I woke up one morning and decided to leave my husband.
It wasn’t a decision that came gradually: I literally woke up and thought, “I’m leaving.” It hit me like a tonne of bricks. I couldn’t get out of bed that morning; the weight of the sudden realisation that I had to end things wiped me out.
The decision wasn’t suddenly triggered by anything. We had been happily married for two thirds of our time together, intensely unhappy for the last third, but trying to make it work. We had been in counselling. And then, ‘out of the blue’, as they say, I knew I had to leave.
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan were meant to be #couplegoals, but they’ve just broken up. So are couple goals bullsh*t asks the Out Loud team?
This is how out of the blue it was for me:
The night before: “still working on it.”
The next morning: “I have to end this.”
My family and friends were surprised things were finishing so abruptly. But in lots of ways, so was I.
So to be accused by some of them of being disingenuous – of faking my marriage by not openly talking about our troubles that were no-one’s business while we worked on them – felt particularly unhelpful at such a stressful time.
Because the fact of matter is, if you’d asked me the night before, I would have told you I loved my husband.
That’s what I genuinely believed until that fateful morning. That’s why I was spending time and money in counselling for months, trying to get him to commit to date nights so we could talk without the baby around, using all of my spare energy to keep our marriage from falling apart.
Because I really thought I loved him; right up until the time I realised I didn’t.
Anna Faris received a lot of backlash to her announcement, because, by her own admission, on social media she had carefully curated the image of a perfect marriage.
“Chris and I did talk about [the public’s reaction]. We got, like on the Twitter feed, ‘Love is dead’ and ‘Relationship goals.’ It was like ‘People seem to think we got all this sh*t all right.’ I had a little bit of a childish feeling of ‘Oh come on, f*cking grow up’ — a little anger [about it],” Faris told Dax Shepard on his podcast, Armchair Expert.
But the actor knew why people responded to the news like that. She admitted:
“We intentionally cultivated the idea of like ‘Look at this beautiful family’ and there were so many moments that were like that but like anything on social media, you don’t post ‘Where the f*ck is the toilet paper?’ or whatever…I think it’s a very hard forum to be genuine, and I think it does a disservice to people to not be.”
Similarly, in the day since their divorce announcement, people have commented on this Instagram post by Channing Tatum about his wife just months ago, demanding to know whether he was being genuine:
This creature is one more year beautiful. The transformation she invoked this year has been something they only write about in books of fairytale and magic. Your strength and grace ever evolving. By doing so you make everything around you grow- everything. And i am so very grateful for your lessons. Happy life day my love. #leica
Of course, we will never know if Tatum truly meant these words about his wife, but I do know that it is possible to believe you love someone, to still see all the good in them, to love them as the parent to your child – while your marriage is on shaky ground – or even ending.
Yes, some couples hide it, and hide it well. But sometimes there can be no pretence at all, and the decision was born of a stark moment of clarity. It could be ‘out of the blue’ to one, if not both, parties.
Because sometimes there’s just one defining moment when you know with finality, great sadness and relief, that it is the end.