One of the more infuriating responses I’ve received when others have heard my synopsis of my ex-husband’s actions that led to the divorce is, “Well, you know how it is. There’s your side, his side and then, somewhere in between them, there’s the truth.”
After I swallow my scream, I try to respond with a well-meaning and polite-sounding, “That’s so awesome that you haven’t met anybody like him. I hope you never do.”
In general, I am a huge fan of the concept that there are facts and then there is the way we perceive the facts. And those perceptions can be very different. Give two people the same fictional book and they will not only interpret the characters’ actions in different ways, they will likely build mismatched views of the protagonist’s appearance.
Yet the text is the same.
And that’s where I have a problem with this phrase being applied to the circumstances surrounding my divorce.
Of course my ex-husband is entitled to his own opinion. But he is NOT entitled to his own facts.
Which is exactly what he was doing.
When he told the police that we had been divorced for years, I highly doubt that he was simply expressing some metaphorical feeling that he was keeping under wraps. As he recorded my salary on the financial disclosure as a third more than it was, I don’t think it was because he’d viewed the numbers in a different way. And when he described how his “workday” was going while he was on his honeymoon, I struggle to believe that he was really under the impression that he was working long days on the trade show floor.
Those are facts. And there are thousands more where those came from.
And those facts don’t care about feelings – his or mine.
Now, when it comes to the particular climate of the marriage that acted as fertile soil for those deceptions to grow, I’m sure we have our own opinions and perspectives. I would have loved to have been given the opportunity to hear his side. To try to understand where the unhappiness resided and to learn more about his interpretations and outlook.
But I was never given that chance.
So all I have is my side, my best guesses at his side and the facts.
And as for the truth? I’ll never know.