This is a full-loaded question, and the answer is more complex. Finding someone to love is easy, but finding someone who will love you back is the hard part. I recall being so afraid the day I decided to call it quits and go my separate way. It was Valentine’s Day in 2010 when I cranked up my car and drove up north to the state of Virginia.
I remember thinking “what am I doing” the whole time I drove five hours across state; if I could only get there in time… is what I kept saying. In time for what? Just in time! I had to escape to some place far, and I needed to get away as quickly as possible. Reflecting on that moment, nearly four years forward, I now understand that it was important for me to drive a distance to any place far so that I could gather my thoughts.
It wasn’t until I arrived home later that night that I began to realize the magnitude of my issue. I was 23-years old when I got married, and I intuitively heard a knock on my door of youth in a world that was more experienced than I had become. I was a wife, yet advancing to the level of a 39-year old single woman with an almost 3-year-old for whom I was responsible.
Several thoughts crossed my mind, from depriving my daughter of two loving parents to pondering if I could make it on a bachelor’s degree with no stable career. Therefore, I struggled with the decision to move on to create a better me or to stay in my marriage for the sake of faux marital bliss. So I chose the former, and I have never looked back with regrets.
Separation is scary, but living with someone when you are emotionally detached and mentally separated is toxic. The process from separation to divorce is a near death experience because the person you grew to know, grew to love, trusted with your soul, trusted with your life, and would give your all has now become a person who is foreign to your being. Thus, you must recondition yourself and understand that what was is no longer; yet, you must also learn to find a way to create a better you.
To my surprise I immediately began working on my Master’s degree, taking online classes and graduated in less than two years. I thought – what better way to work on me than to self-invest! I began to train my mind to think positive things only, and I made a vow that I would put forth every effort to give my all to things that carried a degree of significance. Today I am a doctoral student who works as a contractor, on my own terms, and I have hopes of completing my PhD by 2015.
So how does a women recover from a divorce after almost two decades of marriage? The answer will vary and it depends on the person you ‘grow’ to become. Listen to your intuition! Further, it is important to realize that separation and divorce may be the end to something terrible for some, but to others it could be the beginning to something great. Today I am a better me because of my experience and it was a lesson learned, and they are as follow:
- Exhaust all options. Seek marriage counseling so that if separation or divorce does occur you have given it your best shot.
- Give it your all. You cannot give 50% of yourself and expect 100% return on your investment.
- Reciprocity. Relationships are a two-way agreement. You must give to receive.
- Plan. Always have a contingency plan. Love does not pay the bills.
- Compare and contrast. Never, ever compare yourself to others because hoping for what one has may be the wrong thing for him/her and they may not realize it.
- Laundry. Do not engage in outside counsel unless s/he is a professional. When a couple seeks and listens to outside advice, e.g. from a mother, father, friend, etc. they are inviting guests to the home who were not asked to visit by the spouse, which usually leads to subjective outcomes.
Marriage is a beautiful thing when both partners are willing to make a conscious effort to remain together. Please share your tips! What keeps you on the path of marital bliss?