Last month my husband of forty-two years told me he’d logged on to Match.com and found himself a girlfriend. While it’s true that we haven’t lived together for more than a decade, his confession brought on a bitter argument during which I raged against the online dating scene as cowardly, cheap, and small. He called me righteous and judgmental.
“We could have done this in such a better way,” I said and blamed his men’s group, a weekly meeting of searchers who, I imagined, had put him up to trolling the Internet under the guise of getting on with his life.
This wasn’t the first time we’d tried to define our separation. Nine years earlier, he’d served me with divorce papers. I thought the word served an odd choice for a bundle of pages stapled, rolled, and wedged inside the screen door without so much as an envelope, let alone a silver tray. As a formal, legal notice, it seemed halfhearted. Nonetheless, papers served, my husband and I put in our time with mediation, then attorneys, as we navigated the legal steps toward dissolving our union. On our appointed day, I drove to the courthouse and waited for my husband to arrive. An hour passed without any sign of him. My attorney checked the hallways. I paced. Having waited another hour, I finally picked up the phone.
“Where are you?”
“I don’t want a divorce,” he said—and that was it. I dismissed my lawyer and went home.