It’s my first Thanksgiving without my son. I’m going to ditch the turkey for the weekend in the Florida Keys.

writer taking pictures

Courtesy of Heidi Borst

  • For the first time in 13 years, I am single over Thanksgiving and my son is with his father.

  • Instead of hosting, I decided to travel to the Florida Keys with my family.

  • As I continue to process and heal from my divorce, I am starting a new tradition.

When I was growing up, my family didn’t observe most holidays. So when I started celebrating myself as an adult, I was like a baby tasting ice cream for the first time.

The novelty and excitement are undiminished. have been hosting for over 10 years thanksgiving dinner, maple pumpkin, caramel apple, and bourbon pecan pie baked from scratch. Roast the buttered, herb-stuffed turkey. Finishing off my mac and cheese bechamel. The day became a ritual of soul-satisfying indulgence.

But this year is different.

son with dad

I am single for the first time in 13 years and my only son will be with his dad this Thanksgiving.

last year, our separation was new, and we celebrated together — awkwardly. It feels strange to be a visitor in an old house. Over a year later, I still feel uncomfortable there.

I knew it was time to move on and start a new tradition, but it was still rebuilding and my circle was small. I am spending

I realized I needed to break up my relationship with my son’s dad

Over the past few decades, I have seen a series of therapists trying to attribute my unhappiness to something other than the actual cause. But I was afraid to admit that my marriage was not working out.

Even when I finally accepted reality, I was too scared to do anything. But the pressure to act like everything was fine, even when it wasn’t, was exhausting. I was paralyzed, emotionally detached, and living a life that felt like a lie.

Rubber hit the road during the pandemic. I was slowly fading away, and I felt that if I didn’t make a change, there would be nothing left. In my new, disconnected state, I walked outside alone for hours each day for self-reflection.

my therapist and i became friends

Eventually, I regurgitated the details about the same old dilemma to my new therapist. However, this time there was an anomaly. After a few sessions, I realized that I had completed all the necessary conversations. It’s time to come up with an exit plan.

It was a relief to not have to continue the act. But my heart broke for my son, whose world was about to be turned upside down. My marriage had fallen apart for a while, and I knew it was affecting my children. Until then, I thought it was best to get married for my son’s sake, but that is no longer the case. Modeling an unhealthy relationship for him was not the right choice.

I talked to my therapist over the phone about my decision as I cleared my belongings. As we discussed her path forward, she shared some details about her own divorce, and the similarities in our experiences were striking.

That’s when I knew our paths crossed for some reason. I asked if we could end our working relationship and be friends. Without hesitation, she said, “Let’s do it!”

I am so grateful to have her in my corner on this journey of understanding where I belong.

Read the original article at insider