When divorce is imminent, what do you do?

How we're defining a new dynamic for our relationship and our daughter.

Author, Judy Tsuei, and her soon-to-be ex-husband.

We lay on the couch next to each other in our high-rise apartment in Taiwan, after I got back from my recent trip to the States with our daughter.

“Y’know that thing we talked about a few months ago?” I asked my husband. “About how we’re great co-parents, but not great partners and that we’re likely not meant to be together in the future?”

“Yes,” he said.

“I think we should really think about getting a divorce.”

He nodded.

We talked about it some more.

“Did you like being away from me this last trip to the States?” he asked.

“Well,” I responded. “I just realized we could do this. That Wilder and I are so loved, and that we could create a modern family dynamic that works best for all of us.”

We talked a little more. We were actually wrapped up in each other’s arms.

“Let’s take a moment to acknowledge how far we’ve come and how far we’ve worked, just to be able to lie down next to each other like this and talk about it,” he said.

I agreed.

We have worked SO HARD.

But, on the last solo trip my husband took to Kauai, Hawaii, right before we moved to Asia, he later told me that he had taken his wedding ring engraved with “Great Love” on the inner rim, and returned to the place where we got married. 

“I threw the ring into the ocean,” he told me, “so I could return you to you and me to me.”

The day before my daughter and I got on the plane to come back to Taipei from visiting family in the U.S., the second engagement ring I chose lost a diamond.

It was the second ring, because the first one we bought when we first got engaged only reminded me how severely I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum that I could barely get out of bed due to the round-the-clock nausea and vomiting. That day, in the jewelry store, I had bands around my wrist in hopes that the pressure could alleviate my sickness, but nothing helped and I was barely coherent.

The ring lost a diamond in our first two years of parenthood. I got it replaced. Then, with my new entrepreneurial endeavor launched and coming out of a deep bout of suicidal postpartum depression, I went back to the same jewelry store to pick out a new ring for myself.

I sold the old one.

Yet, the second engagement ring I chose in hopes for new beginnings lost a diamond as well. Just like the one before that he chose for me, a sign that as much as I wanted to pretend and avoid the truth about the demise of our relationship, it was inevitable.

It had come time to give one another back to each other.

Just yesterday, I pulled out, “The Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work,” by Dr. John Gottman, and every single one of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” that harkens to eventual divorce is something we both do.

We’ve also done the couples therapy and coaching.

I’ve done major bouts of forgiveness.

We’ve tried to take time to ourselves.

All sorts of things except simply acknowledging this obvious truth — we would do better separate than together.

When we were living in Austin, Texas a year or so ago, this BROKE MY HEART…

I felt like I had gravely disappointed my daughter and was setting her up for future fucked-upness.

I felt like there was something deeply wrong with ME.

I felt like all of my biggest doubts and fears were coming to the forefront proving that I am unlovable or unworthy of happiness.

Now, I know differently…

I KNOW full well that there has been a giant gorilla block in my business, because I haven’t been able to see around this beast of an expectation of “happily ever after”.

I have wanted so badly for this marriage to work out that I twisted my insides and outsides beyond what is healthy, so that my daughter could have the kind of family life I promised myself I would give her — even before she was an idea on this planet.

And now, my husband and I are setting each other free.

We’re setting our daughter free too from the pressure of having to be the glue that keeps our family together.

I want my daughter to witness and know truly divine and aligned love, so in order for that to happen and for her not to bear the burden of being the focal point between us, her father and I have to stop pretending we’re anything but what we actually are…

We are all sovereign beings.

We choose our greatest happiness, respect, and support for one another — even though the toughest of times.

We choose family and for us, our family dynamic will mean something differently than what we initially expected.

Defining our own modern family opens each one of us up to experience more universal love and energy, letting the Divine flow through us once more.

By choosing to move forward in this way, in our own “conscious uncoupling” on our terms and timeline, we get to freely find our hearts again.

To breathe.

To create opportunities where we show up best.

My husband and I were meant to come together. There’s no doubt about that.

We believe that our daughter brought us together, inspiring us to move from opposite coasts in the United States (me from California, my husband from Florida) to this tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean within months of each other. Six months after moving to Hawaii, we met. 

Two weeks after dating, we felt an undeniable force telling us that we were meant to have a child together.

On any rational level, that sounded crazy and we tried to delay it as much as possible, until the amount of energy required to try not to have a baby felt insurmountable.

We said “yes” to the adventure, so that by three weeks of knowing one another, we consciously chose to conceive, and by four weeks of dating, I was pregnant.

Our daughter is the best thing that’s ever happened to either one of us — we named her Wilder Love for a reason.

She teaches us how to love more wildly.

How to trust and have faith.

She has inspired us to love so deeply that we are willing to set each other free.

For now, this means we’re meant to change… 

We’re not sure how that looks yet, but we are confident it gives us an opportunity to define our lives however we want to, because screw society with all of its rules that never seem to make anyone truly happy.

I’m excited about this next phase of our lives. So is he.

We have always done everything our way and this is no exception — the fact that we’ve lived in four states, two countries, and a camper van since Wilder was born (she’s only three and a half now) is a testament to that.

We’re putting our daughter first.

We’re remembering that we still do love each other.

We are still committed, but what we’re committing to is evolving.

We will ALWAYS be the Fox Force Trio.

Just an edited version than before.

And that’s okay.

This isn’t a pity party, by the way…

This is a moment of authentic sharing and celebration.

Because I believe in creating a sacred space for EVERYONE to be wildly themselves and define life on their own terms. 

However that unfolds.

For so long, I pretended to avoid this truth and it caused more hurt than likely necessary.

Yet, the truth always prevails. 

Our greatest spiritual journeys aren’t always convenient. In fact, they often require us to rise up in the most profound kind of ways. 

As I’ve always shared with my clients, “Life may not always be pretty, but it is indeed beautiful.”

Make your life beautiful today.

What are you pretending not to know in your life right now that one day (maybe even very soon) you’ll need to take action on?

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