In 2016 Glennon Doyle wrote the book on marriage. It was titled Love Warrior, and it explored how she and her husband, Craig, had managed to repair their relationship; one that had been forged in the early days of her sobriety and nearly came undone amid revelations of his long-running affairs.
The real-life tale became a number one New York Times best-seller and was selected for Oprah’s Book Club. But it was the next chapter that has proven to be the most life-changing for the 41-year-old author/blogger.
Later that year the mother of three announced she had met and fallen for someone else; former US soccer star, Abby Wambach.
Glennon on the moment she “just knew” she would end up with Abby Wambach. Post continues below.
In the latest episode of Mamamia‘s No Filter podcast, Doyle tells Mia Freedman about navigating the end of one marriage and the beginning of another, and how in the midst of it all she finally found freedom. The following is a small snippet from their fascinating chat.
Tell me about the day you first met Abby.
“I’d never even kissed a girl, so I had no context for what was about to happen to me.
“But when Abby walked in the room, I’m telling you, it was like that [inner] voice that I had been practicing hearing and trusting [after my separation] just screamed. My whole self was like ‘there she is’, and I just knew.
“I feel like such a freak when I say that, because I never even believed in romantic love much less love at first sight. I thought it was all just crap. I thought that everybody was just making it up. But I knew, I knew from the first [moment] that she walked into the room. And you know, it wasn’t but maybe a month later that we started talking in letters. A month later I sat down with Craig and said, ‘It’s over. I’m in love.’
“By the way, Abby and I had never seen each other outside of that room. We spent 10 minutes together and then dismantled our entire lives to be together.”
How did you have the context to know this was different?
"It was like immediate sweat from head to toe, like if I'm not with this human being I will die. It wasn't like a friendship, it was like a recognising. That's how we both describe it."
Things that start fast can often end fast. Were you worried about that?
"Sure, I was worried about everything. I was so scared. My God, I had so much to worry about at that time. But it's interesting when you say 'fast'; it did happen fast and it didn't. I mean, we didn't even touch each other or hug each other.
"I remember sitting with Abby and saying, 'Are we seriously going to do this before we've ever even kissed? Are we insane?'
"You know what, it was the craziness and the insanity of it that made me understand that it was the first thing that I knew was true for me in my heart, because it didn't make sense to anybody else. It certainly wasn't that I was pleasing anybody else or taking a path that anybody else had put in front of me. Trusting the love I had for Abby and going forward and marrying her and dealing with all of the fallout and walking my family through it is the first thing I've ever done as a truly free woman."
Without wanting to pry, that must have been a shock to Craig, because he probably thought he was the one.
"It's so amazing because when I think back on that, I mean you know from Love Warrior the lengths we went to to forgive each other. Oh my God, we worked so hard. And I'm so grateful for all of that, because I think at the time I thought we were working so hard so that we could have our happily-ever-after, which by the way we do - we have the fairytale divorce.
"So I don't think that any of that work to forgive each other was wasted, because I think that's why we can have what we have right now, because we did all of that work."
I've heard you said before that the fact that your new partner was another woman was actually not a big deal to your kids.
"I'm so grateful that I have always taught my kids that we celebrate who people are on every level and we stand up for people who are marginalised in any way, because when it came time for them to live it out they didn't have to unlearn any crap. They were open-armed to Abby.
"And also she's a miracle. I mean, it really feels like she's not somebody that was added to our family - and Craig would tell you the same thing - it feels like she was missing from our family."
To hear the rest of Glennon's incredible story, listen to the latest episode of No Filter.