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Divorce is scary as shit. No one ever wants to think that their loving partner is now someone they no longer want to be with. Read this great post by guest author Lauren on how she handled her marriage and her divorce.
It happened 3 yrs ago
I felt alone. Lost. Confused. Unloved. I remember these feelings as if the moment I am writing about were yesterday, even though it was actually three years ago.
Three years ago I walked away from my marriage and got divorced – I left my husband, apartment, and my belongings – even my car. I had nothing left. And I felt as if I had failed the world.
I got married at the age of 22. Young I know, right? Everyone told me I was making the biggest mistake when I first got engaged, but I didn’t care. I was determined to succeed and prove to everyone who didn’t believe in me that this was the right decision.
I remember when the relationship started to go south, my heart was focused on making it work. Even though my gut was telling me that this relationship was truly wrong for me, I stayed. I was so afraid of letting everyone down… I was afraid of disappointing our families, afraid of disappointing myself.
“See, I told you,” they would probably say. “I knew it wouldn’t last.”
Divorce doesn’t mean failure
But what I realize looking back on the moment I walked away, is that I didn’t fail at all. I actually succeeded in an incredible way. I became a person I am truly proud of after ending my relationship – a person that wouldn’t exist if I had stayed.
I met my x husband at a time in my life where self love was impossible for me: I had been recently assaulted, sexually abused by a man before, and was very scared of being with other people, and also being alone. I didn’t know my worth. I didn’t feel valued. Finding my ex husband gave me those feelings. This man I came to love filled a hole in my life, a hole that I should have learned to fill for myself.
But there came a point where I realized that no relationship – no person – would ever replace the love or respect I should be giving to myself every single day. There was no person in the world who could give me what I needed to give myself – love, understanding, and worth. That point came when our relationship ended: when he put our relationship on the back burner for his drug addition.
And then my world came crashing down …..
His drug addiction, which had been a secret to me all those years together, was slowly exposing itself. Our money was disappearing and the lies were piling up. I was finally coming out of my shell, into my confidence, and learning to love myself again, when he turned my world upside down.
The person who was once my rock and comfort began to fall. He was no longer my trusting companion, but a stranger. And I realized I had a choice: I could leave and continue to grow into my own – or I could stay and fall with him.
So I left. And I was so scared. I felt every bit insecure and uncertain in that moment. I was now all alone, with nothing but a few boxed up possessions and no one but myself.
I thought that feeling of failure would never go away. I thought that giving up on my marriage meant that I was incapable of being loved in the way I really wanted. I was so scared at the thought that I would be forever alone and would never find what I was searching for.
Looking back, it was the most valuable experience of my life. Just because a journey ends, doesn’t mean that it was a mistake to start it in the first place. In fact, my decision to get married was just as much a good decision as getting divorced was.
Being married taught me that relationships should be about love. It taught me the value of simple qualities like caring for someone, sharing a life with someone, being a team together. Being honest with each other. By having a relationship lacking in those areas, I learned how important those values were to me. It pushed me off the rollercoaster of destructive relationships and made me a women who will not settle for less.
And my divorce? That taught me that no relationship could ever make up for a lack of love and respect for myself. It taught me that no one else’s love for me could ever make up for loving myself. Most importantly, it pushed me off the trail of making decisions just to make other people happy – and rolled me into a path of self-discovery.
Years later, I am smiling. I am confident. I am loved – loved by myself, and by a wonderful new man who shares the same values as me. I didn’t end up alone. I didn’t end up without confidence. I ended up with so much more than I started with.
So follow your heart. Because whether you are walking away or committing, if your heart is guiding you, it is the best thing you can ever do for yourself. I needed to do both of those things to learn to love myself. I can’t think of a more wonderful lesson to have learned.
And worrying about what other people think? I gave up on that goal a long time ago. It’s B.S. anyway. Other people’s opinions are irrelevant. Other people don’t have to live my life every day and other people should not dictate how I live it.
You Are All You Have. So Live a Life that makes you proud of that.