Mon, Jan 26, 2015, 07:00
It’s 20 years since Ireland voted for divorce. An Irish Times series, Divorced Ireland, explores the effects of that vote on Irish life. The following is one of several personal stories sent to us as part of the series. To read the full series click here
The break-up of my marriage was only the beginning of a long and difficult journey to ending it. I got married when I was in my late 20s. With hindsight, I was emotionally immature and naive. We lived in a small town in rural Ireland. The cracks begun to appear after a few short years and over the course of the final year, the relationship disintegrated irretrievably. We separated after four years of marriage; there were no children.
Experts say the break-down of a relationship follows the same emotional cycle as death: shock, anger, grief and acceptance. I was in deep shock for the first few months. I moved to Australia for six months to try and process what had happened and give myself some headspace. When I returned I was struggling to cope with my new reality, a doctor diagnosed me with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder.
In 2011, I moved to Dublin, got a job and moved into a shared apartment. I began the painful process of re-building my life at 31. I was single again and a lot of my friends and work colleagues were in a different phase of the lives, getting married and starting a family.
I have struggled very badly, at times, over the last few years. The trauma of the break-down and separation triggered a lot of anxiety and periods of depression. I have been in therapy for a few years now. I have a great family and friends around me but sometimes I am overwhelmed by a loneliness that eats my heart out. I haven’t been in a relationship since my marriage broke down.
I felt great sadness when my marriage ended, but I am not ashamed. I would have been living a lie if I stayed. I can begin divorce proceedings this year. You have to be living apart for four of the previous five years before you can apply for a divorce in Ireland. It is a long time to wait. I really wanted to get a divorce two years ago, to draw a line in the sand.
I don’t think anyone should have to wait four years, I would like to see the laws changed. Two years would be sufficient.
The writer’s name has been changed.