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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

The Bathroom Drawer

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I was giving a tour of the new home.

“And this is Brock’s bathroom.”

“He gets the master bath?” my friend inquired, surprised.

“Yup. In this case, it’s a key to marital bliss. That way my blind self doesn’t trip over his detritus and I don’t wake him up when I get ready at the crack of dawn,” I explained.

She nodded, understanding.

“I am envious of these drawers, though,” my hand already beginning to open one of the six drawers built into the cabinet.

As my arm began to pull, my brain stuttered. I realized that I had no idea at all what was contained within that drawer. I hoped that it was nothing that would be embarrassing to reveal.

Luckily, the drawer only contained the usual bathroom items (along with a couple remnants of the paining work we had done).

But it also contained a lesson for me.

In my old life and my old home, I knew (or, more accurately, thought I knew) what resided behind every closed drawer. I thought I knew everything about my ex husband, that there was no uncharted territory. I believed there were no secrets, even of the unintentional kind.

And so, whenever a drawer (both real and metaphorical) was opened, I saw what I expected to see.

It’s never been that way with Brock. Perhaps because of my background or maybe because we’re coming together in mid-life after living separate lives for many years, he remains at least somewhat mysterious to me. Even though we share stories of our pasts, they are just samples, not the entire spread. Although we share space, we each have out own territory and I don’t feel the need to be an explorer on an expedition to his office.

I don’t think I know what he is going to say.

So I listen.

I don’t have any expectations of what I will see.

So I look.

At first, this felt a bit scary to me. I wondered if I would ever feel like I knew him as well as I knew my ex.

But then I realized, I only thought I knew my ex.

The comfort in that was the wool over my eyes.

I like the dash of mystery.

The reminder that he is Brock before he is my husband.

A reminder to listen. To see.

Rather than assume.

And also a reminder not to open drawers in fron of someone without verifying its contents first:)


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9 thoughts on “The Bathroom Drawer

  1. Ouch. You’re reminding me how hard it is to be vulnerable with someone after a divorce. Even a someone who seems wonderful and trustworthy. Rooting for you both.

  2. “But then I realized, I only thought I knew my ex.” This a million times. I was in a ten year relationship (living together but not married) and believed the same. Interestingly, after the relationship ended I began to learn that it was myself I really didn’t know all that well. Had I been more self-aware I probably wouldn’t have gotten involved with that person to begin with.

  3. And Brock thinks he knows you well enough that he has drawers without locks. We so desperately want to trust and be trusted but we so carelessly disregard and then violate trust.

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