela, even. xoxo.

  20. Oh honey, so sorry about how hard I know from experience these past many months have been for you, leading up to this decision. I quit blogging when I got divorced because I was too sad to keep it going and be funny. Miss it now. Please know that your girls will be fine and you are doing the best thing for them, because children should grow up in a house where the parents aren’t just roommates. We divorced when my son was 4 and it was so so hard. But I enjoyed my time as a single mom, and I am remarried now and so so so happy. My son now has two households, neither of which is loveless. he has one household with Daddy where he has all of his daddy’s attention when he’s there, and then he has another household, mine, where he sees his mom and stepdad totally in love, cooking together, playing together, laughing and being easy with each other….now he has a model for how relationships should be that he can emulate–and not settle for something else–when he gets older. This will get easier for you and for Nate and for the girls. Best of luck in navigating all the icky stuff that goes with it. It’s worth the cost.

  21. When I saw that headline I was hoping it didn’t mean this … but my thoughts are with you and I hope there is much peace and happiness ahead for the whole fam. Thinking of you.

  22. As one who is coming upon the tail end of a separation, I can say that I understand the relief you are feeling on top of everything else. Sometimes just finally knowing the direction of your next step is all we need. I wish you both the best (I know that may sound odd as a wish in this situation, but I believe the best is yet to come). Ballet recitals are awesome when everyone simply needs to worry about what’s going on on the stage.

    1. I couldn’t possibly come up with anything wiser or more wonderful than the last line of Jim’s comment, so I’ll just endorse it with an imagined hug to you all, and very real wishes for happiness ahead.

  23. I am so glad and grateful that our families spent time together in December. We (R & I) are sending you and Nate our love and hopes for the best path ahead, wherever that might lead each of you. Your two beautiful daughters ARE surrounded by love, and you’re surrounded by so many friends who love you and are ready to support you. xoxo

  24. your honesty is brave and refreshing. my thoughts are with you and the girls. xoxo

  25. I’ve been staring at my tablet trying to find just the right words to say, especially at such a difficult time as this, but you’ve expressed yourself with such grace and honesty and, well, I can’t help but feel as if you and your girls are going to be just fine = longest sentence, ever. (((Hugs)))

  26. I’m so sorry, Liz. I know there are no “right” words to say but my thoughts are with you and your family. Your girls are incredibly lucky to have such wonderful parents.

  27. Liz, as someone who always offers her support and encouragement so unselfishly to others, I can only hope & expect that you’ll get it back in spades during this time. You’ll certainly have it from us. Our thoughts are with you guys.

  28. Wishing you the very best. My marriage ended last year – and you’re dead on about it being *less* lonely afterward.

    Also, the kind of couple you’re talking about does exist – my aunt and uncle are just that (to the point that, even though they got divorced years ago, it doesn’t feel right to call him my ex-uncle or former uncle). Definitely doable in the long term.

    Hang in there, and know that you’re not alone on that path.

  29. As someone living in that muddle of “Is it over?”, “I think it’s over?”, “Are we ending this?”, I thank you for your honest post. I wish you happiness in your journey forward.

  30. I seriously wish all of you all the strength and grace you need to move into your family’s next incarnation.

  31. I started my blog when I was going through my divorce over five years ago. It’s amazing how much has changed since then. We are the parents who sit together at school events and work together to raise our son the best we know how.

    You didn’t ask for advice but if I can offer any, try to remember – in the toughest of times – that Nate gave you two of the best gifts you could ever hope for. Being grateful for him in that sense will hopefully help you get the challenging times when you don’t agree (and we all know couples don’t agree on how to parent, whether they live together or not).


  32. Doing the right thing: Liz: as a mom who divorced when my kids were 6 and 8, I can tell you it was the best thing I ever did for my kids. They got to take the best from each of us. My kids are 30 and 32 now and I can say happy and totally look back and know it was the right thing.
    I still owe you a steak Lets make a plan

  33. Oh Liz, I’m so sorry to hear this. I mean, I am glad for you in that it sounds like this was the right decision for your family. But still, I am so sorry that it had to be this way. Thinking of you and your lovely girls as you start this new part of your lives.

  34. Sorry to hear, but glad you are trying to keep it friendly. For the kids, friendly is so important. But, as a kid of divorced parents, just know that Friendly and Civil are not the same. Civil sucks for the kids.

    Wishing you all the best

  35. I’m sad and sorry and relieved and happy for you. I like you very much, lady, and wish you years of brilliant happiness and rich experience with those you love in a multitude of complicated ways.

  36. Thank you for sharing something so personal and real with us, your readers. Wishing you, your girls, and Nate strength and grace making all of these transitions. And, in the moments that doesn’t work, a bottle of wine for you!

  37. Failed relationship, hell no! Success is knowing when to move on, quitting while you are ahead, then you have more wonderful memories than bitter ones to look back on. I admire you for having the clarity and courage for making this decision.

  38. I’m kind of private, too, despite the fact that I have a blog, so when I separated from my ex-husband 4 years ago, it was surprising to a lot of people. But I know what it’s like to be on the inside of a relationship that is no longer working, and the many conflicting feelings that result in the realization that it is actually over. Hugs to you. As others have said, it will get easier. And better.

  39. Best wishes on your new chapter. You two made a good choice to separate once you were sure there was nothing left in your relationship. It is a million times better to raise children in two happy, stable homes than one miserable mess. I grew up wishing my parents would split up and it created many more bad memories than good.
    Take care of yourself and love on those girls.

  40. Through all the STUFF., I hope you’re able to find a smile on your face at least once a day and hold your children, knowing that you are doing the best you can. That’s all you can ask of yourself.

  41. Liz, I feel for all you and the girls have been going through in the last months. Coming to this decision is hard but if it is right for you, it is right for your family. We are 2 moms, my ex and I split when our son was 3 years old. We made a pact that decisions we made or communications we had would take our son into consideration first. With that in mind, we have been able to communicate about him thoughtfully, share time with him amicably (mostly) and attend school functions together. We are an adopted family so we spend our family day doing something with just the 3 of us, share a hug on Mother’s Day (thankful for each other bringing this family together). Like any relationship, it takes some work, is not always easy but we love our kid so it’s worth it.
    I hope all the stories written in these comments let you know you are not alone. Things work out and even get better. Best wishes for you and the girls.

  42. Liz, just sending you warm thoughts and love. Your girls are blessed to have parents who know when it is time to transition to a new form of family.

  43. Aww Liz – I’m so sorry to hear about this. I know I don’t know you •that* well – we are, after all, mostly just co-workers and social media buddies – but I just wanted to chime in and say that it’ll be okay.

    And… I’ll offer up the term “baby daddy” for your consideration… true, it can have some negative connotations, but it really does sum things up nicely. Maybe it’s one of those terms we can co-opt and make it sound nice. Alternatively, in Guyana (where I’m from), people say “child-father” without batting an eye.

  44. Liz, if you guys have half the strength and integrity your post revealed I’m sure the best is yet to come.
    And that’s all I can wish for!

  45. Kudos to you for keeping marriage and parenting separate. And for celebrating the gift that is your girls. In a perfect world, we all honor that gift and do what is best for our kids. BTW, I petitioned Facebook to ad “co-parent” to the family relationship descriptions. In the meantime, my “Ex” and daughter’s Dad is…”brother”. <3

  46. I’m really bad at this so just know I love you and am hoping the best for all of you moving forward.

  47. Oh, Liz. I get it. You know I do. Some parts will be so much easier than you thought they’d be. Some will be far harder. I’m here for you.


    1. By the way, I don’t know that I ever told you this, but yours was the first blog I ever read. It’s still one of my favs, though I read plenty now. I still think of you as my ‘gateway’ drug. 🙂

      Not that this has to do with anything you posted, but I figured I’d tell you. 🙂

  48. I am so sorry, dear Liz, for this ultimate AFOG*.

    Molly’s Dad and I continue to be excellent co-parents. She’s in college, as you know from my terrible, boastful Facebook updates. Molly can now tell me that our divorce and subsequent co-parenting arrangement was something she actually bragged about (boastfulness runs big on my side of the family) to her friends whose parents were in constant battle. Why her bio-dad and I are not writing a book about the success of co-parenting is another one of my many character failings. It’s just as well, this could very well be your book.

    Think about that, my modern day Anna Quindlen,

    You’re the best, Love, GraceD

  49. Oh Liz. What can I say that will add to all these many wise and wonderful comments? Sending you love and hugs and hopes that this change (even though it’s so hard right now) will set you up for many years of happiness to come.

  50. Liz

    I am so amazed at your bravery. That fact that you shared this with your readers in this way can do nothing but good. Most of us have had to wrestle with this idea at some point, weather it came to pass or festered or if the situation somehow improved. I know a lot of women look up to you and it feels better to know that nobody’s perfect. It’s may be even more valuable for your girls to have gone through this and see that people can make good from what seems at first devastating. It will give them the strength to make good decisions in the future, knowing that they can weather the storm and see the sunshine once again, and even brighter.

    I am one of those people that sits in between my ex-husband and “guy that I live with and am committed to and have children with and who is also an editor at Union Editorial LOL”, at events for all of our children. I also sit with my exhusbands ex girlfriend and their two year old little girl, neither of whom speak English, at grade school musicals. My kids, my ex’s kids, Nico’s kids, Nico’s ex…. we don’t spend every holiday together, but we do all congregate happily at our shared family’s blessed events. I know that I always feel proud when my son’s friends mom’s see me holding my ex’s baby and chatting in Italian with his girlfriend.

    “OMG, did you know she was coming???”
    “Yes,” I say “I invited her.”

    It’s very common in France. My girlfriend who is from Paris told me that her mother and father lived with her father’s ex wife for years when they first got married. Anyway, It’s totally doable.

    Much love to you and your girls and Nate and flatulent cats (ew)


  51. Liz, your beautiful honest words are a testament to all that you brought to this relationship. Sending love for the next chapter and all the blossoms to come.

  52. So Sorry to hear – but I see that dance recital and lots of happiness in your future. Big hugs to you as you enter your next chapter.

  53. I am not at this instant equipped to appropriately react or offer the friendship or kindness I wish to (because I’m traveling in a foreign land) but let me at least offer my warmest thoughts, my undying support, and when I return a shoulder, ear, or whatever you need. I have the utmost faith in your family in whatever form it takes moving forward, and hope you both are embarking on a journey that will lead to happiness.

  54. I think it is sad when a relationship like the one I read about here ends. But that being said, you of course know what is best for you, and your family and your life and I see that you are looking forward to the next chapter and that is good. Much love to you and your girls as it begins…

  55. I am so sorry. I know how difficult this post must have been to write. Wishing you all the best. x

  56. Just wanted to say that it is possible – my parents are that couple. Sat together at gymnastic meets, graduations, weddings. We’ve had thanksgiving all together. No tension or stress. And it didn’t make me long to realize my parents were better apart. Your girls will be ok.

  57. Day-um, Liz. These last two posts were a 1-2 punch. So much life happening, real life, tough life, grown-up-adult-life type life.

    Know how much love surrounds you and your family as you navigate whatever’s ahead for all of you.


  58. I’m sure it’s not easy at all, but you’ve got such a great community behind you, rallying. Hang in there, and all the best.

  59. I can’t add anything except to say that your last line resonates on so many levels”some couples are meant to be together, only not forever.” I think it takes SO much courage to admit when something simply can’t be fixed and to make the decision to say goodbye. I also think that one day your daughters will read this and think- our parents gave it their best and they tried and we are so lucky they did. And even if their relationship couldn’t go the distance- it is because of them that we are here.

  60. Hi Liz,

    As a longtime reader, I am so sorry to hear your news. I admire the honesty, maturity and courage you have shown in this post. And I mean this sincerely…you deserve the best. You are an amazing person, and you and your girls will find your way through this.


  61. You can and it will be just the way you’ve described. My ex and I are so much better as c0-parents then we ever were as a couple and it is wonderful for our child. It will be for your children too.

  62. Only hugs for you, my friend. It seems wrong to say this post was beautiful, but the way you expressed yourself sure was. xoxo

  63. I’m with Megan. I’m sad for the hard stuff you’ve been going through. I’m happy because being by yourself is less lonely than being in a relationship that’s beyond repair.
    You’re strong, you’re fabulous and I’m glad it ended before it took too much of you down with it.

  64. I hope your next chapter is beautiful. I am sorry this one did not end the way you first planned.

    As far as the “that couple you always hear about—but never believe” plan goes, if anyone can pull off the pleasantly uncommon, it’s you.

  65. Just wanted to chime in and say that I support you. It really is a new chapter, one that you will write with your usual wit, charm and panache. Love to you and your fab family, in whatever form it takes next.

  66. Wishing all the best for your family, whatever size or shape or form it may take. I am certain your girls will feel nothing but cherished by all the wonderful people in their lives.

  67. This post has been stuck in my mind all day. Sending you all wishes for peace at last. My parents stayed together for us children and it was truly awful. When the divorce finally came the first words out of my mouth to my mother were “Thank God”. The years of anger and wretchedness have left us a family divided – it is not pretty. I will always wonder if it could have been different if they hadn’t hung on “for the children”.

    Bless you both for wanting something better than that for your children. For having the courage to seek it.

    I hope that’s all ok to say – I know you’re not seeking our guidance or anything here. But your words really did stay with me all day. Ending a bad thing takes courage. I’ve been through a divorce of my own – that final realization that it really is over is just damn hard no matter how you go about it.

  68. Sending you love, love, love. I know you’ll land on your feet because that’s the kind of amazing woman you are, but just in case you need to hear it…”You’ll be fine. You’ll be brilliant. You always are.”

  69. It sounds like the best thing you can do for your family. They are young, they will understand more later than you realize now. It will get easier and you will all come out better for it.

  70. I am so very sorry. I know you will find a way to make it work and there will be parts of your life in upcoming chapters that will be bright and positive because of the new direction you are taking, but that doesn’t make much of what you are going through now any less hard. Thinking of you and your amazing children. Thank you for trusting us with this painful part of your story.

    (And I’m not sure if this would prove helpful to you at all, but a friend of mine writes a remarkable blog called ‘Irretrievably Broken’ and several people I know who have gone through divorce have found it easy to relate to and insightful. It may be worth digging through the archives for some useful words. )

  71. I’m very sorry to hear all that you have been through in the last few weeks. Sending you strength and love and wishing you have happier days ahead.

  72. Liz, I’m sorry to hear this. Wishing you all the best – more wonderful and beautiful times with your girls and family. Sending virtual lembas and other sustaining things.

  73. No brilliance, just sending love and support, fwiw. I’m sure that was so hard. I’m also sure broken is harder. I’m wishing your family happiness, and a whole lot more easy-ness. Use all four pillows if you can.

  74. During times like these, a wise man would often say things along the lines of, “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out,” and we would understand right then and there that all was going to be okay…

  75. You used a period in your title.
    It takes strength, resolve and love to write what you did and put a period to it. I can’t imagine the pain to get to this moment of love, because I do believe this is about the real love of knowing that not being together is what’s best for both..and eventually for the family, no matter the shape it takes.
    Always an inspiration, Liz.

  76. I wish for your girls (and for you) that this be as easy a transition as possible. I grew up watching my parents be absolutely miserable with (and to) one another, and always secretly wondered why they didn’t just…stop. As odd as this may sound, I was so happy when they decided to end their marriage, and they both became MUCH better parents once they did. Love and light to you all…

  77. Oh, sweetheart. I want to buy you a cupcake and cuddle you into my bosom and tell you it’s all going to be OK.

    My three-year anniversary of Single Mommahood is approaching. There have been some really, really tough times (including complete financial devastation — hopefully you can sidestep that one), but even with that, I’m still so much happier. Living a lie takes a huge amount of energy. It’s nice to be able to breathe out again.

    A friend of mine whose parents divorced always says this to me: It’s better to come from a broken home than to live in one. (I think she’s quoting Dr. Phil.) I grew up in a home where my parents didn’t like each other very much — and now, not only am I divorced, but so are both of my siblings. I’d like to show my kids something better. I don’t know if I’ll get married again or not (which is a topic I’m kicking around on my blog right now in a very silly way), but either way, I hope my kids will see a mom who is happy and fulfilled — and not walking around with a clenched jaw and shoulders near her ears from all the tension.

    The ex and I sit together at school functions. Before the holidays we even went to the movies together, with the kids and his girlfriend and her son. People think that’s sort of wonderful. It wasn’t. It was awkward as fuck. But hey, I’ll take awkward over all-out raging war any day.

    One thing that helped me was knowing that other people had walked through this and survived. With that in mind, I’m going to give you a trio of blog posts I send to all my friends who have gone through this after me. (It’s all the stuff I would tell you while you were eating your cupcake if we knew each other in person.)

    The D-word. Yeah, that one

    10 Guidelines for a peaceful divorce

    Holy crap! I can date? How do I do that??

    Also, I can’t help but remember that all of this was going on while your mom had her health scare … that’s a huge load. Thankfully, your mom is OK. You will be too.

    Hugs from afar.

  78. You are a constant source of inspiration to so many women, and I know you’ll navigate this with your customary brand of grace and class. My parents split up when I was small, and I remember being awash with relief when all of that tension was gone. Hugs to you all.

  79. So sorry to hear this, you (both) must have had a hard time getting to this point. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  80. This makes my heart sad…because I know these emotions all too well. And it’s hard…and so much easier all at the same time. I, too, say that we were most certainly meant to be together, just look at our children…we just weren’t meant to stay together.
    If it offers you any hope, I sat next to my ex-husband at my son’s band concert on Thursday. I saved a seat for him, he brought a water for me. We laughed at our son…and commiserated over the requirements headed our way for HIGH SCHOOL marching band.
    Anyways…hugs. I’m so sorry.

  81. I am not a big poster or community member here, but I verry much enjoy your writing. Of all the mom blogs I’ve tested, yours has the greatest longetivty for me.

    Here’s to your happiness building some longetivity too! Hang in there. We’re behind you.

  82. About a year ago, there was an article written in our local county magazine called, “Happily Divorced.” It profiled couples who were once together, and now that they were divorced, were so much happier, both when they were together with their children, as well as when they were apart. You sound like one of those couples. You also sound like you are handling this with maturity and grace. Your children will pick up on that, which is most important. Good luck and I’m happy for you that you’ve found peace with this new phase.

  83. I’m so sorry. It’s the hardest thing in the world to go through the process of grieving and accepting the loss of something so huge. If you both grieve the loss of your relationship but keep in focus the shared children you’ve created, I’d say there’s a good chance that someday you may be sitting together in the audience of the recital or sports games. I wish you the best in the coming months…

  84. I’m so very sorry, Liz. My sincere hopes for a transition to a new normal that is peaceful, calm, and full of love.

  85. Oh, Liz. Such a poignant post. My heart goes out to you and your family. Wishing you better times ahead…

  86. Oh Liz, I’m so sorry to read this, but you sound so strong and I know that you and your girls will get through this intact, whole, and as awesome as ever, or awesome-r. Big hugs to all of you.

  87. You are so strong, and a wonderful mother. And brave. And I am envious of your courage. Hugs to you… it won’t be a walk in the park but I know you’ll be just fine. xoxo

  88. Hugs to you, Liz. It hurts my heart to think you’ve been unhappy for so long, but I’m glad you’re on the way to happiness again.

  89. Crocodile tears here… As someone who has been there (my parents) this struck me pretty deeply.

    Just sending you all love and so much of it. I hope this is a beautiful beginning for you. Your girls are so lucky to have such wonderful parents no matter what they call each other.

  90. No matter how difficult the topic, you always manage to be so thoughtful and thought provoking with your writing, and I enjoy it very much. I am so sorry you are going through such a tough transition, but hope things get easier with each passing day.

  91. With you in spirit and hoping this transition brings you healing, peace, laughter, calm, a happy worn spot in the center of the bed — whatever it is you need most in this moment. xo

  92. I was sorry to read this, Liz, but I know you will figure it out. It sounds to me like you’ve got the most important things you need to move forward, including a committed father out of your ex. Sending you hugs from CA.

  93. Happy and healthy being apart, wins over dark cloud resentment and waning respect being together any day. Better for you, better for him and better for them. I believe we have many, many stages in our lifetime and it’s just time for you to start a new one. Good luck to you, my friend.

  94. You’re always so fucking cogent.

    And that’s not to say you don’t feel, because I feel the hell out of the way you write. I’m moved by so many of your pieces. Your emotion is just so clearly stated, with such care, that you I feel like I experience the ineffable when you put letters next to each other.

    You’re such a great writer and thinker and person. I’m looking forward to the next chapters in your life because the writer in me has a feeling your story is going to be something to behold.

  95. whoaa!
    that is what I said as I read this.
    may I add I wish you, your gorgeous girls and Nate much love and luck as you all work through this next chapter, or as I would call it in my world, your next adventure. Take care of all of you.

  96. I’m very sad for you and Nate, and it’s not because of the end of the relationship but because of what must have happened before. I have been through my share of marital or quasi-marital argument and there is nothing that so saps my inner strength and self-love. I have every hope that the future will be full of the sort of memories you want your children to remember; maybe not the way you imagined them when you were a child, but beautiful in their own right.

    I’m glad you are able to write about this, and I’m glad you don’t feel quite so alone. You’re not. You have [waves hands] all this, and then some more. My thoughts are with you.

  97. Oh Liz, I think you know how I feel about all of this and I am here for you — whatever you need, just say the word. xoxoxo

  98. Knowing you both as I do, I’m pleasantly surprised to feel true optimism for how your relationship with Nate will evolve after this. Happiness and co-functionality are a ways off, but they’re destined.

    Wishing the best for all four of you as you grope for the new normal.

  99. Liz,
    There is nothing easy about the end of a relationship. Love to you and your family.

    My parents are the ones who are at the recitals (now of the grandkids) together. My mom even took my dad and stepmom on a family vacation with all of us kids. It can happen.


  100. lots of love to you as you move through this and into whatever happy, sad, exciting, daunting, scary and exhilarating thing is next (and next after that, and so on). you seem to move through it all with honesty, bravery and grace, which is a pretty big fucking part of it, if you ask me. but then again, i’m someone i hope you’ll call when you need a sloppy, drunk moment. (i am very nearby, you know).

  101. So sorry! Any kind of ending is hard. But as this door closes another opens. And just think, now you can watch all those RH shows of any city without somebody rolling their eyes at you.

  102. You are all going to get where you need to be and along the way, there will never be any doubt that it started with love and that it progressed with love and that when it changed, there was still love enough to wrap around those girls.

  103. Liz,

    My parents got divorced when I was in high school. A bad relationship for a long time. In my case, my father remained distant, emotionally and geographically. My Mom remarried and lived happily ever since, despite having lost her second husband a few years ago.

    Years after he left, post a stint in federal prison, my Dad came back around again. Tried to make up for lost time. Joined family get togethers. Became an OK grandfather and settle downs with another woman, 20 years younger, before he died a few years ago.

    Last week his second (or third) and my Mom, a good 25 years apart in age, traveled to Florida together. Kelnar, the young one, pushing my Mom, 83, through airports in a wheelchair, off to see my niece their granddaughter (?) on her 21st birthday.

    Not that this has anything to do with you, your kids, or Nate, other than life is, apparently, filled with all kinds of twists and turns, ups and downs.

    We see it with our mates, our kids, our parents, our friends.

    Hope you are OK. Courageous of you to share so publicly.

    May it become a story with a happy ending.

  104. Perhaps this will give you hope about those recitals: my aunt and her ex were married 20+ years and have two grown sons. She’s now remarried, and she and her new husband and her ex-husband are all on the best of terms. When their younger son went to Afghanistan, they all rode together to see him off, and when he came home, they all went together to welcome him. They sat at the boys’ weddings together, they came to see new grandbabies together, and have stayed in each others’ homes for holidays. It’s a little weird to the rest of us, but it’s so lovely for their sons and their grandchildren. I hope that you and Nate can also weird out your relatives by how well you continue to co-parent.

  105. That was a nice blog. For those parents in a nice and cozy situation I applaud that you guys can sit together at a recital. Alas, some relationships are not as Hollywood “cut and dry” as your blog suggests. To the parents who have to deal with utter foolishness, absent parents, abandonment, and deadbeats, how would you suggest that the caregiver “get over the negative” to create a loving and supportive single head household?

  106. I wish you all so much happiness. It can happen- that mythical not-together parental relationship. My parents made it happen. Mine split when I was 11, but that wasn’t the end of family holidays, it wasn’t the beginning of arguments over alone time with us. I know it took tremendous strength on their part, and so, so much love for us… but they did it. And knowing you, and how very strong you are, and how very smart and kind… you’ll make it happen to. And your girls? They will love you both so much for that. All the best, Liz.

  107. I never know what to say in your comments because it always seems like there are a zillion comments saying the same thing I might have said, only better.

    But I read all the time.

    I am acutely familiar with the feeling of being terribly, terribly alone while sleeping in the same bed as someone else. I didn’t have children with that person, but the memory of it smarts all the same. I’m sorry you had to go through that, and I wish you the best as you work through the next phase.

  108. Hi Liz –

    I wanted you to know I read this post and, of course, life got in the way and I never got to comment and tell you I was thinking of you. But then last night a girlfriend, going through the same, called me and another friend to her house. We cracked open wine, cooked, and talked about her split, the kids, the pain, the problems, years enmeshed and I repeated something you said here – that the end goal was to be the kind of parents who could sit together at ballet recital. That was beautiful, and so clear, and it helped my friend create a vision for what she wanted at the other end. So, know that I’m thinking of you, Nate and the kids, and also that just sharing this helped a complete stranger who was also struggling. Thanks.

    xo Kim

  109. So sorry to hear about this, Liz. My thoughts are with you all right now.

  110. I’m sorry to hear that this is happening because I know how hard this path is to get to and find an answer for, plus I just hate people I know and care about going through tough times. You are in my thoughts and I’m sending you lots of love and peace. You will get through with grace, I just know it. I believe that while this can be the hardest choice it offers up the greatest road to happiness for everyone. You are setting a good example for your family.
    Love to you and hugs.

  111. It is odd, I don’t know you personally, you don’t know me at all, yet I still feel the need to hug you, and sen you “it’s going to be ok” look.

    Take care of yourself. Talk to, listen to, and hug the girls. And who knows, this “ending” might be for something good.

  112. Living an honest life is tough. Sometimes it’s easier to just let it ride and maintain the status quo. I wish you both all the best. I know you will both show your daughters that love is a mysterious thing that takes many shapes over time. Hang in there.

  113. I just wanted to say that those families you hear about who can sit together at the recital (or the birthday party, or whatever) – they exist and I’m part of one. Wishing the same and all the best for you and yours.

  114. And yet, in the midst of it, they will still have their flatulent cats. You made me laugh even in this post. I’m sorry to hear you are going through this.

  115. Oh beautiful Liz, I’m so sorry to hear this. How very difficult a decision and how brave to know it was the right thing to do and to act upon it. I wish you lived closer….

    Hugs from SF

  116. I am just swimming up from my own dark months, but that is no excuse for me to have only seen this just now. Liz, I am sorry you are going through this and so sorry you are hurting. I hope brighter days will come for you all, soon. xo

  117. Anything dark, broken and sad isn’t healthy for any of the people involved. Sending you and the girls big virtual hugs and good vibes for an easy transition for everyone. Love you!

  118. Even when everything is coherently on paper and there are titles and rules and pockets to tuck your relationship into, the ending of it is always inexplicable and as unnaturally natural as death.

    If you need anything, I am here. Welcome to the club, my friend. It’s an awful, yet hopeful, one to be in.

  119. I was just catching up, I am sorry I missed this and I am sorry things are ending. But it sounds like you guys are healthy and as always the love for your girls shines through. Sending big hugs.

  120. I also think, that a long time from now- you will read this and nod and smile about the ballet recitals too. This is going to be FINE. Not great. Not better. But not worse either. You will move forward. Keep going and you will be happy. I just know it.

    Hang tough sister. You got this.

  121. I’ve never written about the demise of my marriage anywhere. Not my blog, not Twitter, not FB – nowhere. And many, many times I’d wished I’d had hundreds of supportive comments on my blog, feed… to get me through the day and let me know that I’m not the only person going through this terrible life event. All this to say you’re not alone even if you feel like you are. Congrats on “coming out.”

  122. I feel like your at a good place now just getting on with the separation. When you said you felt more alone then you do now well that says a lot. I know what you mean 100%. The best of luck to you and your little ones.

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