Jennifer Merrill finally had it with the father of her three children. His love for Donald Trump drove her out:
When I heard that Trump was running, I really didn’t think anybody would actually support him, especially in my circles. I said jokingly to Eric, “You better not vote for Trump in the primary,” never considering that he actually might. His synopsis of Donald Trump was simple: “He cracks me up.” I tried talking to him about all my objections: the racism, the misogyny, the blatant egoism, the corruption, the idiocy, the mocking of the disabled! But he didn’t care.
That SOB! The nerve! Things went downhill from there:
Eric could tell that I was troubled about our relationship and that I was distant with him. He tried, however halfheartedly, to make it better. I went back and forth on what to do. I felt if I was going to do this, I had to leave soon. But how was I going to explain to anybody that after 24 years of marriage, it would be our difference in politics that would end up tearing us apart?
I delayed my decision for a little while and tried to see the positive side of staying with him and the life we had built together. But then came the last straw.
Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. I couldn’t bear this and knew I had to go resist, again. I found out about a big protest being planned. The night before, I brought it up to Eric, hoping that he would finally agree that this all was a travesty, but no—he angrily stated that Kavanaugh was innocent and the “Democrats have waged a smear campaign on a great federal judge.” I lost it. I couldn’t believe that he was defending a sexual predator like Kavanaugh, especially when we have a teenage daughter.
The next day, I called the apartment complex next to my daughter’s school and told them I wanted to sign a lease. I was prepared to call it quits. I knew I couldn’t live with a Trump supporter anymore. I told Eric I was getting a full-time job and moving to an apartment. I felt terrible, but it was hard for me to talk about it with him without getting very emotional, so I kept it brief. However, I knew it was the right thing to do.
Soon I moved out of the house we shared for 20 years, and it was a relief. Eric and I later talked about the reasons why I left. He replied that he didn’t think politics was something to split up over, that it didn’t matter that much to him. I said that it does to me. And that was the heart of the issue, right there: It matters a lot to me.
Now that I’m in the new apartment, although it is much smaller than the house we shared and I don’t see my kids quite as much, I have felt my anger, annoyance, and shame dissipate. And that’s better for everybody. I am happier now that I no longer share a bed and a life with someone whose beliefs are so contrary to mine.
So as I recently prepared to march again in Washington, I reflected on how this was my first political protest since moving out of the house and marriage. This time I was in a much different place, both figuratively and literally, as I headed out to the third Women’s March. When I stepped into the streets with my sign and started chanting, I knew that I could live with myself a little bit better. Because now when I continue the resistance, I’m no longer going home to the opposition.
Jennifer Merrill has a rich inner life. I’m sure her kitties will appreciate her commitment to social justice.