What Did I Do?

I began to question if I had been truly honest about what really happened in our marriage. I had never asked myself the most important question of all: What role had I played in it not working out?
09/14/2012 02:01 pm ET Updated Nov 14, 2012

There is nothing more painful and empowering than healing from and moving forward after divorce. More specifically, there is tremendous insight to be gained from the process of understanding what really happened.

Instead of looking back and reliving the awful behavior of our partner -- the infidelity, the verbal abuse, the self-centeredness, the insensitivity, the lack of passion, lack of attention and inability to partner fully -- we need to understand the real reasons that things didn't work out in the first place.

I knew early on that my marriage was not right for me. Of course, I didn't know it intellectually, but rather deep down inside, in a place thickly covered by fear, sadness, disappointment and a desire to make it work as I believed I was supposed to do.

Many years later, as my courage, confidence and sheer unhappiness allowed me to eventually divorce, I found myself in the process of moving forward. And though I knew that divorce was the right thing for me, it did not prevent the pain, sadness and exhaustion of doing the hard work of understanding what happened, so that I could begin to create the life I truly did want.

This process began with fully exploring and accepting all of the things that my husband had done to prevent our marriage from working -- all of his inadequacies, his imperfections and his inability and unwillingness to do what it would take to make it a salvageable relationship.

After all, his choices, behavior and lack of contribution to the solution was the real reason for the divorce, wasn't it?

My friends and family were perfectly happy discussing (over and over again) how imperfect he was. How at fault he was. Clearly they all could see the truth. What I realize now was that they were attempting to make me feel better by justifying my decision.

As I began to create my new, empowered and ideal life, I began to let go of my sadness, anger and frustration with beginning anew; instead, I embraced it. And as I did -- with the help of my own amazing coaches and new friends -- I also began to question if I had been truly honest about what really happened in our marriage. I had never asked myself the most important question of all: What role had I played in it not working out?

And so I did.

Answering this question promotes the greatest amount of healing. Exploring how I had contributed to the dynamic of our relationship was ultimately the key to my new life. In no way did this exploration marginalize, diminish or condone the role my husband played in our marriage. In truth, there wasn't anything either one of us could have done to make the relationship or marriage work, for many reasons. But I now understand exactly what I want to receive and what I want to bring to the table in a new relationship.

It isn't easy to ask the question, "what did I do?", because it forces us to face our own inadequacies and imperfections. And if you did not initiate your divorce, and don't fully understand what happened, this will be particularly painful. I strongly recommend that you get the kind of support that you need and deserve to do this self-exploration in a safe and comfortable way.

So, if you haven't asked yourself this question yet, why not?

  • Is it because you feel that you did not deserve the kind of treatment you have gotten from your ex, so no matter what you did, it is irrelevant?

  • Is it that his/her infidelity or abusive behavior far exceeds anything you might have contributed, so anything you did is insignificant relative to how horrible you have been treated?
  • Or is it because when married, no matter what we contribute, there is an obligation to stay in the marriage and make it work? Especially for the children?
  • Here's the truth: the greatest gift you can give yourself is to understand your role in the demise of your marriage, despite what your ex has done. Not only will this set you free, but it will help you let go and make space for what's to come.

    It's not easy. But in this journey, true healing becomes possible.

    Laura is the CEO of the D Spot, an Extraordinary Love Strategist, and Divorce Expert. She works exclusively with extraordinary women to find extraordinary love. The women she serves are passionate about creating the life and love they imagine, during and after divorce. Through the D Spot she is dedicated to helping women regroup, renew and reinvent themselves through the continuum of the divorce process and as they move forward in their new lives while designing what comes next.