Letting Go Of Marital Lifestyle Story

I had an interesting conversation with two of my friends who are divorced. What I love about these two women are that they are brutally honest with caring hearts. They are supportive even when they may be delivering information that they can see about me that makes me uncomfortable, but I trust them to help me through the journey. And funny thing is, they don’t know each other so the message was clearly true since both of them had the same opinion.

Here’s the scenario: I’ve been in this rental with all of the items from the marriage for a few years now. Surrounded by the furniture etc. that the ex and I picked out (mostly he chose), I hadn’t realized the heavy pall that it cast on me. Here I thought I was healing (and I am), but seeing these items day in and day out, sleeping in the marital bed, are reminders of a lifestyle I don’t currently have.

Example: What began this whole eye-opening cry-fest realization was that one of my friends suggested I sell the dining room set in order to make room to get rid of the storage unit I have been holding onto since the divorce because I had no room for those items in the current rental. The thought of selling the dining room set had me bursting into tears. Being that my friend wanted to help me get to the bottom of how I was really feeling, she walked me through processing the emotions.

What I realized is this: That dining room set held memories of the lifestyle I miss and don’t have anymore. Holding onto it was keeping me mired in missing my role as wife, mom, hostess, and part of a couple who were financially stable. I am not using that set anymore because my lifestyle has changed so dramatically and I really don’t need it anymore. I could release it (and maybe make a few bucks to buy something I would like in the future) and clear the way to embrace this chapter of my life even more.

But the story in my head that unfolded was that I wasn’t embracing the new chapter as much as I thought because underneath it all, I was still missing my old life. And to add complexity to it, I don’t want the ex himself back, but I want that part of me that I had defined myself as for decades even though it no longer fits reality.

Heavy stuff for sure. But once that realization hit, it was as if the carefully patched stalwart core that I’d been holding so tightly to cracked open and a flood of tears were released. It’s easy to think that we have embraced the new life because on the surface we have. I am happier divorced than I was married even though that’s hard to say, but it’s true since he became a stranger. And I am grateful for the freedom to explore this next chapter of who I am for I have been feeling more like “me” over the past few years. But there’s a deeper layer of healing that obviously hadn’t been touched.

It took hours and two different friends to help me to untangle the dining room table dilemma. To clear the way for choosing to see it is still unfolding and processing. And while I could berate myself for my feelings, tell myself harshly to just ‘sell the darn table and move on,’ it was more than that obviously.

The good news is that one of my friends who lives nearby loves to organize and is willing to come help me to get rid of what no longer resonates in my life. This is something I’ve wanted to do from time to time, but was not able to bring myself to do it alone. So I am grateful for her offer and yes, I’ll be taking her up on it in the Fall.

Because Fall is a time for letting go. There’s some quote about the trees are still the trees even when they shed their leaves. I am still ME even when I’ve shed that lifestyle. What defines me is who I AM and not the roles I play, the jobs I have, the place where I live, the items I’ve accumulated.

And while I’ve known this cerebrally and in my heart, I’ve not chosen to really begin to release myself from this mired, tangled past in order to embrace the present Janie. But I am now…

Does this story resonate with you? Any advice or sharing is greatly appreciated if you feel like you’ve had something similar happen to you.

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12 Responses to Letting Go Of Marital Lifestyle Story

  1. scr4pl80 says:

    It is wonderful that you have such good friends. I agree that looking at the old things could be keeping you in a place you no longer are and getting rid of them could give you motivation and strength. Wonder how the kids feel about it since they share the memories. I know when I wanted to get rid of one of my bedroom lamps, our son asked me to take a picture of him with it because he’d seen it all his life (he was in his 20s at the time).

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    • janieleeds says:

      I haven’t talked to the kids about it yet Janet, but I definitely have to do that. Thanks for sharing about your son and the lamp. I think I had to digest the thought before I brought it up to the kids so that I was centered and grounded. While if they should balk and have real reasons why we should keep it, then perhaps I will. But it is the letting go that I need to work on.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an awesome story. It relates to people dying too…what will you hold on to when a parent dies? And more importantly, why?

    You’re fortunate to have such good friends to help you through the process.

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    • janieleeds says:

      Thank you. Having had my parents pass away and various family, there’s been so many times where I kept certain things and then later donated them because in the grieving moment, I had to keep it all…after time went by, I was able to let go. Great analogy thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rainey says:

    Letting go of material things can be difficult, especially when we have sentimental attachment. Sometimes that attachment isn’t obvious until a friend points it out, which can be surprising and painful.
    I moved out, gave up the family home and all joint possessions inside (for me it was hard to let go of the yard tools). However all of those things were part of a dream I had for my family. When that family unit dissolved, the dream did too and the emotional value of the material possessions went to zero.
    I hope you can find joy in new relationships, make new memories, and take advantage of a new future that you are now free to write for yourself.
    Keep the good memories, sell the dining room set.

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    • janieleeds says:

      Sorry you weren’t able to keep the yard tools. But I guess the boat life doesn’t need it? Gentle hug to you Rainey. Thank you for your kind words.
      I think “all of those were part of a dream I had for my family” is the piece that is hardest for me. You are so right…
      Now I just have to explain it to the kids….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ainsobriety says:

    I hear you.
    I wondered a lot about keeping my house. I decided I would.My kids and I are comfortable here. And, to be honest, I picked it and pretty much everything in it.
    I have changed most decor and I got a new bed. I moved things around. I made it completely mine.

    A few weeks ago I was baking and I used some bowls that were a wedding gift. I looked at them and realized I just don’t need these reminders.

    I packed up all dishes, etc that were “ours” and gave them away. All that is left is my China. I was planning to keep it, but I am going to sell it. Good riddance.

    Very early on in my separation I bought myself a new car. That was a huge step to liberation for me.

    My lifestyle hasn’t changed very much without ex, but you are very right that your identity changes in divorce. I feel like I am finding a strong, independent person in myself.

    Hugs
    Anne

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    • janieleeds says:

      Anne, so proud of you! I would have stayed in our original home if I could have instead of moving but we had to sell the house.
      Congrats on the new car and I hope you get lots of money for the china. My ex took our china because his mother has the same pattern. So strange. Now she has a set for 24. I don’t understand but it’s fine. I don’t need it. I am finding a strong, independent person in me too…yay us!
      Hugs to you too! Janie

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  5. Paula Light says:

    I was “lucky” in not having to deal with this, since we had to sell our house & I bought all new stuff for my first apartment. I don’t like memories of him around me

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “What defines me is who I AM and not the roles I play, the jobs I have, the place where I live, the items I’ve accumulated.” That’s so true and so beautiful Janie. Easily forgotten when you are part of a unit. I can certainly relate to how you feel. I am married but ME got lost along the way. I feel that I can’t have one without losing the other. Not sure how to unravel that. Sounds like you have got some decent friends around you. Hold on to them. Mercedes

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