You could say my marriage was doomed from the beginning. The months, the days, and even the evening before, I had some major doubts. However, I kept convincing myself to go through with it because at one point I really had been in love with this person. I had even loved him so much I moved half way across the country to be with him.
The 'D' word came up just months after we said 'I do', and I really can't say things went up from there. By the time we hit year four, I was a terribly broken person. I had no idea who I was, had numbed my life with our business, and kept telling myself it was going to get better when...'
Needless to say, when never came.
Even though those fours years were probably the worst of my life, the marriage and the divorce ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm not one to say divorce is the answer for everyone, but it forced me to dig deep and discover things I never would have realized had I never gotten married.
I learned how to be better at relationships.
I saw a therapist when things were starting to fall apart. I figured even if I wasn't going to save my marriage, I needed to understand whom I was in order not to keep jumping into the same relationships. I realized I wasn't perfect, and there was definitely a reason why my last few relationships followed a same pattern.
Dating after my divorce was awesome because I realized you should never get into a relationship with an expectation that you or the other person needs to change.
I became me as I dated, and that was the most freeing moment in my life. I had four dogs, and if you weren't a dog person, well, then it wasn't meant to be. I'm an independent person, and if you were looking for the damsel in distress, we weren't going to be a fit. Everything changed in my relationships after understanding that.
I learned I wasn't crazy.
All right, so not as crazy as my ex-husband had made me feel. I had been put down for four years, but I also couldn't tell you that I was wife of the year. We were simply toxic for each other. However, he had me pretty convinced that I was a horrible, crazy person, and that I was the worst wife that walked the face of the earth.
I'm not sure there was ever a time when I felt the worst about myself than I did when we finally decided to part ways. However, after getting out of that relationship, I realized that getting told how horrible you are for four years tends to do things to you that really aren't positive. I wasn't crazy. I just was emotionally beaten down.
I found me again.
You want to know what the most eye opening experience was for me? It was when I had to write my Match.com profile, and I realized how completely uninteresting I had become. I no longer had hobbies. I had no interests, and I had to default to saying I like exercising and traveling the world. (You know because everyone suddenly loves those things when you're dating.)
My divorce made me dig deep, and really discover who I was, and what made me tick. It taught me to understand what made me happy, and what I should pursue for the rest of my life. Granted, that didn't all happen overnight, but it was my divorce that set me on that journey.
I learned how skewed my understanding of normal had become.
What I mean by that was in relationships. I was so used to someone putting me down in public, that I never thought twice about it. I was so used to someone never encouraging my dreams, or what I wanted, that I didn't think it should be that way.
When I finally did get into a more healthy relationship, I couldn't believe how normal and healthy was really supposed to be.
I learned that every bad situation has a 'tipping point'.
Yes, it's a term brought forward by Malcolm Gladwell, and a point that I've found true in every moment of life. When my divorce first happened, my mornings varied. Sometimes I woke up, so happy about my newfound freedom. Other mornings I woke up wondering how at 32, this could possibly be happening.
I questioned if we had made the right decision, and I wondered if I should go running back to him, begging. However, through every extremely hard moment, a tipping point comes where you will realize you made the right decision. For me, it was when my ex asked me to drive one of our dogs half way across the country because he didn't have the time or money. I was a bit explicit in my response, but it was that moment when I realized he had absolutely no respect for me. It was the moment where I couldn't have been happier about my decision.
So through all this darkness, there was more light than I ever dreamed possible. I'm now living my dream life, helping people live theirs. I have two beautiful children (when I was told children was going to be difficult), and I have one of the most supportive partners on the face of the earth. All because I took a pretty dark moment and dug deep to make the most from it.
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