Words for my Friend, Part 2

18 Sep

This post is part of a series in response to my very good friend whose husband just told her he wants a divorce. In part 1 I kept it simple. Sometimes simple is all that’s needed; sometimes we need more. This post was originally part of an email I sent to my friend. The only editing I did for the blog was to take his name out of it. Everything else remains just as I originally intended it and felt it.

Here are some thoughts from my experience (yours could be totally different)…

1. At a certain point, the time for fighting and compromise must give way to the strength, power, and love of yourself. I compromised and fought for 3 years. I’m glad I did because I needed to know that I did absolutely everything I could to try and save the marriage. But, in that time I know that I was not myself and a smaller, timid, less confident version of myself. I gave up a lot for the fighting and compromise.

2. The time thing was a big part of my separation. I had to do things in MY time. It was so important. So when my friends didn’t understand why I was being nice to him or talking to him or even still fighting for what little we had left, I (at the very least) knew I was doing what I was comfortable with at that time. I can walk away now knowing 100% that I did what I could. That takes time. However, too much time and I realized I was further compromising myself and who I am. When that began to happen and I wasn’t willing to except the shell of a person I had become, I knew that it was in fact time to say peace out. I was able to reach a place where I felt completely comfortable with my decision. Not happy, but at peace.

3. Realize what you’re fighting for. I had to eventually get real and realize that what I was fighting for was the idea of a life I wanted. In reality, my life and marriage was nothing like the image I had built up in my head. I was scared to be alone. I was ashamed. I didn’t want to be seen as a failure. In reality, I had been alone for years, nothing he did was my fault so I had nothing to be ashamed of, and standing up for myself wasn’t being a failure. Quite the opposite. Sometimes we chose wrong. Sometimes things happen beyond our control. It’s okay to stand up, face reality, and say I deserve better. Take a good hard look at what you’re fighting for and be honest with the reality of the situation. Not what the situation used to be, the situation now. Not the man you used to know, but the man that is now.

4. You can’t control his actions, thoughts, feelings, or words. What you can control is your reaction to them and yourself. You can control your ability to love yourself first and foremost and know that you will be okay. You will. When I was finally able to focus on myself and what I was doing, I was able to release the stress in dealing with never knowing what was going to come my way from him. I could not control his feelings towards me. Or how he treated me. Focus on controlling those things that are within your power. Working on myself through books, friends, and therapy. Learning everything I could about the divorce process so I would be prepared. Learning more about myself, who I am, and what I wanted. This is an amazing discovery.

5. You will grieve for the marriage like it is a death. It is. It’s okay. There is a cycle of grief we must go through and that is normal. Totally normal. Once I embraced this cycle I stopped being so hard on myself for having a bad day. For crying “too much.” No such thing, my love. This is a death. Make no apologies. People wouldn’t give you a hard time over grieving if a family member died, or even if it was your significant other. What some people don’t understand is that it feels like a death because the person you knew is gone. The marriage you knew is gone. No explanation, just gone. It is 100% okay to grieve and take your time in doing so. Again, time is all yours to do with what you please.

And that is installment #1 of Amy’s divorce advice. Probably the biggest thing I would say now is to really know what you’re fighting for. Are you really looking at reality or what you wish reality was? Are you fighting for something that is truly there and worth saving or are you fighting because you are scared or feeling any number of other negative emotions? Why don’t you want to face life alone? Why don’t you think you can live without him? Why don’t you think you can handle not talking to him? What is the reality now? Today. And let me just say that reality can be a very difficult thing to face but until we face it we won’t have a true grasp of the situation. It’s important to know why you’re fighting and what you’re fighting for. If you figure those things out and you still want to fight, then we can move forward from there. Maybe instead of focusing on what’s in his head, let’s look at what’s in yours and see what we can do about that… that we can control.

I love you,
Amy

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