I know I promised a Part 2, however I believe an intermission is needed here. Hopefully you will agree.
As I mentioned in my last blog my husband told me he wanted to leave the marriage in about our 7th year. It was not the first time he made this announcement, but it was the first time he meant it to the point of separation. Of course we couldn’t be like normal couples who go through a separation. No. We had to have an in-house separation because frankly he had no where to go. *evil chuckle inserted here…just kidding…no I’m not* As difficult as it was, it was also the best thing that could have happened to me as an individual.
How could a in-house separation be the best thing that’s happened to anyone? That must have been an ongoing, never ending, every agonizing minute of every agonizing day (get the picture?) state of torture for you!! If these are your thoughts you would be right. But from the worst thing I could have EVER imagined happening to my marriage actually happening, I emerged as a whole person. I emerged as ME in the making.
Without getting into all the boring details of our failing marriage I will tell you that the separation hit me like a ton of bricks. There were some serious “Ah Ha!” moments going on. And not the kind that examine everything he was doing wrong, which I’d already been doing since the day we got married…maybe even before that. It was a kind of awakening that opened my eyes to what I had been doing wrong in the marriage. Yes. It’s true. I had faults I needed to face. (Don’t worry this isn’t me blaming myself alone for the downward spiral of our relationship. I am fully aware he too contributed rather generously to the cause.) It was as if I could see myself for the first time and I wasn’t liking what I was seeing: An insecure woman who identified herself as being a wife and mother, rather than an individual who was also a wife and mother, which caused her to constantly feel inadequate and lacking because she was never good enough to make everyone happy, especially not her husband, which in turn made her cling to her husband even more by trying to control who he should be and what he should do to make her feel better about herself. AHHH!!! See what I mean?
This is the kind of self revelation that knocks the wind out of a person. The kind that makes a person hibernate in the safety of her comforter never to see the light of day again. Honestly, if I didn’t have children, that’s probably exactly what I would have done. But I do have children and they needed me to be sane and have the where-with-it-all to provide for their needs. So I had to do something about it, and I did. I went to counseling for myself. I realized that what I had become was a culmination of deeper issues I never really got out and examined. I needed to get to the root of the problem when all I’d been doing for years was dealing with the symptoms. I kept putting band-aids on the boo-boos (<– did I mention I have children) and they kept getting ripped off. And we all know what a bitch that can be.
My Personal “Ah Ha’s”:
1. I was severely insecure
2. I wasn’t sure who I really was
3. I thought that if this separation lead to a divorce I was a failure
4. I was incredibly afraid of failing
5. I had a deep seeded fear of screwing up my kids
6. I got married for the wrong reasons…
…In fact I don’t think I was ever in love with my husband. Rather, I chose to love him…BIG difference (I know this now but back then I still thought “in love with” was the same as “infatuated with” and either didn’t really exist or was a mistaken emotion. Boy was I WRONG!!!)
What Counseling Did For Me:
1. Addressed my insecurities by telling the lies I thought about myself the TRUTH about myself (sometimes over and over again until it became my own truth).
2. Allowed me to pay attention to what I found enjoyment in and what I liked about myself which in turn aided in my identity development.
3. Made me realize that as long as I did everything within my power to save the marriage I could NOT control the decisions my husband made, nor was i responsible for them! (This may have been the most profound revelation).
4. Gave me an understanding that failing is not the worst thing that can happen and I was going to be okay no matter what.
5. Taught me that as long as I loved my kids and they knew it, they would turn out just fine.
6. Reaffirmed that Yes, I did marry my husband for the wrong reasons and now it was time to try and make it right.
So the moral of today’s blog…get help! It’s okay to NOT have it all figured out. Counseling was the first and necessary step to my healing process. There were many others that followed (as I’m sure I will share with you in future blogs), but counseling opened the door to allow change in my inner, most hidden places.
As a side note: My husband could see the change that was occurring in me and apparently he found it attractive. After almost a year of in-house separation he decided he wanted to work on the marriage. SUCCESS!! Or so I thought. We did become closer and for the next few years we had the best marriage WE had ever had. BUT it was still a troubled marriage, and when only one person is making the effort to work on herself and make necessary personal changes, a great marriage it does not make. At some point the other person in the relationship needs to take ownership of his mistakes and his part of the whole that is marriage.
Okay, intermission is over. Stay tuned for Part 2 of The Divorce That Changed My Life. (I really promise this time).