I’ve never been divorced. I hope I never will be divorced. I think, though, that if I were facing divorce, the last 18 months might be something like the lead up to that decision.
I’ve had to look at a relationship and realise I don’t quite understand how it’s working. I don’t quite know – or sometimes even recognise – my partner. I’ve had to consider values that are key to me and acknowledge that this partner no longer seems to share those views.
I’ve tried to share my concerns with my partner’s family, with my own family, with close and distant relatives, often to be dissuaded from acting on my concerns, sometimes to be ignored, and, more often than I really want to acknowledge, to be attacked for speaking up.
But, here we are, at the end of almost a year and a half of soul-searching and reflection, and I must acknowledge, to you and to me, that at the very least, I need a trial separation.
You see, the country I called home is simply not a nation I can feel a part of anymore.
This isn’t to say that I don’t love it – because I do; I do; I so, so, so much love it. And it’s not to say that I don’t care for and value and cherish the family it’s provided me. I do. And it’s definitely not to say that I don’t hope every single day for its well-being, for its success, for its happiness, for its health, for its long, long, long life. Because I want those things more than you could ever know.
But, if my partner suddenly announced that my brown skinned friends couldn’t come over for dinner, we’d have a problem.
And, if my partner suddenly suggested that anyone who didn’t share our faith system should be banished from our lives, we’d be facing difficulty.
And, if my partner decided that poor people deserved not to be cared for but to be left to scrounge and beg and die, we wouldn’t be a happy couple.
If my partner had been stockpiling weapons for years, growing more and more controlling with those weapons, and determining that I must bow down to the supremacy of those weapons, we’d have an issue.
And if my partner announced that anyone who didn’t agree with them on all those points was a liar, a traitor to our relationship, a son-of-a-bitch, we’d be facing the end.
So, when my country decides those things, I have to admit the same challenges. When my country decides it’s a good idea to ban people because of their homeland, nationality, or religion, we have a problem. When my country decides to vilify people for speaking out, we have an issue. When my country decides it’s acceptable to hold a military parade for a tyrant instead of caring for its own citizens, we are not a happy pairing.
As with many break-ups, one of the most painful discoveries – apart, of course, from the gut-wrenching realisation that what you thought you could rely on is gone – is that you will be let down by so many others. The friends who disappear. The family members who defend your abuser. The acquaintances who undermine your truth.
It’s a lonely, lonely road to travel.
Yet, I know I am not alone.
Will we divorce? That, I cannot say. We must, though, for now, separate.