what’s your story

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Everyone has a tale about love and loss in their life—even if it is not divorce. And the lessons we learn from heartbreak help prepare us to manage bigger losses, too. (For example, my parents became suddenly gravely ill and died shortly after this book came out, challenging me to really live all the lessons I’d learned in my divorce in a deeper way.)

So speak up and share your stories of loss and resilience on this site, so we can all offer words of support and learn from each other how to move through grief with grace.

95 thoughts on “what’s your story

  1. Just want to qualify my previous post to say that it is very possible that your ex-husband did not have an affair, and, after thinking about it, he probably didn’t, and I don’t want to imply that he did, so please ignore, or just delete, my previous post. Thanks!

  2. Hi Stacy. I read your memoir last year, never imagining that I would find myself in similar shoes to you more than a year later (though maybe I knew subconsciously), and I found it very moving and honest. I am the mother of two young children in NYC and filed for divorce a few weeks ago, as my husband started an affair and subsequently moved out. What I am about to say is probably a moot point, but the way your ex-husband acted and what he said, according to your book, makes me think (after doing a lot of research and reading on this topic) that he was having an affair. Whenever someone tells you that they’re not in love with you anymore, needs their space and starts criticizing you for all your “faults,” there is someone he is contrasting you with, and that’s probably his affair partner. I’m not saying this to try to make you feel any more pain (and it seems like you’re in a happy place now anyways), but maybe to try to give you a different perspective and to free yourself of any blame. Also, if your ex-husband was having an affair, you deserve to know the truth. Just google “affair fog” to see what people say to their spouses when they’re in an affair. You might have never known that he was in an affair because people in affairs try to keep the affairs secret and then try to make up a story afterwards that the relationship began after they separated from their spouses, and most affairs end within a year or so.

    And people in affairs also have fantasies of how their divorces will play out–they want to have their cake and eat it too–by staying “best friends” with their ex-spouses and still being able to “play family” while having the freedom to date others. Now, again, it seems like you’ve made peace with all this, but for a lot of people who were blindsided by an unwanted divorce (most divorce is the result of infidelity–people usually don’t leave unless they have someone else waiting for them in the wings–even if the other spouse is unaware), they are able to heal better psychologically by maintaining minimum contact with their ex-spouses (only necessary information regarding the kids, preferably through email). Not sure if you want to consider that. There is no reason to be “friends” with someone who obviously hurt you so much and betrayed you and destroyed your family, and to give him his fantasy divorce by letting him have his cake and eat it too, even if you do share a child; you can effectively parent through parallel parenting, and your emotional well-being comes first–the healthier you are psychologically, the better mom you can be to your son. Also, by continuing contact with your ex, you allow yourself to continue to be a scapegoat for his problems, while he can save his best for his girlfriend.

  3. Hi Stacy
    I just finished reading your book and I wanted to thank you for writing such a heartfelt and universal story. I am writing my own memoir about loving and leaving a sex addict and I avidly read other memoirs to get ideas and see how other people write. I will keep your book as a great example of how to write with realism and honesty about feelings. I also love the metaphors you used.

    I went through my marriage break up over 5 years ago but I now think my ex husband has a personality disorder as well as being a sex addict and that ideal co-parenting relationship that you and Chris fought to establish is beyond my reach. I am so sad for my boys that it is full of conflict and hatred on his part, but am encouraged by how well you and Chris have managed it. I hope it is still working well for both your sakes, and of course Zack’s.

    I am finding that blogging is helping me work through some different feelings and I am enjoying the opportunity to write small snippets of what will be my second book (once the first is completed!), about dealing with coparenting with someone who won’t cooperate.

    Anyway, I just wanted to pop in and say hi and tell you how much I enjoyed your book and how well written it is. Also would it be ok if I copy some parts out of your book to put in my blog?

    Best wishes

    Frog’s Tale

    • At last, I found my WordPress password, which is why I am so long in responding and posting your lovely note. Yes, please, by all means feel free to copy it out in your blog, just with appropriate reference (and a link to Amazon never hurts). And yes, I agree that writing can be an important part of processing pain: it helps you see your story and provide authorship over it, which offsets the terrible damage done when one person, someone you loved, punches a hole in you life. I know I have been very lucky in all the ways my ex-husband has continued to be supportive and present. I think it is a terrible crime that our culture unintentionally teaches people that the only way to leave a marriage is to utterly destroy it, to disappear into an affair, to make the spouse you want to leave a terrible person, whatever. It creates so much more damage than is necessary or healthy or useful or anything…. I will remain committed to trying to change that conversation and that habit for the rest of my life. Thank you for coming to visit and sharing your story. I wish you strength, peace and joy in all you do!

  4. Stacy, If you wrote “Falling Apart” to put your experience in words and maybe help others along the way, then you have absolutely succeeded! Your story has truly changed the way I am viewing this heart-wrentching, knee-dropping, soul bending experience. I am in the middle of divorcing my husband of 13 years. We have two daughters ages 9 and 12. To make approaching him and this experience with grace even more challenging, I discovered he was in a relationship with a colleague for over a year. I am only in the beginning stages of a true divorce after trying for 18 months to “work it out”. I was so full of hatred that I couldn’t see straight, all the while knowing that was not the “right” attitude to take. I just had no clue how to be any different. Thank god (little miracle from the universe) that I stumbled upon the audio version of “Falling Apart”. The grace you showed your husband and yourself shifted completely how I saw my own disaster. Your attitude gave me the little crevice of light I needed to see a way out of my cave of hatred. Thank you for breathing fresh air into my experience-for showing me, and millions of others, there is another way to “be”. I don’t succeed every day approaching life with love instead of fear, but I am beginning to have more little victories everyday. I am able to pause now before I lash out at him, or the kids or even myself. I am more gentle with all four of us. Thank you for being vulnerable, soft and loving so that you could teach the world.

    • Thank you so much for tracking me down to post this passionate comment! Made my week. Yes, I wrote the book because when I was at my lowest, I remember thinking, “Why did I not know that this would feel so, so awful?” There was no way to describe the kind of awful at the time, but obviously I found the words. I’m so happy for you to find your way out of the cave of hatred — it would be terrible to lose both your husband and yourself. And you are what is worth loving and fighting for the most! I don’t succeed every day at approaching life with love instead of fear, either (read this blog to see for yourself), and I think it’s important we all know it’s a practice. We practice being the best person we can be, and failure is part of the learning. Big hugs and love to you as you keep moving ahead and building a new life for yourself, filled with serenity, acceptance and optimism! xo

  5. Stacy, I’m right in the middle of my divorce after 20 years of marriage. My boys are 17 and 16 and, like your Zack, they are teaching me lessons. Your description of crying on the kitchen floor (along with the hilarious description of the crumbs you took note of in the midst of it all) made me feel that I’m not a basket case for doing the same in the middle of the night. Most of all, your story is reminding me that the anger I’m feeling and the desire to “win” in the divorce are out of sync with the woman I want to move toward and become. Thank you for writing this book. It is helping me so much at the hardest part (so far) of this experience.

    • Donna, nope, you are not a basket case! Think how much sadder it would be if your marriage had meant nothing? That’s one of the ways I comforted myself, too: I lived this, it mattered. Thank you for finding me and sharing your story. I wish you strength and peace for this journey; one day it will all be behind you, and life will be beautiful again! Very best—Stacy

  6. Pingback: A new home | Falling Apart in one Piece

  7. I am almost done listening to the audible version of Falling Apart in One Piece. Your career, personality, thoughts, marriage and divorce are so similar to my experience that it is uncanny – thank you so much for putting your emotions so eloquently, it has honestly been so therapuetic for me to hear my own feelings organized so concisely in your words. I kept thinking, “Yes, yes, that’s what I was feeling! That’s what I went through!” Your understanding of yourself, as well as your own resilience is inspiring to me.

    • Elise, thanks for writing. I feel especially close to people who listened to the book!! Because I sat in a small cabin for a week and recorded the whole thing myself, reliving all those moments as I did so. I’m so glad the book and my experience could be helpful. I knew others had to be feeling what I was — and I was so surprised I couldn’t find those stories. Best to you, in everything.—Stacy

  8. Hi. I haven’t read your book, but just finished reading the magazine article you wrote about your mom. When I got to the part about receiving your mom’s letter several months after her passing, I was a mess. I lost my mom 6 mths ago. Also to that disgusting disease. You write really well, and although I’m not married, so not divorced, I will be buying your book. Because I get the sense you’re just one of those writers that I’d love to read. Take care. A new fan.

    • Rhona, Thank you so, so much. That piece I wrote about my mother is probably the favorite piece I’ve ever written. I’m hoping to turn it into my next book, actually, so thank you for the encouragement. Yes, it’s a terrible loss we all go through, losing our parents. But not until we experience can we really get it. I so appreciate your kind words about my writing. All I want to do is tell the truth and help us make our peace with that. Very best to you.—Stacy

  9. Dear Stacy, My sister was a good friend of Chris’ back in their much younger NYU days. I remember meeting you a few times at that dreadful 14th street fire trap “apartment”. Was that place even zoned for a living space? I always wondered. I came across your web page and I just had to write and tell you that you are an inspiration. You look amazing. Your words are both eloquent and wise. Your story, though clearly heartbreaking, reflects a deep strength within you that is to be admired. I was very sorry to hear that you and Chris are no longer together as a couple, but it was wonderful to read that you were able to continue a relationship on a different level. This is something to be really proud of. Your son is very lucky to have such parents. I really look forward to reading your book. I wish you all the best and again it was wonderful to read how you managed to turn a nightmare into a gift. My respects, Sybil

  10. What a blessing and gift you have given to me by sharing this story about recovery after divorce. What a purpose fulled life to reach out to others by your honesty, and giving hope and support. THANK YOU!!!

  11. I discovered this book at exactly the right time. My 19-yr marriage had been troubled for years. After almost 2 yrs of counseling, we were at a crossroads. I started reading your book one night and was instantly hooked. At 2 am, after getting through half the book, I crawled into bed and he told me he was “done” and would soon move out. It was devastatingly sad and I was overwhelmed with uncertainty and questions about what happened next. However, having just read about your experience, I knew I would be OK. Thank you for your candid view of a difficult topic that nobody wants to talk about. I find myself rereading certain portions as I navigate through my own story.

    • Ann, thank you so much for sharing your story. “Done” is the worst word. I still get a shiver thinking about it. But I am so glad you found some solace and comfort in my company. That is why I wrote the book. Just remember: be focused on the woman you want to be on the other side; she will bring you safely home. Best of luck—Stacy

  12. I’m halfway through your book, and I just wanted to say thank you. I’m a journalist, too, and was also an overachiever for so long. Failing at anything is hard.

    • Failing at anything feels terrible. But we must accept the paradox in it, that by failing we learn to succeed at much more important things: resilience, faith and dignity.—Stacy

  13. This book was an amazingly brave journey. I read it in one day. As the person who is leaving the marriage, Stacy’s perspective gave me a much better sense of how my partner must feel, and gave me so much empathy. Even still, being the person to leave hurts deeply. I am so saddened by the failure of my marriage and the break up of my family. I can only hope to find the peace and strength- or the light at the end of this dark tunnel as stacy did. I applaud you Stacy for sharing your story. It helped me so much. I could relate to not telling others about our demise, as I am still “hiding” our separation from certain friends and family members. I hope to gain peace and clarity in this journey, and this book helped me tremendously. Thank you!!!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in this book. It has been one year since I filed for divorce from a ten year marriage. I have two children as well. I am not even finished reading your book, but the sheer essence of what you have been through brings me immeasurable comfort. Because, I too, feel these same things. And, for the most part, feel like no one understands or as if I am going crazy. But your words reassure me that what I am feeling is “normal”. Thank you Stacy, your book is helping me get through this beyond difficult time in my life.

  15. I’m so happy that I stumbled upon your book at the library while looking for another. You have beautifully put into words the myriad of emotions I have felt over the past 18 months. My marriage ended similarly, but after 25 years — just at the time I thought we’d be sliding into a new & exciting chapter (empty nest). Instead, I and our 2 beautiful, grown daughters are adjusting to our new reality. I am their anchor – but, like you, I feel like I’m just being carried along in my grief… Thank you for sharing your story & for so clearly expressing your journey. I have hope.

  16. Thank you for writing this book, Stacy — I wish I had found it sooner. I discovered it in the library when I was searching for instructions on how to talk to be OK and make sure my kids end up being OK, when I still don’t understand why I am getting divorced. Sometimes I sob out loud because an excerpt resonates so clearly! Today I read page 155 — how you decided that if your ex-husband had the ability to be deeply connected to either your or your child, for him to choose your child is ultimately the the better option. This idea breaks my heart but sets me free simultaneously — to watch my sons enjoy the renewed attention of their father (the man I always knew he could be), I still feel rejected but I know THEY will be OK. It is such relief to have my feelings reflected and validated in “falling apart,” and I treasure each lesson you have learned. I hope to emerge from this journey with as much grace as you have shown. Namas

    • Amy, I am happy that the book could be good company in such a hard time. My divorce blew my mind — not just all the pain and grief, but all that I learned about myself, about acceptance, about waging peace, with my ex AND with myself. I would do it all again for the self-knowledge I’ve gained, even though I still do wish very much that my family were intact. But we’ve all found a way to make it work, and we are still very much some kind of a new kind of family, indeed. Namaste to you, as well, friend.—Stacy

  17. Thank you so much for sharing your story; it is (unfortunately) very similar to my own. It is nice to know that I am doing the right thing for my sons by taking the “high road” in many situations that anger me and that a divorce after 19 years of marriage does not define ME- but just this moment in time. It is empowering to read the stories of other people who have been so crushed by something like this also- and survived! Thank you again for this great book

    • Mardelle, thank you so much for your note. I, too, am completely inspired by all the stories on this site that people have shared of their own pain. It helps normalize what we’re going through, and remind us that the entire point was for it all to MATTER! And also remember, the “high road” is for you, not for your ex or for your children. It’s so you can know you have dignity, even in the face of life’s biggest challenges. Very best wishes—Stacy

  18. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. You have helped me see that my feelings are normal and okay during this troubling time in my life. A friend suggested your book and I am glad that I listened. I needed to know that it was okay to still love my soon to be ex-husband and that our love will live on in our son and that if we can be friends our son will have a much better life and so will I because he was / is / and always will be my best friend, even if he cannot be my husband forever. Thank you again.

    • Heather, I’m so happy to hear how grounded you are, even in your pain. Which, truly, is all we could hope for — since we do not get to choose what pain comes into our life, at all, one of the biggest lessons I had to come to terms with. I still call me-my ex-my son my “family,” because they are and will forever be. Some day I hope for a partner and a sense that I’ve found a new, primary family (especially after losing both my parents), but I am happy just to feel strong and whole. All best wishes to you on your journey.—Stacy

  19. I am in the process of a divorce after 10 years of marriage (with two young boys 6 and 3). I even was wondering if I could do this alone. I read your book over the weekend and your story resonated with me. It was my story. I connected with you and your ex reminded me of mine, my safe place but who had withdrawn from our family unit and decided he wanted out no matter how hard I tried to keep it together. You are my inspiration and I know I can get through these difficult/sad times. Thank you for writing your book because it was something I definitely needed to read during these turbulent times in my life. It even helped me to apologize for my shortcomings in the marriage, like trying to mold him into my idea of perfect and failing to ask him about what he wanted to do. I can’t say it enough but “Thank you”.

    • Jenny, Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a message. I wrote the book because I wanted the same kind of company when I was struggling with so much. I wish you continued strength and peace on your journey!—Stacy

  20. “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strength. When you go through hardship and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” ~I don’t remember where I came across this and it came without anyone to credit, but I thought you would appreciate it, too.

  21. Great site! It’s so comforting. Any practical tips for scheduling kid time with the ex? There must be an online calendar or app or something. I have to talk to him more now than before! Thanks.

    • Heather, Thanks for your question. A lot of people I know use Google calendar, since two people (or more!) can be updating it at the same time. In my house, we use an erasable whiteboard calendar that I found at the drugstore. I write all of my son’s different activities on it, as well as DAD in capital letters on the nights that his father is coming over to hang out with him and put him to bed, and DAD’S HOUSE for the weekend nights he’s going to his father’s place. Even after four years of the calendar, it’s still the first thing Z looks at in the morning. Giving the kids some independence in being able to be in touch with where they will be when is a key part of co-parenting. Thanks for your note, and I hope you’ll keep coming back to the site and start some conversations here! —Stacy

  22. Hi Stacy, I have yet to read more of your posts, but from what I’ve read so far, I felt like I just had to let you know that I’ve found your posts incredibly real and inspiring. Last year, my husband of twelve years and the love of my life sat me down and told me he wanted to get a divorce. What followed was like an endless nightmare in which he confessed that he has not loved me for at least half of our marriage life. He also seemed to blame my PPD seven years ago and the depression that followed as the reason why he cheated four years ago. It’s been a year, and our divorce isn’t settled yet. It still hurts and I struggle with the pain every day, but am determined to make it through. I have a 7 year-old daughter who’s just amazing and I owe it to her and myself to rise above this hell hole.Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are such an inspiration. More than my words could express.
    Do Sweat the Small Stuff (Sweaty)

    • Sweaty, I am happy my words could be helpful at all. I wrote the book because I felt like people can be very glib about divorce because it’s so “everyday.” But fact is, when it happens to you, it’s just a tragedy of enormous proportions, and it deserves respect, attention and great care. Keep struggling! On the other side of the worst days (which realy are passing by) is a kind of peace, I promise. Sending all best wishes to you and your daughter.—Stacy

  23. I work with troubled youth and hear their stories regarding parents who are separated or divorced. The youths have lived in many foster homes. I was divorced when my wife decided to leave the marriage. She requested that I file for divorce when she found a live-in boyfriend. We divorced. I re-married two years after and this marriage has lasted longer than the first one. Those youths would often ask me about the “whys” of broken marriages and I would share with them my own experience and the experience of close friends. I was like Chris who was there to help when needed and I kept a close relationship with my children which has lasted to the present. Me and my ex do share responsibilities. You found “who you are” and I did, too. I found out that everything starts with kindness including love. Kindness is the starting point to my healing. Pearls go through pain and suffering to become precious pearls. Stacy you are one beautiful pearl, one who found her way to help others. Thank you.

    • Joseph, thank you for this note. I am so glad to hear you shared the experience I did, and have been able to share that with others who have been hurt be divorce. It is true that we must be gentle, with ourselves and with others, in order to get through this life with the fewest wounds. I have my battle scars, as do we all, but I do not live in them. That’s what I wish for those children, to realize their parents did their best, but that they can set themselves free from their parents’ history and find their own way to feeling whole.—SLM

  24. Stacy, Thanks for writting the book, you are the only one that I feel understands what am going thru. Hope you found the light at the end of the tunnel.

    • Maria, thanks for writing. And yes, I did find light at the end of the tunnel. That light was me! Life continues to throw its curveballs, but I feel better equipped to know this is just chance working its magic, not some statement about my own worth. Wishing you light for yourself!—SLM

  25. Stacy, I am reading your book and want to say THANK you for being so open and honest. I feel like you really capture my feelings. I amonly three months into this and feel every day the I am a mess/I am fine feeling. I feel like the book is friend who really understands me.

  26. Stacy, your book is helping me in so many ways I can’t even express my gratitude. I am reading it over and over again, and your words have become daily mantras for my life. I look to your words to help me get through some of the darkest days, but I know there are brighter days around the corner. I can honestly say, you have been my true friend since my husband left us 2 months ago.

    • Erin, I’m so sorry to hear you are just now in the most brutal part of it all. But I am so glad to know that my words have given you comfort and friendship! Those words were my mantras, too, and I still find myself saying many of them when the going gets tough. Remember above all to be gentle with yourself in these hardest days, and to keep doing whatever little things you can to take care of you (for me it was sleep, getting enough sleep). I’ll be thinking about you as you make your way down this road. And I can definitely report that better things are waiting for you. Big hugs, SLM

  27. I came across your book when my husband told me he wanted to move out and see if we could fix our marriage. It took him over a month to leave and less than a week after that to start an affair. I begged to go to couseling, that 15 years and one teenaged daughter deserved that. He refused. Your book has helped me through these last few months. I have discovered a strength I didn’t know I had. I joined a “scary” Crossfit gym and feel like a badass every time I leave. I have decided on a career to train for. 14 years of being a mommy and wife have rendered me without a clue to finding a job. Thankfully, he is being supportive of me going to school. Sometimes I hate that he’s so damn nice now that he decided to leave. Thank you for an inspiring book. It helps to know that I am not alone and the pain will lessen as I heal in a productive way.

    • Minnie, You’re right that Crossfit is totally bad-ass! Good for you! I’m sorry to hear our stories are similar, and it is VERY challenging to come to terms with the “nice” that comes after the breakup. I remember feeling the same way. But over time, it’s turned into the greatest gift. I can honestly say to people now that I am so glad I married a good man, even though we got divorced. Which is certainly better than the alternative! I salute you on your path to rediscovery! Remember that in the same way we can’t know what bad is coming around the corner, we also don’t know what marvelous things are waiting for us. Have a great time as you head toward those happy surprises! Best, SLM

  28. Dear Stacy-I never, ever read non-fiction, but for some reason was taken by the piece I saw about your book in the KKG magazine and bought it. Just finished it, and must tell you that I learned alot about looking after yourself, coping with change and self-esteem. My first child is about to go to college, so I can already tell I’m starting to grieve about the fact she’ll be leaving home next fall, so your heartfelt words of wisdom are timely. Thank you for sharing and best of luck to you and your son. Sharon (KKG class of 77 from Whitman College, Washington State.)

    • Sharon, How great to know that piece inspired you to take a look at the book. I often say to people that my book is only partly about divorce; it’s mostly about the difficult transition of coming to terms with the fragility of life, something we are able to put off for a very long time, if we are lucky. I wish you and your daughter both a rewarding and not-too-sad transition in the coming year. It’s a big one. And actually, my next book will be about my magical/complicated relationship with my mother, and those years in college were such an important time for our friendship. May the two of you be lucky enough to have that be true as well. Best, (and loyally!), SLM

  29. There are not enough words to express my gratitude for there being a book that is offering so much during a time that is so emotionally hard. I am currently separated from my husband for almost a year, and I have spent the last year trying to keep hope that we would end up back together, and every day that passes, that only diminishes more and more. Until I read this book, I could not begin to imagine that I am right to feel hope, but not for “us” but for myself. That inside me is a strong person who has made it this far and will survive this. I want to send you a huge Thank you Stacy, for having the courage to share such a personal story and offer many of us out here who feel they have lost it all, a sense of hope that we will be okay.

    • Jen, I got chills reading your note. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am so glad to hear that you have found the hope that is always waiting for us to be ready to see it. And I’ll never forget that feeling when I really understood that I was going to be fine, and life was going to go on for me: it was almost euphoria, in such a sad time. Good for you! Sending you much love and good wishes, SLM

  30. Stacy, your words, your ability to share, and your positive attitude are such a gift. I am inspired by your ability to share & help others through such a difficult time. 6 months ago, my husband of 15 years said that he was “Done”. We were the “Storybook” couple. Friends, both families, ourselves all had never seen a couple so in love as us! If anyone would make it, it would be us! But, my husband changed too much over the past few years. We have a 3 year old daughter & he, & therefore our relationship, changed after her birth. I can relate to losing someone when your child is so young (he was emotionally absent before he was physically absent). My mom & I have read your book. My ex sounds like Chris. I’m more the type to get things done and take care of everyone, like you are. So I am so grateful to you; you put large parts of my story into words when I could not and it helped to clear my head. I’m feeling much better now.

    • Donna, I am so glad to hear my book helped you clarify your own story. It’s such an important part of the process of healing, to be able to see ourselves from a distance and know that in the end, all is well, even though in the moment, we are hurting so, so much. I wrote the book exactly because I knew there was no way I was the only woman who felt so many different layers of loss, and I wanted to reach women like you and say, “Yes, it’s bad now, but you will make it, and you will be stronger for what you’ve survived.” Sending you warm thoughts and hugs, SLM

  31. i love reading especially non fiction books.i have always looked for a book that as you are reading it, it sounds like your story of your life, well your book was and is my life..i am in the process of getting a better life without a man in it..i have always compared my marriage like a tug of war game ..i pull and he pulls back, this has been all my life.They say you marry the opposite in your life and that is soooo true.I pray that i will find that happiness in the last part of my life.i love life…i know there will NEVER be any more men in my life…i want to be happy and live longer..thank you very much for the best book i have ever picked up…nerie

    • Pauline, It is my hope that “non-coventional” arrangements will become conventional, eventually, and that couples will feel that they can create a divorce that suits them as individuals. As I used to say when I was editor of Modern Bride (I know, so ironic), no two weddings should be alike because no two couples are alike. And lo, the same is true for divorces, as well.—Stacy

  32. Dear Ms. Morrison:I recently read your book as a guide to my own marital separation with a young child, and found it so inspiring. I have been reading around for ideas about the 21st century families, such as one by Rebecca Walker. I myself am a writer and scholar of feminism and Chinese philosophy, and would be very interested in exploring productive, creative, loving ways to reform a family after a marital divorce. I write to ask if you might know of others would be be interested in co-editing such a volume. I include here a description of my forthcoming book (which has nothing to do with families, but I hope helps me get a foot into the door of publishing). http://www.sunypress.edu/p-5280-li-zhi-confucianism-and-the-vir.aspx Thanks so much for any assistance. Thanks too for writing your hopeful and inspiring book.

    • Pauline, It is my hope that “non-coventional” arrangements will become conventional, eventually, and that couples will feel that they can create a divorce that suits them as individuals. As I used to say when I was editor of Modern Bride (I know, so ironic), no two weddings should be alike because no two couples are alike. And lo, the same is true for divorces, as well.—Stacy

  33. Stacy, I am about 3/4 through your book. Thank you, thank you, thank you for articulating your deeply personal experiences in such a thoughtful way. I am so glad I am not the only woman who wants to have a good relationship and to acknowledge the end of a marriage as not necessarily a horrible thing. It is on many levels, but there are so many others in which we can take a step back and appreciate and honor another person and not hold their incompatibilities against them. I am glad to have found your book and to see that you and your family are thriving.

  34. just read your article in Chatelaine, My Mother’s Parting Words, it was very moving, it really encapsulates the wonder, weirdness, conflict, love, heartbreak of being part of a family.

    • Elizabeth, thank you for taking the time to fine me and share your reaction. I am really proud of the piece, but mostly I’m proud that my mother and I held onto each other. I’m considering turning the piece into a book (so many good and telling stories to share, so much wisdom, pain and love), so I appreciate your reaction. Cheers!—Stacy

  35. I just read your article “The Ex-Husband Who Never Left” via NYT and found it eerily familiar and inspiring. My wife left three years ago and we have a wonderful co-parenting plan in place. We have family dinners together at least once a week, share holidays, and equally share responsibilities. Even though our friends and families find our situation confusing, our children are happy. It’s all about the children, right? It’s suppose to be but we shared ten years together. A lot of memories. It’s hard to let those go. Even though we have both moved on, we both rely on each other emotionally. We may no longer be married but we still are best friends.

    • Jeremy, thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s such an inspiration to me to connect with people who were able to wade through the muck of divorce and not throw away the good memories that had to have existed in the relationship before it ended. And yes, our children will learn so much from us about this imperfect world, and they’ll be better prepared to greet hardships with compassion and grace. Bravo!—Stacy

  36. Stacy -Just read your interview with Erin Hill Perry, Detroit Free Press. Your words are comforting & encouraging to me, going through seperation from my husband of 22yrs, home with our 19,15 & 12 yr olds …trying to figure this all out while maintaining my dignity, strength for my kids and for me! I have added you, (and your book) to my list of strong, respectable and smart women that help to keep me focused, calm and less afraid. I am too looking to find peace & clarity in this loss/change and move forward with my life. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    • Lauren, I’m so happy to be able to offer you strength and hope. I know you will succeed and find your way, since you are focused on dignity. Dignity is the greatest treasure we possess, and your children will learn that from you and be stronger for it. Best of luck in the all that you have ahead of you. I send you hugs!—Stacy

    • Lynn, I’m so sorry to hear about what you are going through. I can’t imagine how you feel, but know that you will find the beauty as your life changes into something unexpected. What was initially unwanted will turn into an array of surprises and rewards. I’m rooting for you!—Stacy

  37. My cousin purchased your book for me to read as my husband of 43 years & 45 yrs together just left me..almost the same words as your husband “I’m done” to my shock. I have a chronic disease in the past years, but other couples mnodeled their marriages after us. Our children age..41 & 39 are married & we have 5 grandchildren ages 6-10 yrs. We are also model grandparents. He broke my heart, my kids’ hearts, & our little dog’s heart (age 7)…I am going to write a book..there is one inside of me for years. We were the perfect couple but he got tired of a sick wife, however I am fully functional and never sit down. I babysit my grandkids..make jewelry..take classes..and try to live each day the best I can with this illness. I was a Librarian for 20 years so I am an avid reader & I know my story will be a little different with so much history between us. I am shocked, and angry at him for causing the fall out in our family. Thanks for your book Stacy. I needed it.

  38. I came across your book by accident and it is another one of those proofs to me that God sends me help and insight from people that I do not even look for. May I just say I read your book and could not put it down. All of the feelings you described resonated with me because those are my feelings as well. I am currently going through the divorce process with 2 children. My husband also just wanted to be done, something that was never going to happen to me…after all he was my best friend. I am thankful that he is a good father and there for my children and after asking myself why? how come? and what could I have done? I have surrendered to the fact that life doesn’t give you the answers but it does give you the gift of support from people who reach out just at the right time. I now understand that divorced people should not be judged and that sometimes things come to an end, but that does not mean that joy, hope, and love will not be in your life.

    • Amy, I celebrate your wisdom! It’s wonderful to hear that you are finding your way; and remember that surrendering isn’t giving in, it’s giving over: to the inalienable truth of life, which is that we are not in charge of what comes to us, we are merely in charge of how we react to it. For me, discovering that my heart would choose peace over answers was a chance to realign all my choices in my life, which has given me great comfort and rewards. I wish the same for you. Sending you and your children hugs and good wishes!—Stacy

  39. Stacy, Your book was my divorce wisdom! I am divorcing a man who told me, he wasn’t happy being married to me anymore and how we lost our spark! We have two little girls and rather than giving our marriage a chance, he left me and my girls! We have been separated for a couple of months now and the pain is unreal! I cry everyday but not for him anymore, for the loss of my family, for my little girls, for being alone and for trying to save my home! The way you wrote about your emotional journey is like reading about my journey! Your words of wisdom and hope are extremely inspirational to me! I hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel soon, but for now I will keep finding myself and do things that make me happy for once!

    • Kate, Yes, this is so much loss, and it’s so important to witness it, to let it be what it is, not to try to change it into power or false strength. Good for your for finding your way, and know with absolutely certainty that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, and soon. Get your sunglasses ready!—Stacy

  40. Stacy, you are such an inspiration. My divorce will be final in July and I cannot tell you how your audiobook of “Falling Apart in One Piece” (which I listened to TWICE in my car) helped me get through some of the toughest points in my own process. You know how to make lemonade out of lemons, for sure…but you also know when to add bourbon! Keep up your excellent work!

  41. Hi Stacy, I found your blog through the HuffPo article and have to tell you what a lifesaver you have been. I am 5 days into the realization that I am getting a divorce after discovering my husband was having an affair with his ex-girlfriend…again. Counseling after the first round and six years later I thought we had re-built our lives into something amazing and had a wonderful relationship and was happy to come home every single day to the man I loved. A relationship that was won through hard work, tears and forgiveness. To have been so blindsided after all this time of learning to trust him completely again has left me swallowed up in that river of grief and betrayal and I can hardly manage basic functions. I read your article this morning and spent the day devouring your book and crying through the entire thing. Thank you for giving me hope and knowing that I wasn’t alone in the pain and grief…your writing and sharing has saved my sanity.

    • F, Thank you for sharing your story here. Please remember that we are not in charge of other people’s actions, and whether those we love can honor the love we give them is not in our hands. You are strong and brave, and you should never regret that your heart was open enough to trust him again. That is your gift, not your burden! It will set you free from all the heartache when enough time has passed. Remember that the grief proves that those years you lived with him *mattered.* Wishing you strength and peace.—Stacy

  42. Stacy. I read your article in the Detroit Free Press this weekend and it was like you were speaking to me. My husband and I recently separated, well he did, and I am left alone with my 7 year old son and a house we started together. It is so so hard, probably the hardest thing I think I will ever face. He had the luxery of moving on fast, new state, new life, new home, new girlfriend and I feel as if I am left with all of the old memories and all of the baggage. I just cant seem to pull myself up and realize it is done. I have tried begging, I have tried to make him see it is a mistake and now I realize there is really nothing I can do. So Im left to grieve and feel so defeated. I thought I was marrying the person I was going to spend my entire life with and enjoy raising our son together. Well, that is my story. I hope so badly to come of it and start my new life soon. Thank you for telling your story. I feel it will start me on the road to peace.

    • Danielle, You are already on the road to finding your way, even if it doesn’t feel like it. We all have to face different burdens in life, but the first step is just accepting, and grieving, and letting go. I wish you all good things, and strength, and peace. I have no doubt you will find it!—Stacy

  43. stacy, i just got back from a 4 day vacation to costa rica, on which your book was my traveling companion. my divorce is not yet finalized but will be, i fear, by the end of the month, as my 30th “birthday present.” reading your words is like riding the rapids through my own thoughts and emotions. i relate to you not only in the specifics of your dissolved marriage, but also in your self-analysis. like twins separated at birth…and by a few years. haha. thanks for sharing your story. thanks for the paragraph about the lady with the pretty ring. thanks for feeling it in words so that i know im not alone. grateful, lindsey g.

    • Lindsey, What an un-fun 30th birthday passage. I’m so sorry to hear the bad timing. The universe is funny that way sometimes. May you be able to look back in another 10 years and realize this was the beginning of the life you were meant to be living! And I’m only too happy to meet a lot of twins along this road; it’s been a very comforting discovery indeed! All best to you.—Stacy

  44. Hi Stacy, Your friend Susie is my doctor. She recommended your book to me Dec. 2010 a month after my husband told me he was moving out. I’ve told her many times how helpful that book was to me. And I wanted to tell you too! It was just what I needed to read at that time. Thanks for writing it. I read several parts over and over again and still read it now. All the best to you and thanks again!

  45. Hi Stacy, I have been separated for 6 months now and in the process negotiating a separation agreement. I just finished reading your book, and loved the simple truths. (partway through the book, I wished that i was making notes!) Although I would love nothing more than to peacefully let go of this relationship and move on, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. My ex was an emotionally abusive bully and our separation started the day I called the police, criminal charges were laid and he was removed from the home. He was harassing me with constant phone calls and texts, and now it feels like I have his lawyer harassing me, since I get letters from the lawyer demanding spousal support (I was the breadwinner and have a high income)and money to pay for his criminal law case. I am still trying to heal from all the abuse. How does a person deal with things when the other side is determined to make things as adversarial as possible.

    • Stella, I am so sorry to hear how terribly hard things are for you right now! But I do absolutely believe you can still take care of yourself and protect yourself, even though this person is determined to bring you pain. My best advice you’ll recognize from the book: Imagine who you want to be on the other side of all this, imagine your attitude, your wisdom, your compassion. And let your actions be the actions of that woman, and keep walking toward her. One day you will become her. When you are met with anger and foul behavior, you will have to flinch, but remember he cannot touch the you inside, and his anger is a representation of how powerful you are. Find a way to understand his motives–not to accept them, but to gain perspective: He has to erase you to be able to go on, and so you can simply bow your head and not waste any of your effort correcting or rebutting his rage. Float above it, and take good care of yourself—get the sleep you need, walk outside as much as you can, meditate or do whatever activities help you keep a clear mind—and find your comfort in the rituals of letting go. This will not be your life forever. You will survive and find new ground that belongs just to you. Go, go, go!—Stacy

  46. Your book spoke so many truths to me, and I am still married. It’s about what’s important and what you can change and what you can’t. I loved it.

  47. Stacy, thank you for your site. I’m a 40-year old new mom and wife who seemingly had it all. I had a lucrative film career, a story published in the New York Times, and a husband I thought adored me. I found out the humiliating way he did some not so great things. I really had the straw rug pulled out from under me, leaving me with splintered feet and teary eyes. I called a friend and without hesitation and with three hours to spare, we packed her car with my newborn’s essentials and just drove away. I am now living with my folks with $7.86 to my name. He stole it all. I am not without friends and family but it feels lonely. Especially at night. I feel as if the man I married died and I am in mourning. I feel concerned because I don’t know how to raise my child on my hours at work (18 hour days) so I must reinvent who I am. I feel excited though. I can have Indian food in the home now and a x-mas tree with purple lights. Still, where do I go now?

    • Beth, It is good to hear you able to count some of the simple pleasures of finding yourself on your own, even while your heart is still newly shattered. Good for you! I always say that the little things are much bigger than we think. I really loved the months I got to redecorate, without some furniture of his I didn’t really like. It seems like a silly, small thing, but a big part of healing is being able to realize you can be happy and sad, scared and sure, weak and strong all at once. That was my best lesson from my pain. I hope you’ll stay in touch on this site and share more of what you learn.—Stacy

  48. As of 2 weeks ago, I too, am going through a divorce. Having been married for more than 20 years, I don’t know what it’s like to be alone and without the help of a man. I’m learning quickly. I LOVE to read…and review. I have a blog that I haven’t touched in 2 weeks…it’s been THAT hard. I must get my hands on your book (library! Since even a few dollars for a book is out of the question right now)…and share my own experience along with yours. I am grateful for the book reviewer that brought this book to MY attention…hopefully I can bring to the attention of others’ as well. Perhaps the journey will not feel like such a solo trip if I have your book alongside. I can do this!! I HAVE to do this!! I look forward to reading the stories others have shared on your guest book as well. No misery does NOT love company, but women do love to not feel so alone….thank-you!!!

  49. I consider myself a pretty well-read person, and this book was one of the handful that I actually felt was something that spoke to my heart directly. Obviously, no 2 people have the same story, but I kept nodding my head, and saying to myself, “yes, she gets it!” I think this is a beautifully written book, but what is so impressive to me is how you were able to truly have me totally “getting” what you were feeling. I fell deeply in love with a woman, who I believe was in love with me for many years, and then it just stopped. I tried to make a go of it, but then realized something horifying and humbling: she just wasn’t in love with me anymore. Not only was she not in love with me, but she didn’t seem to care particularly about me at all. I was the one who broke it off, because she didn’t have the fortitude to do it, but I ony did this because I knew she had lost interest. You talk about changing your view, of grief being a mountain to climb, to being a river with its ebbs and flows. I couldn’t agree with you more. I think the most humbling part of this kind of experience for me, was knowing that this love of my life, rarely thinks of me, and I still think of her all the time. I guess it might be karma, because I think the situation is somewhat a reversal of what I had in my marriage to a different woman. The feeling that one is not worthy of someone else’s feelings or thoughts is so truly ego shattering, when you are so into that person. Your book was an incredible representaion and expression of the hurt that is involved. I have been broken up for almost 3 years, and I still feel pain. It comes and goes, and ebbs and flows, but it is always there. Anyways thank you for having the courage to share.

    • What an incredible, and sad, story. Thank you so much for sharing it. I had the same experience, that wake-up call of “Oh, he doesn’t want to be with my anymore; that’s why he’s leaving.” And as much as that hurt, it set me free, and allowed me to move on, instead of be stuck wondering what I could have done differently. Thanks for sharing your story.—Stacy

  50. The emotion in this book was real. Enjoyed that. However, you state often how your bank account had dwindled to nothing yet oh, I am going to buy expensive new shoes and a purse and go on vacation…You do not get to say you were a struggling single mother if you could still afford those things. A struggling single mother has a hard time coming up with money for food to feed her child, not a hard time deciding what expensive shoes to buy. Shame on you.

    • S, I understand that when there are so many single moms who have serious struggles to make ends meet that my story can feel like it isn’t honoring that truth. But what I wanted to show in my story was not that I needed pity, but that the road of losing your marriage and your sense of self is terrifically hard, even if you’re “safe” the way I was because of the career and job I had. I can’t speak for everyone and every situation, certainly, and would never try to. But struggles aren’t limited just to financial concerns. Thank you for your comments. —Stacy

  51. I just read an article in Allure in which you were quoted and your story and what you had to say resonated-I was divorced 20 years ago but have been going through a friendship breakup over the last year and that has been very similar to a divorce-all the hurt and sadness that someone you have told your inner most thoughts and feelings to then stabs you in the back-and keeps on stabbing! I am working very hard at getting over their “divorce”—it isn’t always about the end of a marriage.

  52. The day I began to read your book was the day I began to understand the breakdown of my marriage. Throughout the book, I would exclaim out loud, “he’s just like e—-!) The similarites are unreal, i even have the huge mess called a house on my hands, you had a flooded basement, i have a monster pool to repair and i can’t swim! Anyway, thank you for your story, this book really touched my life.

  53. Thank you for your book. I am going through a turn-your-life-upside-down-inside-out kind of time, realising after being with my husband for 20 years, that he is a different person, and that I am a victim of emotional and pyschological abuse. I am now sweeping up the mess, being a mother to two children, trying to hold on to the home, and dealing with him quickly moving on to another woman with 10 children! Your words made me feel less alone! Thank you

  54. Thank you, Stacy, for putting your life on paper so we may have a chance to learn and grow from your experience. I was so saddened to open my Redbook (as a long-time subscriber, even at 39) and to not see your editorial, and to then find out that you are having to go through what my husband and I have just spent the last three and a 1/2 years living with, so I will continue to wish you and your family all the best.

  55. I have earmarked nearly every page of your book. You must be deluged with responses from other divorced women.So many similarities, I cried often reading your book. Differences: married 35 years, 2 adult children who also suffered.No good career of my own; I helped him build a solo practice and have to continue working there to survive.But I was blindsided like you, I lost hope, I even had a horrible flood in my basement! Thank you for this book, wish we were friends. Best of everything to you in life!

  56. My Mom bought this book for me because I went through a difficult divorce while dealing with breast cancer. I was very moved by your book- It made me cry several times and I dog-eared many pages so I could refer to your quotes and share them. Thank you for your honesty! I bought Redbook magazine yesterday and was sad to see that you’re no longer the editor in chief. You are truly an inspiration!

  57. I am so glad you have a guest book on your website, Stacy. As soon as I finished your book, I thought “I wish I could tell Stacy what this book has meant to me, and how it will impact me moving forward”. I am still married at this time but on the precipice of divorce. How can I thank you for the options you’ve given me – to honor what was good in my marriage, to not lay blame, to focus on being gentle to myself… God bless you, Stacy. Thank you for writing

  58. just finished your book.funny how the story feels the same, except that I left without a career,having given up mine for his film career, 2 kids, & he left me for a woman I called my friend of 4 years.I don’t want extra sympathy. I just want you to know, the questions are the same – he and I are friends now. I would not flush 13 years, and I cannot simplify the answers for people. We are excellent co-parents,him being better than he ever was. It’s just life,isn’t it?

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