If you’re honest with yourself even if you’re relieved to be out of a horrible relationship, divorce hurts. I mean let’s be real…divorce sucks! It cuts the deepest part of your heart, and makes you question everything that you are made of. It sends you on an emotional roller-coaster, and if you are the one begging to hold on to the relationship you are left devastated.
That was me.
Devastated, yet relieved.
I had fought to hold on to what was falling apart for years. Though I was devastated, I was relieved that I no longer had to endure the sleepless nights wondering if my husband was coming home. Wondering if he was out with the guys or another woman. Or wondering what was so wrong with me…with us… that he would rather be anywhere but home.
Did the kids whine too much?
Was I no longer physically attractive?
Was I no fun to be around?
What did I do wrong?
When he walked out our door, a wave of relief fled over me knowing that for the first time in over a year I no longer had to wonder. I knew he wouldn’t be coming home.
Divorce was something that from day one was never an option. The day he purposed I did the girl thing. I jumped up and down saying “Yes!” and then, in my excitement, I paused. I quickly took back my yes and told him, “Under one condition. Promise me that when times get hard (you’re naive if you think that marriage wont get hard.)we will do everything it takes to save our marriage.” He promised and we were married shortly after.
7 years later and after years of putting up with his alcoholism, not coming home, cheating on me, and all the lies, the conversation, “Get help, or get out.” took place. I’ll spare you the drama, and to make a long story short….he came home after work one day, packed his bags, kissed his kids and walked out the door.
As he left I looked him in the eyes and told him that we would be right there waiting for him when he was ready to come home and participate in the family. He responded that he was just messed up and needed to get his head straight, and that he did love me.
That night and a few phone records later and he was contacting the woman he had cheated on me with years prior.
My waiting lasted only a few hours as I wasn’t waiting for a man who refused to remain faithful.
Leaving to find yourself…..sure.
Leaving to find another woman….I’m done.
I cried, and still do 3 years later at times. But the relief of knowing what to expect after so many years of uncertainty was freeing.
In my hurt and pain I knew that for myself I had to be the one to call it quits. I had to set the boundary that it was not OK to be treated this way. It was then that I knew that I had a hard road ahead of me.
I had seen so many woman ran though the ringer, of being perpetually cheated on and yet they took back those jerks who never really changed, only to be heartbroken when it happened to them again.
Not me! Not this time.
He had already done this to me once, I was not about to allow him to do it again. I needed a way to protect myself from the lonely nights ahead. From the nights when I new I would reminisce on only the good times and tell myself, “It wasn’t that bad.” And the lies, “We were so happy.” Or on the nights that I would feel jealous of whoever he was with and wish he had chosen me instead of her.
It was then that I came up with a plan.
I wrote 2 lists.
1.) I wrote a list of all the things he had put me through. All the wrongs throughout the 10 years I had invested. All the things I had overlooked and just put up with.
2.) I wrote a list of all the things I deserved in a relationship, and all the things I wanted.
Now every time one of those feelings swept over me I pulled out my first list and read it. And I remembered the reality that I had buried under my “fairy-tale dream” when I had wanted it to work. Next, I pulled out the other list and read what I had to look forward to. How I would someday be treated.
I made myself a promise with these list though, and it is the most important part. Don’t let that first list make you stay bitter. Bitterness is a part of your healing. It is an emotion that you will go through. But, my dear, you can’t stay there. You will have to eventually forgive them. Not for them, but for you. If you don’t you will be destroyed, and will have allowed them to rob much more of your life than they deserve credit for.
So, love, make your list. Protect your heart on those emotional roller-coaster days, but use it wisely.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.- Winnie the Pooh