Meet Carol Grever

  • Carol Grever has been a successful businesswoman and English professor. From personal experience, she's authored two books and produced a documentary on straight spouse recovery. A recognized spokesperson on straight spouse issues, she's appeared on major network TV shows, including "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Good Morning America." You can read more about Carol here.

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December 23, 2008


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I couldn't agree more, Claire. Thanks for the reinforcement regarding this positive approach to separations. Your son (and my sons) are all better off because their parents let go of resentments and took this civilized path.

Carol Grever

My ex and I started that way. When we all (I, he, the woman for whom he left me, our young son) lived in NY/NJ, we used to do Christmas Eve together and Christmas Day separately. Even after we had split up, his parents would stay w/ me when they came down from Nova Scotia, because I had more room for guests. Well-intentioned friends, tried to "comfort" me by saying, "It's better for your son." My feeling is that it's better for everyone to get along and cooperate, perhaps especially for holidays, graduations, etc.

When my son was going into the first grade, he and I moved to Colo, and my ex and his wife moved to Maine Shared holidays became impossible, but our son logged lots of UM air miles from the time he was 6. I have stayed w/ them in Maine, and they have stayed w/ us in Colo. I consider that my son has four parents, not two parents and two step-parents, and I think he feels that way too.

My very strong conviction is that no matter what happens to a marriage, children have a right to their parents and parents have a right to their children (the exception being an abusive parent). Problems and resentments have a way of subsiding when people can dwell on the posititve rather than nurturing resentments because a marriage didn't work out.

I'm touched by these responses to my diamond ring story. As Kathleen says, it is a kind of miracle when families are able to reconfigure and still find areas of commonality. When we heal sufficiently from inevitable wounds, it really is possible to reconnect, though in very different ways. Thanks to all of you who revealed your own experiences here. We are all one in our humanity.
Carol Grever

When my best friend from college died a few years ago at age 50, one memory shared at a service for her was of her and her two exes and the ex of one of the exes and their various children all spending a holiday together--maybe Thanksgiving. Someone remembered them all walking together down the beach and recalled that it felt both strange and wonderful. So good that they could all share a moment like this before her untimely death.

On a happier note, I loved getting the birth announcement for a friend's baby a number of years ago. It was a collage of photos: the baby's mother and father, his ex-wife, her ex-partner, step- and half-sibs. A joyful extended family. Oh yeah--there was a photo of the baby too!

Closer to home, my ex and I and our daughter spent this past Thanksgiving together with friends of mine. Given how bad our marriage was, it feels like a kind of miracle to be able to share relaxed, friendly time together. One piece of how we got here was collaborative divorce. I recommend it for any couple splitting up for whom do-it-yourself or mediation does not seem like it will provide enough support.

The diamond ring which was part of your mother-in-laws legacy became your legacy too, Carol. The spiritual connection of this is so important and it ties you and your mother-in-law together through life and death.

I believe that we are tied together in so many miraculous ways. As our relationships weave in and out... as we feel close or far away... the reality is that we are never really separated from those we have ever loved.

I recently lost my mother and 20 days after her death I lost my brother. Today, I keep flashing on them in currents of sadness and separation... but the better part of me knows there is no separation... it is only an illusion of the mind. But the earth part of me still falls down in the silence of it all.

The mundane, as well as the spiritual aspects, dance together constantly. I guess it only makes sense. We are all humans who live on the earth and at the same time, simultaneously, we live in the deepest outreaches of space. Our limitations reach as far as our ability goes to reach toward endlessness.

All of this ultimately holds no time. No history. No future or past and is part of the road we share with each other in eternity.

Thank you for sharing your story. I had not thought much about my mother's diamonds until now. My mother gave us her engagement ring with one central stone and six tiny chips. We purchased a new setting for the central stone and a jeweler created a necklace for me and a matching tie tac for Jim. We were married for 27 years when Jim left our family to be "free." We have been divorced for 18 years. My mother died in 2003. As far as I know Jim has made no attempt to share my mother's diamond with any of our children. Interesting. Time will tell.
My energy in the last 16 months has been to work with others in our community to establish an open and affirming church setting. It has been an exciting journey for me.
I believe that Jim had a very negative journey. I pray someday our children will hear something from Jim that will give them some thread of understanding.
Thanks to all that share stories to help us all grow.

My uncle, now 86, lost his life-partner of 53 years two years ago on Christmas Day. After all the difficulties they must have endured being gay in less enlightened times, it's heartening to read your blog pieces and the comments of others and see how far we've come.

I was also married to a man who came out as gay. For many years his life partner, Jack, and I were at odds with one another. Anger, hurt, jealousy all playing their parts. My ex and I stayed friends, but Jack and I could not be together. A few Christmases ago I got a phone call from Jack. My ex had had a heart attack. My heart suddenly burst open to Jack. How would he cope if he lost his love? My ex survived the heart attack, and Jack and I are now, at last, friends.

It has taken almost 20 years for the majority of hurts, anger, anxiety, depression, uncertainty, and downright stubbornness to dissolve into the scene that Carol and Carlotta describe around the holiday table for my ex-, my children and grandchildren, my partner, and our in-laws. In my view, this alone is a Christmas miracle if anyone needed evidence. Ours wasn't a nasty separation but it was a difficult one that focused on letting go of many things . . . dreams, an accepted lifestyle, an illusion. And in letting go, it seems that everyone discovered that there was something to take the place of the losses.
So to those who continue the struggle or have just begun this journey, I want to offer hope . . . hope that what replaces the hurt and the anguish will be peace, forgiveness, and understanding . . . it can happen even in what seems to be the most improbable situations.

All of us find our families stretched at this season. My one son is expecting a new little daughter any day and his wife hasn't felt good through most of this pregnancy. It was not a time for them to travel or entertain house guests. Our other son needed to spend Christmas with his son who lives with his mother in Canada. Left Jon and I to spend Christmas alone. What I like about this season is that it forces you to think about family, including current problems and old issues. It makes you pause and count blessings. It puts priorities in perspective. Those who think it's all about the festive cheer may miss the value in those deeper ruminations.

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  • Carol Grever's books and documentary DVD inform and empower straight spouses and their families.  Click on any cover image to learn more.

    Award Winning
    Documentary DVD

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