06/15/2011 12:20 pm ET Updated Aug 15, 2011

Divorce, One Year Later

Looking back, I view my 15-year relationship/ marriage as an addiction. My boyfriend/ husband was my drug and I acted like a crack addict, pursuing him with a compulsion and urgency that is easily comparable to a woman who will do anything, absolutely anything to get crack or heroin.

I was so involved in his life that I almost lost mine. Actually, sadly, at this point, I had no life to lose, because I had none to speak of. I had no personality, no interest and nothing that meant anything to me, but him.

When somebody asked me how I was, I would answer by telling how he was, whatever exciting project he was working on, his health, his problems and his triumphs.

Of course, being such a boring and helpless doormat didn't help to make me more attractive to him. His contempt and pity for me grew bigger every day until I was a ball of shame, frantically trying to get his approval.

Then one day, while he was on his way to NY, I was working on his computer. Suddenly, the beep of an incoming mail got my attention. Without thinking much, I clicked on the mail and there it was.

Until then it had never occurred to me to snoop. I used his computer all the time when I was at his house. Yes, I know, one would wonder, why we were married, when I kept my own apartment? That was because he was not the father of my daughter and it seemed wrong to me to have my daughter live with a man who was not her dad, when she had a totally devoted dad who was in her life exactly as much as I was. I as supposed to move in once she turned 18, just a few moths away.

But back to the mail. It opened up like an evil poisonous flesh eating plant. It was from a women swooningly informing him that she had arrived at the hotel room and was waiting for him. I don't want to go into details, but let me just say that she was very ready and prepared for his visit.

I started to shake so hard that I almost dropped the computer. This had to be a joke. Maybe one of his many groupies? But then I followed the trail of emails and there it was, as clearly as the sky after a heavy rain: An affair that had been going on for years.

I left him.

I sank into a gaping hole that felt like death.

I wanted to die and I started to take actual and real actions and prepared. When I realized what I was about to do and how my daughter would be so wounded and hurt that her life would certainly turn to shit, I turned around and left the hotel I was about to check in to end my life.

I walked out of my husband's mansion all the way up on Mt. Washington, away from money, power, prestige and total humiliation.

I walked up those stairs, got into my car and drove down the winding roads I'd driven thousands of times before.

I did not die. I lived and the people that came into my life at just the right moment showed me that there could be something worth living without him.

Now, more than a year later, I'm at peace.

I look at how much I had loved this man with all of me, with all my heart, with a ferocity that made me love him even when he had stopped loving me and I know I can love. We had a real connection and a love that lived underneath our craziness, our fights, our constant break-ups, our doubts and fears of closeness. We shared the ugliness of our addictions and we both fought to save each other.

I still love him. I rarely miss him.

Because by losing him, I got myself back.

It was my friends who gathered around me and took my weeping calls at 2 AM and assured me that I was a person, a woman, an artist, a lovely and loved human being and a blossoming power to reckon with. They slowly convinced me that I had a right to exist, a reason to exist
and something worthwhile to contribute.

My friends became the cornerstones of my new life. They saved my life. And of course, my lovely daughter, who needed a mother that was alive and present when she went through her own, crushing depression.

Today, I am grateful. My brain is my own brain now. I used to think and judge the world with his brain, not mine.

It was a painful growing experience, but now, I got my own self.

I see now how I used him: Allowing him access to my mind was awful and ugly, but safe. Safe, in that I did not have to use my own intellect and critical thinking -- he laid it all out for me -- but that safety never felt right and kept me in shackles and caged. I was so immersed into his problems, his depressions and his career, that I did not have to look at my own depression, (lack of) career and my own fears. This bigger- than- life- man did all the worrying and raging for both of us -- no need for me to feel my own terrifying reality and mortality. I was hiding behind him and blamed him for all my failures and my own anger at the world for not providing me with what I had dreamed of.

Now, it is me I wake up to and most days, I love who I am. With all my flaws and talents, with all my very own demons, my own struggles and doubts. I'm part of humanity, walking in my own heels.

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
We’re basically your best friend... with better advice.