Divorce

5 Divorced Women Share What They Wish They Had Known Before Marrying

Woulda, coulda,  shoulda, isn’t that how the saying goes? If I knew then what I know now would I have married the man I did knowing how badly it ended?

As women, many of us envision married life as having the white picket fence, 2.5 kids, Prince charming by your side, and living the American dream; happily ever after.

Then, you get married. Reality sets in. Many of us realize we got into a relationship that we don’t see lasting “til death do us part.”

I asked a handful of women in my network what they wish they had known before they got married.  I got a variety of answers, but what stuck out to me the most is that every single one of us wrote in one way or another that we wish we knew before we got married that we were enough. Every single one of us settled on someone because we didn’t think we were good enough to get treated and loved the way we deserved.

Below 5 Divorced Women Share What They Wish They Had Known Before Marrying

1. RM- Married 7 ½ years, together for 9

I wish I would have known how much work you need to put into a marriage every single day.  You have to treat your marriage as you would a full-time job.  You have to work at making your spouse the #1 priority even if you have kids. Plan regular date nights, have sex on a regular basis, go on trips together. Don’t let good sex cloud your judgment over the things that really matter in a long-term relationship, especially marriage. You have to be friends with your partner first. I never considered my husband my best friend. He would always comment that I always sounded so much happier when I was talking to one of my friends. Truth be told, it’s because I was. I was able to be myself around my friends. I wish I would have known that if your boyfriend seems to be a bit bossy, that will turn into full on controlling behavior as the relationship progresses. And with control means that you become a shell of a person you once were because you get beat down so much. You start to question your own worth. I will never ever allow a man to determine my worth again.

2. SS- Married 8 years, together for 21

The one thing I wish I’d know before marrying was that I would be ok being alone. For many years I stayed in an unhappy, codependent marriage because I was afraid. I was afraid of being lonely, afraid of being a single mom, afraid that I wouldn’t be able to make it on my own financially, afraid that our son would think I’m a failure, afraid of all the unknowns. So I stayed, disconnected from life, going through the motions, not feeling a damn thing. I was an empty shell breathing. I remember frantically crying the day he asked for a divorce. Not because I was sad, but because I was scared to be alone. But I started to realize that I had to make a new beginning. My life was craving a new journey, one that was defined by me. I slowly started to feel the life radiate back in the soul. I began to feel free from the prison of my own thoughts and what I realized was that I was ok being alone. I was enough. I am at peace and I feel whole again. I finally found the freedom from my own insecurities.

3. EN- Married 4 ½ years together for 8

Looking back at myself, if I knew then what I know now, I would have waited longer to get married.  At the time I was sure about my husband to be and thought he thought the same about me.  What I did not realize was I was blind and did not know the real man my husband I married was until he wanted a separation.  It was through his inability to be serious during our separation did I realize I could not remain married to this man as it would have led to a miserable, false life.

4. MT- Married 4 years, together for 11

One thing I would have known before marrying; I wish I knew that I was good enough, so I didn’t have to compromise and settle for less. I wish I was confident enough to talk myself out of the relationship that was full of compromise. I wish comfort of being married never took over my desire to live free.

My ex-husband’s family was abusive towards me from the start. My ex was the youngest of 3, with 2 older sisters with very strong and narcissistic personalities. My ex was quiet and his way of coping with his family problem was to let them be, and not rock the boat. When I came into the picture, his family started to attack me by doing things that hurt my feelings or made sure that I knew I was never included in their family functions.

I was wishing and hoping that my ex would stand up for me. After 11 years of being together, he never did. I don’t think he knew how.

So I compromised. I told myself “This is it; I must make this work because this is what I deserve. I can never find a man better than him.” Deep inside I knew I didn’t deserve all abusive behavior coming from his family, but I was comfortable. We were married, we had financial stability, and we were doing ok. So I let the comfort of being married take over my desire to live free.

But at the end, I have no regrets. It was my opportunity to learn to get to know myself, love my imperfect self, fight for my freedom, and understand that I am good enough. I am not going to give this freedom up again easily because it was damn hard to get it.

5. JK- Married 3 years together 7

I wish I knew my worth…

I was 22 when I met my ex-husband.  I was so young and stupid and within a year and a half had an oops pregnancy, got married a couple years after and immediately pregnant again, but then about a year-and-a-half later, separated for divorce.

So… my worth… I wish I truly understood my worth. Of course, there are a million things I wish I would have known and understood better about my ex-husband and his family, but ultimately, it comes down to me. Nobody really taught me my worth, at least not the right people.

Although I thought I had high self-esteem and I definitely was an accomplished individual, good daughter, star athlete, great student, loyal friend, highly sought-after employee.

But, I was lacking the deep understanding of my worth and had no one to guide me into healthy, respectful, worthy, romantic relationships. I was missing the key importance of setting a healthy standard for my own match.

It took me time, help, discipline, and motherhood to value and better understand my worth.

We all make better choices when we know more and I believe it starts with knowing your own worth.  Truly understanding the meaning; having expectations for ourselves to challenge each other to be better and grow.

I am remarried now and have such a better understanding of my worth. I purposely have consistent conversations with my own children so they truly understand their worth so that they set healthy, appropriate, and fair boundaries and standards, and take their time.

I wish I knew my worth, we always need to start with ourselves, because knowing yourself makes all the difference.

In closing,

I believe my favorite fictional character sums it up the best.

Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.

Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

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Life

My Two Year Check Up

I’ve been neglecting my blog for way too long. It’s not because I haven’t had anything to write, it’s because I’ve had too much to write and I guess you could say that I got overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. But today is the day I have decided to write it all down. Lucky you,  my faithful readers! LOL!

I’ll start with my feelings as I quickly approach the 2 year mark of my divorce being final.  I am not exactly where I want to be emotionally, but I have come a long way. And that is something I need to remind myself of when I am too hard on myself.

I can truthfully say that I am almost to the “Meh” phase when I think about my ex, deal with my ex and look at my ex. I don’t think I will ever like my ex, and I know I will never respect him.  I am at the point that after he opens his mouth and tries to have his every annoying friendly chit chat with me I am reminded about all the reasons I was so miserable in my marriage. I don’t miss a God damn thing about that man and that I can say with 100% honesty. He’s still with fugly and all I can do is laugh at the absurdity of their dysfunctional “relationship.” He has zero friends, isn’t close with his family, and so therefore uses her for company. She thinks he walks on water and is so insecure she will take whatever she can get from him, so she accepts the tiny little kibbles he throws her way. Their relationship actually makes me sick to be honest. Two severely dysfunctional people trying to fill their emotional holes with each other’s insecurity. Chew on that for a few minutes. All I can say is GROSS. She can have his lying, cheating ass for as long as she wants. I am forever done with that POS.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I reflect on my own self-discovery and on a good day I realize how far I’ve come. I am not even the same woman I was when I was in my marriage. I have stepped outside my comfy box of contentment so many times; it’s actually becoming more of a habit. I started this blog; I am hiking mountains that two years ago would have put me in the hospital from exhaustion. I’m volunteering on a regular basis, where I have met so many new friends. I have a good life. I really do.

And here’s where I get real and really lay it out there. I struggle, and I have struggled a lot lately with my depression. I’ve suffered from this for years off and on and realistically I think it started after my mom died over 30 years ago. But it wasn’t until after I had my daughter that I started taking medication. The medication helps, but that damn black cloud of despair still rears its ugly head from time to time and the past few months that black cloud hasn’t gone away. I think a lot has to do with the weather here. I don’t remember having such a grey and gloomy winter in years. This year has been bad. I had my yearly physical a couple weeks ago and my doc upped the dosage on my happy pills and I started taking vitamin D, which I think is helping. I am starting to see my way out of the fog.

I’m exercising on a regular basis, which is the first time if my life I can say that. I exercise for my mental state now, as much as I want to tone up my body.  I guess you could say that exercise is keeping me sane.

There are days that I miss my dad so much it physically hurts. I cry during random times and even had to leave work early a few weeks ago because I couldn’t stop crying. Grief is funny that way. It sneaks up on you and most times it’s at a moment you didn’t see coming.

I am starting to accept the fact that I’m going to have bad days. I’m going to have days that I don’t want to get out of bed or I want to cry all day because I miss my dad. I can have those days. And I am no longer going to feel guilty when I do.

I also have good days. I will never take those good days for granted. I start each day with a grateful heart and remind myself of all the wonderful things I am so fortunate to have in my life. So many things that we tend to take for granted during our normal, mundane life. I have a roof over my head, I have all of my limbs, I’m healthy, my daughter is healthy, and a really awesome kid to boot. I have friends, a lot of friends that I am eternally grateful for.

Even on those not so good days, I’m eternally grateful to be here breathing and alive to take it all in.

 

 

Divorce, Grief, Life

What Being In Therapy Has Taught Me About Life

Today I made the difficult but right decision to let my therapist know that I would not be coming back after today.  The last 6 months with her have been so helpful and empowering. She gave me tools that I will use forever to succeed in my journey of healing and self-discovery.

This decision also makes me a little sad. I really like my therapist. We just “clicked.” If I would have met her randomly at a party I would immediately like her. I could tell she really “got” me and what I was going through because low and behold she had gone through the same thing! I think it was fate that I found her when I did. Every single time I walked out of her office I felt lighter, refreshed and ready to take on what life was ready to throw my way.

I’ve been to therapy many times in my life, but never for very long. After a few sessions I felt I got what I needed or didn’t get anything at all so I would stop going. The last time I was in therapy was with my now ex-husband. He was in the midst of his affair, but forgot to mention said affair while we were in counseling. But, that’s water under the bridge and I have moved on. For the most part anyway.

Here are a few things the last six months of therapy have taught me.

  1. When on a journey of healing from a painful divorce and dealing with the residual anger that comes with that experience, be easy on yourself. You’re going to fuck up and go to crazy town once in a while. And that is ok! You just want your visits to crazy town to become further and further apart until eventually you never have to visit that place again.
  2. Self-healing is a lot like training for a marathon. You can’t go from chip loving, pizza loving couch potato to running a marathon in one day, just as you can’t go from damaged and angry to peaceful and loving in one day. It takes time, work and reconditioning to get where you need to be. Whether it is physically or emotionally. When I get mad at myself because I fucked up and behaved in a way I shouldn’t have I remind myself of this. You can’t go to the gym one time and walk out with six pack abs. Boy would that be nice though.
  3. Life is hard. Really hard. For all of us. We are all fighting or have fought battles in our life that we wish we wouldn’t have. Therapy is something that I think is still taboo and people are afraid to talk about.  Therapy has been a life saver for me. Truly. It has been worth every single penny. I think everyone should have a therapist just as everyone should have a primary care physician or a dentist. Mental health care is just as important.

The last few weeks have been the best I’ve had as far as talking myself off the ledge when I start to think about my ex and what he did. A year and a half ago I would text and/or call him and berate him, scream and cuss at him all day long. Now I remind myself of all the reasons I’m so happy we are no longer together.  This replaces my need to go harry carry on him. A few of those reasons are:

  • I live in a house where I no longer have to walk on egg shells.
  • My stomach doesn’t turn when I hear the garage door opening knowing that he is home.
  • I don’t worry about getting micro managed in the kitchen and being told what pot to use to boil water, or god forbid how to properly load a dishwasher. I now get giddy when I turn on a half full dishwasher. Why? Because I can, damn it!
  • I spontaneously decide what to have for dinner each night instead of having meals pre-planned. God forbid we go out to eat when it’s taco night! No more of that. If I thaw out chicken in the morning but get a hankering for Thai food. Guess what? Thai food it is!
  • I no longer have to deal with a fuddy duddy who never wanted to go anywhere unless it was within a 5 mile radius of the house. I can do what I want, when I want and don’t have to deal with a wet blanket while doing so.
  • My daughter now has a happy Mom who is redefining herself every day. And that is a beautiful thing.

 

My journey is not over, not by a long shot. I will keep working on my healing and self-discovery until the day I die. I now have the tools in place and the mind set I need to keep trudging on no matter what life throws my way. I have my therapist to thank for that.

 

 

Divorce, Grief, Life

When Can I Have That Breakdown I So Desperately Deserve?

“Everything happens for a reason.”

“When Life serves you lemons, make lemonade.”

“The glass is always half full.”

These fluffy, positive life sentiments are my life mottos. Or perhaps I should say was my life mottos.

I’m getting a little jaded as I get older. Life just sucks sometimes and life can be really unfair.

In the span of a year and a half I found out that the loving, sweet, poem writing, compliment giving husband I married was actually a sociopathic, cheating liar.

In May of this year my upbeat, always optimistic, happy, always smiling dad got diagnosed with Lymphoma and died two months later.

An ex-boyfriend I loved so madly and deeply at one point in my life many moons ago suddenly reappeared and just as quickly left my life once again.

Sometimes an ubur positive, living a life of gratitude woman can only take so much before she’s ready to have a breakdown. That someone is me.

I have always loved life and always looked on the bright side of every situation, no matter what was thrown my way.  Before my divorce and death of my father, I had been through a lot of setbacks and heart ache. My mom died when I was 12, I’ve had my heart broken by ex-boyfriends. Like really heart broken. Like five years to get over heart broken. I’ve been dirt poor more years than I haven’t been dirt poor. I’ve always had self-esteem issues and feelings of inadequacy.

But still, I managed to pick myself up and live my life. Live a life full of joy. People always compliment my smile and say that I smile a lot. Well, truth be told that smile as of late is fake.

Melissa Etheridge has a song called Breakdown, which is my theme song that is constantly playing in my always “on” brain.

When in life do we just have to surrender and say “enough is enough?”

I think as women we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders because we have so many people depending on us. This could be our kids, our spouse, our boss, or friends. I was talking to my therapist and I told her that I feel like I’ve been holding up this brick wall for so long, that right now my arms are shaking so bad that I’m about ready to let that wall fall down and crumble right before me.

How do I exercise that muscle so I can continue to hold that wall? Or do I need the wall to crash, so I don’t need a wall to hold onto at all?

I do know this. I have a little person depending on me. She needs me as much as I need her. I may have given birth to my daughter but she has actually saved my life. If it weren’t for her I probably would have drank myself to death after I found out about my husband’s affair. I would have not been able to find the strength to move on and find help to rebuild my life. It was because of her that I did find help and work on rebuilding our new life together. A life that up until a couple months ago was a good life. A life of love, peace and laughter. The death of a love one will put a damper on the peace and laughter, at least for a while.

As they say, “The show must go on.” But there are times that I just want to close the curtain and call it a day.

I don’t know if that will happen. I’m too busy living my life to have the nervous breakdown I so desperately want and deserve to have.

Ladies, I want you to know that it’s ok to be weak once in a while. It’s ok to cry and not want to get out of bed in the morning. There are a lot of us out there, but some too proud to admit.

I am one of those proud that is finally ready to admit it.

Dating, Love

Wanted: A Part Time Monogamous Boyfriend

Recently, two different girlfriends who are both in long term marriages have told me that sometimes they really envy my life.

Since getting divorced almost a year and a half ago, I am able to pretty much do what I want, when I want. Now, this is not necessarily the case when I have my daughter, but when she’s at her dad’s every Tuesday night and every other weekend I have eight days every month to do whatever the hell I want. And I LOVE that. I really do.

I can go meet friends, go hiking, volunteer, or even do absolutely nothing!!! Which, truth be told I have been known to do from time to time. It’s me, my couch and usually some true crime show either that I have on my DVR or that I’ve found on the ID channel. I am a classic introvert and need “me” time in order to function. I am fortunate that as a single divorced mom I do get that.

I really do have a great life and I’m in a good place. I have an abundance of friends, some that I’ve known almost all my life.  Other friends that have trickled in throughout my adult life that I consider to be some of my best friends I’ve ever had. I live in a wonderful neighborhood in a super cute townhouse, I make enough money to pay all my bills and usually have a little extra at the end of the month, which I am so grateful for.

My daughter is adjusting remarkable well since her dad and I split. I can’t complain about too much.  Life is good!

But, and there’s always a but, I sometimes miss having a partner to share life with. I find this especially true during the holidays, or when my daughter has a school event. Instead of having other parents feel the tension that exudes when my ex and I are in the same room together; it would be nice to have someone I love next to me to enjoy my little girl growing up. It would also be nice to have a partner to share the dull and mundane things that happen in life. Maybe it’s as simple as something funny that happened to me, or if I had a bad day at work. It would be nice to have someone there that I could share these things with.

And there’s sex. Oh, how it would be nice to have consistent sex with someone. I’m sure Duracell is going to be sending me a thank you card in the mail any day now thanking me for all the money I spend on batteries. Why is it that as soon as I got a divorce my sex drive has sky rocketed?  A girls got to get those needs met somehow.

But, and there it is again. With a relationship comes compromise. And that is what I am just not willing to give up at this point. I like calling the shots. Whether it’s about what I’m doing, or not doing for that matter.  I like being able to decide what to have for dinner every night.  I don’t need to check in with my partner to see if they’re in the mood for Thai food. (Which who in the hell isn’t?  ) But, you know what I mean. I want a part time, monogamous boyfriend. To me, this sounds like the ideal situation. All the fun without a lot of the work.  Think “friends with benefits” but that lasts forever.  This sounds so simple, easy and what I think most people, even married folks would really want.

Why is this so hard to find?

Divorce

How I Celebrated The End of My Marriage

I got a very quick divorce. As tumultuous as it was, I know my ex and I both wanted to be done. He had cheated, I was pissed and I wanted to be rid of him physically and legally as fast as I could. From the day I filed to the day my divorce was final was slightly over the 90 day waiting period that my state mandates.

I could not wait to go back to my maiden name and get back to the person I had lost during my marriage.

What did I do the day my divorce was final? I met some friends for some celebratory drinks and had sex with a guy I met online.

After meeting my friends, I met my new online dating friend at a bar and after a couple drinks he asked me if I wanted to go to his place. I gladly accepted the invite. As I was following him to his place he turned into a parking lot of a place I didn’t recognize. It was a pot shop! Pot had recently become legal in my state and these types of shops were popping everywhere. We walked into the store, showed the door man our ID and read over the menu (a real menu) of different varieties of pot we could choose from. We made our selection, paid and were on our way.

This man was also newly separated and had left his family home and lived in a one bedroom apartment with only a futon and TV in his living room. No pictures on the wall, nothing else in the place!  I felt like I was back in my early 20’s when having a futon was a luxury.

We proceeded to get stoned out of our minds and one thing led to another and I was in his bedroom taking my clothes off. The sex was good. It was really good. After we got done, we got dressed and went back in his living room and started to watch Game of Thrones. After watching Game of Thrones for about 5 minutes we somehow made our way back to his bedroom and were naked and having sex again. We finished, put our clothes back on and vegged out in front of the TV for what seemed like hours so I could sober up enough to drive home.

I finally sobered up, drove home and was met in the door by my step mom who had been in town with my dad and they were babysitting my daughter. I felt like a high school kid that got caught sneaking out. I avoided eye contact at all costs so my step mom wouldn’t notice my blood shot, still somewhat stoned eye balls.

I never saw this guy again after our little tryst. Sure, he texted me a few times, but honestly he was a super nice guy, but I felt zero spark. And I think he felt the same. We both had an itch that needed scratching. If I were to ever run into this man I would gladly give him a huge hug and see how he’s doing post-divorce. He was a nice man, but just not for me.

I am not sure that I would remember that night so vividly had it not been a celebration of sorts. I will admit that even though my marriage ended so badly and I wanted out and hadn’t loved my husband for years I still felt a little sad that my marriage was officially over. I actually surprised myself when I felt that wave of sadness overcome me.  I certainly didn’t go into my marriage thinking I would get a divorce, that’s for sure. It was the exact opposite. I remember thinking that when we started to have problems that I would make sure to work really hard and had confidence that my ex-husband would too. Ha! Little did I really know how bad things could get in a marriage.

Each year on April 24th my smile gets a little bigger knowing that I am officially free from my marriage and all the emotional pain I was in during those last couple years.

Cheers to D Day!

Divorce

How To Tame The Beast When It Wants To Run Wild

I went there today with my ex-husband. And when I say there I mean that ugly place where I say or in this case text something where instead I should have just taken a deep breath and moved on with my day.  I have been doing  good for a long time staying silent when I really want to go a little nuts or say something really passive aggressive to my ex.  My tongue has the bloody scars to prove how much I’ve been biting it the past few months.  But sometimes I can’t tame the beast and it unleashes like a caged tiger jumps at a fresh raw piece of meat once that cage door opens. Today I was that tiger and my ex was that piece of meat.

My ex lied, cheated and betrayed me when he decided to have an affair. I’m more upset about the betrayal more than anything. Neither one of us was happy the past few years of our marriage, but even so when we fought (which wasn’t really that often) we were never the type to cuss, scream, degrade and yell at one another. We fought like real adults. We talked about what was pissing us off and didn’t need to tell the other person to fuck off.

Well now I have days where I would love to shout FUCK YOU from the roof top. I want to hear it echoing miles around me so that bastard knows what a piece of shit he is. Is this healthy? No. And I know it’s not. But isn’t it ok to still go crazy once in a while? When is the perfect time to let it all go? I don’t know the answer.

Why do I still harbor this anger and resentment? Is it because the last few times I’ve seen my ex he tries to play nice and make small talk?  Any sort of friendship or idle chit chat will not be happening. That all went out the window when he decided to fuck his mistress in our bed for a year and a half. This mistress whom he met on the married dating site www.ashleymadison.com. Can you say “Jerry Springer?” I’ll also add that my ex’s mistress now girlfriend looks NOTHING like the woman Ashley Madison promotes on its homepage.  On a scale from 1-10, I’d give her a 4 at best, and that’s being nice.

I think what it boils down to is this harbored anger and resentment is really about me. How did I let this man who I spent 9 years of my life with make such a fool of me? Why didn’t I do anything when my gut told me on numerous occasions that something wasn’t right? Why did I ignore all the warning signs that something wasn’t right? Was I too lazy and not ready to leave? Did I not love myself enough to think I could do it on my own?

But, I hung in there for my daughter and step son. I’m the one that recommended we go to counseling. I did want my marriage to survive, even though I knew deep down that I had fallen out of love with him years ago. But now I get angry again, who in the fuck goes to marriage counseling in the midst of an affair and doesn’t bring it up? My ex-husband!!! My God, is he a sociopath? How this man sleeps at night is beyond me.

I am going to take a deep breath, count my blessings and play with the scars I’ve created on my tongue.  I have a feeling I’ll be biting it a few more times before I can finally say I’m over this and I have officially moved on.