I want to talk today about something extremely personal and difficult for me to talk about. I know that I don’t ever owe anyone an explanation about my personal life, but I want to be real with you. It may seem like I share everything about my personal life thru social media, but I really only share about 20% of my life. I tend to be a more private person and keep most matters just amongst my family and closest friends.
My hope in sharing on this delicate subject is that it will help others who are going thru a similar situation.
John and I are divorced. I will admit, I never thought I would ever be saying or writing these words. This has been the hardest decision I have ever made in my entire life. We started the process of separating in January. Our divorce just recently became finalized.
What went wrong? Nothing major, there wasn’t one thing that brought us to divorce. No one cheated, no drugs, no abuse. It was more like 1000 small things went wrong. We got married very young when we were still babies. As we grew up, we grew apart and out of love. We became room mates and friends. That’s how we have lived for a very long time.
John and I mastered how to coexist and run a home and family together as friends. Not even my family knew I was unhappy. I’ve always been very good at putting on a happy smile and acting like everything is okay. But that isn’t a way to live. Everyone deserves to be happy and in love. Being married to your room mate is very lonely. Every woman desires a romantic relationship, full of affection and to be taken care of.
Having children is what made me hold on to the marriage for so much longer than I probably should have. I put all my feelings aside and neglected my own heart. I kept thinking that if I try this, or we try that, things will get better. They have to get better, I have children! I don’t want to raise my kids in a broken home. But eventually when things get worse year by year I was forced to face reality. I then thought to myself, what’s worse… Raising kids in a home where Mom & Dad fight and don’t show any affection or love to each other? Or raising kids with divorced parents who get along as friends?
It may be easy for someone to say that money has gone to our heads and ruined us. It is the exact opposite. John and I have struggled financially most of our marriage. I would often use financial stress as a reason why our marriage wasn’t working. “If I work harder and earn more money, our financial stress will go away and we will stop fighting and we will finally be happy”, I would tell myself. Then we got to a place where we didn’t have financial stress any more, yet we were still fighting and unhappy. I was forced to face the fact that we had serious marriage problems there were never related to a lack of money. The root of the problems were in our relationship.
How are Caleb & Sofia? Obviously a divorce with young kids is extremely hard! There is no way around it. John and I went to counseling to prepare for how to tell our kids, what to say and what not to say. They were of course devastated when we first told them. We talked to them about this a couple months ago while John was still living at home. Now that he has moved out and has been on his own for a while, the kids are still getting adjusted to it but are doing so much better than they were a few months ago. They both told me the idea of a divorce was much worse than it actually is.
John and I made a promise we would never talk bad or say anything negative about the other person to our kids. We are trying to make this process the least painful it can be for them. A divorce in itself is so hard for children, I don’t want to add to it and make it any worse than it has to be.
How am I? If you had asked me a month ago I would have told you: I have good days and I have bad days. And some times it goes moment by moment. One minute I am doing great and very positive about the future, the next I’m bursting into tears. The loss of a marriage is similar to mourning a death. At times it has been very difficult to keep myself composed for my children, for my job, or for life. At other times I feel very motivated to keep moving forward and excited about what my future will bring.
At this current moment, I am feeling great 95% of the time (a month of healing can change a lot!). I feel strong, independent, and excited for my future. When one door closes another one opens. I’m stepping into a new chapter of my life full of endless possibilities. I have kept myself busy with Caleb and Sofia. I have been working on myself a lot with reading, therapy, church and praying. When the kids are in bed at night, those couple hours before I go to bed are always the hardest. Those are the moments I can feel lonely. I have learned to fill that time with reading or watching a good movie.
When I got married I thought it would be forever. Last month was my 15 year wedding anniversary. When I was newly wed I had so many dreams and goals of what we would be doing, where we would be in 15 years. Only a couple months into marriage I had already started planning a trip for where we would go to celebrate 15 years. I never imagined on that day I would be getting a divorce and starting over. One of the hardest parts in losing my marriage is accepting the loss of a dream.
There have been many moments of extreme loneliness. After being in a relationship for 15 years, I’m not used to doing anything alone. The first night I was home alone was very scary, and sad. I have to admit I drank an entire bottle of wine, watched chick flicks and cried. I have had to relearn how to be on my own (still learning). How to do everything myself and be completely independent. All while taking care of my children and my home. Props to all the single Moms out there, it’s hard work!!!
What now? John and I have remained friends (I know that sounds cliche but it’s true). We still do things together with our kids. I think this has helped Caleb & Sofia tremendously with this adjustment. They get to see us as Mom & Dad who are friends, even though we aren’t married. We both attend family birthday parties, we will take the kids to the movies or have a meal together with our kids. We plan on spending holidays together with Caleb & Sofia and family.
Now that we aren’t married there isn’t anything to fight about. All of our problems were in our marriage, in all of the husband and wife stuff. Take the marriage away, and we get to be just friends. We have children together, which means we will be in each others lives forever whether we like it or not. We may as well make the best of it and get along and be friends. Any time I get frustrated, I picture Caleb and Sofia’s faces in my mind; this always helps me take the high road and do the right thing.
Next steps… It has been an adjustment for me to be single. I haven’t been single since I was 19. I went from being single living with my parents, to being married and living with John. I have never lived on my own. It’s been very strange (and uncomfortable) going places and showing up to events alone. I’m told I will eventually get used to it and even enjoy being single. I really hope that is true!
Right now I am focusing on getting myself into a healthy mindset, going to therapy and getting healing, attending church and bible study. And putting most of my attention on Caleb & Sofia. I want to build back up a new life, a new normal for the 3 of us. My love for my kids is my driving force every day to get out of bed and keep moving forward! I want to show them that their Mom is a strong, independent woman!
I want to thank all of you for your continued love and support for me and my family. I can’t put into words how much it means to me. I think about all the DM’s, emails and comments I’ve received from caring people asking if everything is okay. I have seen them all and they have helped me get thru this process. Thank you so much! And I’ll see you next blog post :)