GUEST BLOG: Thriving After Divorce
Okay, obviously it doesn’t start out great, and one has to learn to thrive, but once you get to that place where you accept life and heal those wounds, it's pretty amazing. It's no easy road, and there are bound to be some bumps or holes along the way, but TRUST THE PROCESS. It's something I was told early on in my journey into divorce.
I was with my ex since I was 15, and he was the only person I had ever been with. We were together 18 years, married 9, and we had 4 kids together. The decision to leave him was not an easy one. I had been on the fence about it many times over the years, but I was so scared. I was scared to hurt him, scared of how our kids would handle it, and scared as shit to be alone. I had never dated! My confidence was pretty non-existent. So, for the majority of 18 years, I made the best of my situation, and to be honest, I hoped that one day, my loyalty and love would prove to be enough for this person to treat me the way I knew I deserved. After several IN YOUR FACE reality checks, I realized things were never going to change, and I wanted to be happy! So, I had to make a change!
When I told him that I was done for real and leaving him, he did not take it well. For months, it was non-stop begging and pleading. It was exhausting. I had been in therapy for about a year at this point, so I had learned my focus needed to be on myself for a change. I needed to do whatever it took to help myself first and foremost.
My focus had been my kids. I needed to be at my best so that I could be the best mother I could be for them, because they deserve that much! Having 3 daughters, I knew they looked to me for life examples, so I wanted them to look up to me and see a strong, independent woman. Not the scared, helpless, zero-confidence woman they had seen for too many years. My oldest, being a teenager and almost the same age I was when I met her father, was really starting to scare me. So now, more than ever, I really needed to make sure I was setting the absolute best examples.
It was hard for her at first, she kept having to witness her dad fall apart and wondered why she never saw me crying, so she took that as me not caring. Quite the contrary, I was a mess. The only man I had ever been with and loved had ruined everything 10 times over, and now I needed to learn how to be alone- while raising 4 kids! I cried inside constantly. I fell apart whenever I didn’t have the kids. It was seriously one of the hardest transitions I had ever had to endure.
On the upside, this experience has brought me so much closer to my kids. We talk about everything- nothing is off limits. We have built such a strong bond of trust and communication- something we didn’t have before. Before, we were always so scared to be completely honest about things because of what their dad may think or say. If we didn’t share his views, we were automatically deemed wrong or “slow”, as he used to say. So, it became natural for us to not have a voice or talk about things because we were scared it would get back to him.
Since leaving, myself and my kids have learned that we have a voice and that our feelings matter. That has been the biggest, most positive transition yet! We have each come out of our shells and are becoming the best versions of ourselves, and it's absolutely beautiful. To see my kids and myself thriving after so much darkness is such a blessing. I can honestly say I never saw myself living a life like this or having the outlook on life that I do now.
So friends, if you are in the beginning, or in the thick of it- whether it's divorce or letting go of a toxic relationship of any sort- hold on! Don’t avoid the motions, the feelings… embrace it. One moment at a time. Before you know it, you will be thriving and on the road to living your best life!
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