Often I have asked myself this question. More hours than I’d care to admit, I’ve rehashed this question in my head, with my trusted inner circle of friends and with God. Heck, I’ve even asked my STBX (soon-to-be-ex), but I could never get an answer that helped me to heal.
It seems that there are many of us who are dealing with marriages which have ended or are ending now. I have met so many women who had their partners just not want to do this anymore. Some of them have been on the separation/divorce roller coaster for awhile like me and others are just dealing with the sudden separation and currently are trying to straighten it out in their heads so that they can move on.
You remember those days, don’t you? The looking back, trying to find what missing piece you didn’t see? The questioning of yourself of what you did wrong or what you could have done right to make him stay? The blame game we play on ourselves when we are the one who was left – so it’s our fault that we didn’t make them happy enough to stay, etc. The vulnerable state of ‘poor me’ that we can stay in if we don’t figure out an answer that we can live with in response to why he left. Or the opposite anger state of rage that can follow.
Here’s the answer I found.
His leaving was a gift to me.
Yikes! How can I say this to you without sounding all Pollyanna-like and delusional? You’re ready to hit the delete button, aren’t you? You may be thinking: Forget her, she doesn’t understand what I’m enduring. But wait. Please. Stay for a moment.
There are gifts in his leaving you. There’s a freedom in allowing yourself to continue to grow in mind, body and spirit without restraint. Most of the time when a spouse leaves, when we really look back honestly in observer mode, we can see how the marriage hasn’t been satisfying to us either for awhile before the break up. That takes vision though and sometimes it takes healing time or a really good friend to show it to us. But it’s there. Believe me.
Once you realize that, you can see how the disconnection between you and your spouse has grown which can be a natural offset of stress, work, children, responsibilities, etc. and you can begin to understand that sometimes the disconnect becomes so wide that there’s not enough to bridge the gap. And that’s when it all falls apart.
Honestly, I never wanted this situation in my life. I never wanted a divorce, nor a separation. I loved him and I hoped to continue to support our marriage and weather the storms. Frankly, we’d been through a lot in our marriage and I thought we were a bit shaky, but that the foundation of love and commitment was still solid. I was wrong.
But I’m seeing the light of freedom. Part of our crumbling relationship was that we weren’t growing together, but instead, we were growing apart. Where I thought I was giving him freedom to play his sports 3 nights a week for stress relief, I was also enabling his disconnection from our family. The darker his moods became, the more my love light repelled him. I thought that my compassion for his stressful job and gratitude for his hard work would help to bridge the widening gap between us, but instead, it made him more resentful. His darkness grew as my light grew. Now years later when we are divorcing, it’s evident that even though he left, he’s still extremely unhappy in his circumstances. Even though I was devastated to be left, I am now thriving. I still haven’t changed my glass 1/2 full, rose-colored glasses sense of self. I am still kind to him. I am still me, and even more free to be me and starting to blossom as the days inch closer to the final divorce.
So my advice to you is to see the good in what is happening in your separation and divorce. I have financial worries myself so I know it’s not all roses because those thorns are sticky. I’ve lost an entire family unit (his) as a result. But what I still have in my life are my kids and myself. I’ve grown stronger since he left. I’ve been learning to like myself, I mean, really like me and appreciate my inner loving light. I am evolving into whom I have always known myself to be innately and it feels good.
I want to help you on this journey. Reach out. Sometimes in telling our stories, we can make sense of what’s happening when we hear ourselves recount the story in our head of how it came to be. Sometimes a kind listener in observer mode can be helpful as well because we’re not in your story. Or we’ve had a similar experience in our own lives and we can shed our life wisdom with you.
I’m here to support you, to help you, to hold your hand while you endure the unthinkable in your life. Don’t be shy. We are all here to help one another through the life lessons that this journey gives us. We don’t have to do it alone. Strangers can help when needed – remember the line, strangers are just friends you have yet to meet.