Daily Archives: November 3, 2009

UPDATE on the sickies

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How do I live without you?

DivorceI received a question by email, and was asked to blog my answer. The question was “How did you go from being a family to move out and accept your circumstances?” From what this person has told me, s/he is stuck in a miserable marriage and is afraid to leave. Kids involved etc.

I am going to try to answer to the best of my ability. You just do it. When there is no choice in the matter, you do what you have to do to get through day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute sometimes.

For much of my first marriage I was afraid that my husband would leave. Not that there was any sign of it – it was all the baggage I brought to the relationship. My father left when I was a toddler. In my mind that was just what men do. Fact. Marriage was not for life, it was for until the men left. My grandparents had a long marriage – over 50 years. But in my mind that wasn’t going to be possible for me. Most men leave.

As such, I was always afraid to disagree with my former husband. If I fought with him he’d leave. If I disagreed with him, he’d leave. If he didn’t like my food he’d leave. The fear of him leaving colored every interaction.

I am not shy to admit that I started seeing a therapist. This behaviour wasn’t healthy. At this point there was nothing happening to warrant me even thinking my ex would leave. The first session I told her that I was married, but that one day my husband would leave. I now understand why I thought that way, that at that point it was all my unfounded fear. Even after many therapy sessions, and improvements on my part, that fear was still there, albeit quieter. (BH I have conquered that fear with my new marriage).

Our marriage, toward the end, was unraveling due to circumstances that I will not discuss publicly. I knew subconsciously what was coming, yet I fervently prayed my prediction wouldn’t come true. This was one thing I hadn’t wanted to be right about. But he left. Our marriage was over and he moved out, leaving me and the children on our own.

Honestly, the morning after he left, when I woke up, there was an initial feeling of relief. No walking on eggshells, no being afraid of the possibility of him leaving. It was a done deal. It was final. I no longer had to live in fear of him leaving. He left. I was left to pick up the pieces with the kids. By myself. And there really is no guide book that tells you how to get through those first few agonizing days when all you want to do is curl into a ball and ignore the world. Those dear sweet children needed me. They needed my hugs and my love and to be reassured that everything was going to be ok. My world AND theirs was torn apart. I had a clue it was going to happen, they didn’t.

What got us through those first tough days, weeks and months – our friends and our community. They fed us, held us, rocked us, cried with us, spent time with the kids, and supported me in every way that I needed. Without judgment. It is a time that you learn who your friends are. Some people will not get involved in any way because divorce might be contagious. Some people who you never thought liked you will send a cooked meal, a card, a phone call.

That summer I learned on the job how to be a single mom and to rely on myself. I found I had the inner strength. I could have given up and retreated into my shell and just wasted away. I chose to fight to give myself and the kids a chance at living life to the full, albeit differently from what we had envisaged.

So dear reader, if you are so miserable, do what you can to try to fix it. Counseling etc. If you have gone that route and it hasn’t helped and you are at the point of no return – you are not alone. Speak to your rabbi or clergy person. Don’t do anything impulsive. Make a plan if you can. (I didn’t have that opportunity, it might have helped) It’s horrible to be in a marriage where you are unhappy. Putting the children first is always a good thing to do – focus on them and what their needs are. Reach out to family and friends for help – asking for help is so hard, but sometimes we have to swallow our pride. Good Luck!

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