Hardened to Love
But the crazy thing about divorce is that it not only hurts the person who got left behind, but apparently it also hurts the person doing the leaving.
For those of you that have never gone through a divorce, I say congratulations. And for you, I paint this picture…divorce is like having a piece of yourself ripped away, it’s like a dull ache that never goes away. Divorce makes it hurt to breathe all day, every day in the beginning! It is a deep, searing debilitating pain. It’s a pain that I do not wish on anyone, not even my worst enemies!
Clearly, divorce sucks! According to statistics, the only other event in life that causes more stress to oneself is the death of a spouse. Divorce causes more stress than let’s say getting fired or going to jail. But probably the most stressful part of divorce, if you are the one that was dumped, is the fact that your spouse, or the person you once loved dearly, is still out in the world walking around. And if you have kids, it means you still have to see that person several times a week. It’s not like a death where you don’t ever see that person ever again. Not that I would ever wish death on my ex, but in hind sight it might have made the transition from being loved and married to being divorced and unloved, a lot easier.
The first couple of years after my divorce, the pain just kept coming and coming. Sometimes I would get a breather and think, “oh good, the hard part is over”, but more often than not, when I was overcome with that particular feeling, more trouble was just around the corner.
What made my divorce so awful and debilitating at times, you might ask? Well, in my case, I loved my husband dearly when he walked out on us. I thought we had a good marriage. Did we have a great marriage? Probably not, but it was good. Looking back now I think we both fell into the trap of being only parents and the deeper we got into this role, the quicker we fell away from being husband and wife, friends and lovers.
When my ex left he could never really say that he was leaving me for someone else, someone who could offer him more than I could. So he did the unthinkable, he blew me away with a couple of shots to my self esteem that took me almost four years to recover from. Are you wondering what he could have possibly said or done that was so bad? I bet you are!
Early on in our separation I could never get him to admit that he left me for someone else, even though it was confirmed by some of his friends. He left me for someone he worked with. Talk about a crushing blow…and if that wasn’t enough, instead of him telling me that at the time he took the other route, the route that I thought would always be unforgiveable. He told me, in these exact words,
“I don’t love you. I have never loved you. I am not attracted to you and I have never been attracted to you.”
I will NEVER ever forget those words or the distances in his eyes when he said them to me. You can only imagine what those words did to me after 15 years together(7 in a relationship, 8 married).
Those words sent me into a downward spiral, mentally, physically and emotionally. A spiral that took me years to come out of. Years of therapy and positive self talk. Years of knowing I was not the person he said I was, but not knowing how to believe it. In my mind it was just as Julie Roberts says in Pretty Woman, “the bad stuff is easier to believe.”
I knew that I would never be able to forgive my ex for those hurtful words. To this day, I still cringe when I hear them in my mind. I still get nauseous when I think of that moment in time.
I thank God every day for sending me good friends and a good therapist to help me get over those
comments. For I know now that my ex did not mean what he said. I know now in so many ways that he was just scared and didn’t know what else to do.
I could only hope one day to receive an apology for that moment in our lives. I know not to expect one, but if I ever got one, I guarantee you it will mean more to me than anything in this world ever has.
My ex and I have come a long way in these past five years. But more importantly, I feel like I have become the person I was before we had kids. I am an independent woman and thinker who loves life and all that it has to offer. Sure, I’m still a good mom, but I have also figured out how to balance being a good mom while still persuing my dreams.
I lost my identity once my ex and I had kids! But I’m proud to say that I have found myself and like myself. Never ever again will I let any one individual hurt my self esteem like that.
But what I will say to my ex, if he is reading this is, THANK YOU! Thank you for setting me free and allowing me the chance to see who I lost! For that I will be forever grateful! I still wish every day that we could have figured out a way to keep our independence and still be one happy family, but it wasn’t in our cards at the time.
Here’s to the future!
Love is a Battlefield