No matter if it was mutual agreement, one partner was blindsided, or you were cheated on and could not regain the trust and the love simply just died. No matter what your situation was that brought you to this place, it just sucks!
As I have been reading over and over again about people who go through a divorce, nobody goes into a marriage thinking this is how is going to end. In my case, to everyone on the outside and at the beginning of the relationship it all seemed like a fairy tale story. We met right after graduating high school, went to college together for a year before I had to move to the US. We decided to be committed to our relationship even though we were barely 18. After we both graduated college, we decided to settle in the US instead of back in our home country; we knew we could have a better future here. After all those years of long distance relationship we were finally about to embark in the adventure we had been waiting for. We could finally get married, live together and follow our dreams and desires to get what we wanted. It all sounds great in paper, it all seemed great in person, except that because of our commitment for each other at such a young age, and the distance that marked our relationship, I never really got to fully grow and develop who I wanted to be.
At the time I thought I wanted to be his wife, his partner, his support system, not really thinking about who I was just as an individual. Not thinking too much about my passions and my own personal goals. As timed passed and after almost 9 years of marriage I asked him for a divorce. It was what I needed to do. I felt I was broken, I had been feeling that way for over 3 years now. I had reached a point where I could see how my future just wasn’t that bright idea of happiness I had thought about or dreamed about years before. I was just empty, sad, depressed and anxious all the time. Turns out our personalities simply were not compatible, we could not fulfill each other’s need and we never learned to respect each other’s space completely because for some strange reason we thought if we didn’t do everything together or were not there to support each other in every single moment, we were showing we didn’t really loved each other.
Now I don’t really want to talk too much about the details of my last years of marriage, I want to write about what I have done to hold my decision and push myself through this unbelievable heartbreak. When I left I felt free, I also felt sad, I also felt doubtful. Here are some of the things I had to do to keep myself breathing while the world around me just disappeared:
1. I created a support system through friends: I couldn’t really have my family right next to me immediately since we live far away, so my friends became my family. They had been for a long time, only now I saw them in different light. They were there for me, to take me out at night and help me forget what was going on in my life. Give me a little bit of an escape scene. I was also able to cry with them, to tell them how some days were almost unbearable, while others were so much better, were I felt proud of finally putting myself and my happiness first.
2. I traveled to break from the familiar environment and reconnect with family: Through the years of my marriage I felt my family was placed in the back burner. I was never able to find that healthy balance in the relationship where my family didn’t feel like a threat to our relationship (both my ex and I are equally at fault here). So I booked a plane ticket to visit my brother and nieces whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. I would say my relationship now with my bother is so much better than it had ever been. We talk often, we share our thoughts, our visions for our future, we just communicate so much better now. We used to only talk to each other on birthdays and holidays. I am happier that finally after all these years I feel that no matter what, my brother has my back and I hope he feels the same way about me.
I also went to Europe to visit my mother who was there for a long stay. We talked like never before, I was able to be honest with no fear. I had failed in my marriage but I had no regrets. I told her how much I had learned from it, how in a way it shaped me to be who I am today, but it was time for me to keep growing and be even better than I was. A happier version of me. I talked to my dad often over the phone, more than we normally did.
3. I reconnected with my passions: I cooked without the pressure of having to follow a certain eating style or having to prepare meals by a certain time; and when I didn’t feel like it I just ate out or made something really simple that was going to be enough of a meal for me. I took dance classes for over a month. Not worrying for a second that this was taking time away from anyone. I created a blog and took random online seminars, still trying to reconnect with the artistic side of me.
4. I had plenty of alone time to reconnect with myself and try new things: I read more now, I got a coloring book. I explore the neighborhood and go on leisure strolls. I have the freedom to live how I want to live, taking it one day at a time.
5. I had to teach myself about loving myself again: I was lucky enough to have a friend who was taking glamour photos for a very reasonable price. I decided to give it a go and have the lasting memories of photographs to remind me that no matter how hard this year in my life has been, I am still beautiful, I can still be strong, and I was able to put myself back together as a single person and not as someone’s wife or life partner. It is part of finding that lost identity that I actually never really gave myself the chance to create.
Sometimes it gets really really hard. My ex and I decided to go through this process in a very amicable manner because no matter what we respected each other above all and knew we could be friendly enough to reach an agreement on what we wanted out of the divorce. But every step we take towards making it official is a reminder of how this story is having an ending that neither of us had predicted or ever thought could happen. As we both try to move on, I reflect on what we did wrong and what we did right and hope that we can both take all the lessons learned, avoid most of our previous mistakes and be better partners to whoever we choose to spend the rest of our lives with.
There is no manual for marriage, and there is definitely no manual for a divorce. I wanted to write about the things that helped me go through it. I hope some of these can inspire some of you and help you in a positive way. Life gets better, it has to. I refuse to think it could be otherwise.
It is a bitter sweet goodbye, I hope the future really brings us both the happiness we thought we would find and have in each other because we are both good people who truly deserve to be happy.