The Relief of Leaving Your Marriage

It was just six weeks from the night Vivianne realized she had to leave her marriage to when she moved into a apartment in another state. She’d never lived on her own before having gone from her parents’ home to college to law school to marriage. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to raise her two children. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to handle it financially but amidst those fears came relief, and Vivianne changed. Here’s Vivianne.

The relief was immediate. I couldn’t wait to have my own place where I could do as I pleased and decorate it the way I wanted without any criticism. I could come home and feel safe and peaceful and not have to worry about whether he was there and if he’d be angry or in some other mood that I’d have to appease. I moved here, my children came here and it was peaceful. It was lovely. It was liberating.

When I lived with my husband, there was a certain block I’d reach coming home where my stomach would suddenly start to clench up. I don’t have that anymore. I look forward to coming home. The children look forward to coming home.

My daughter was happy to leave. Once we moved into our new home you could literally feel her sigh of relief. She felt safe here even though there was an adjustment she had to go through with moving schools and moving to a new area.

I laugh a lot more than I ever did. Many of my friends noticed a difference. People don’t tell you this when you’re going through it but after you’re divorced, they’ll say,

“You were changing throughout your marriage.”

“You were a different person.”

“I didn’t recognize you.”

“We never really liked him to begin with.”

It’s amazing how those comments come out.

I still have my moments with my ex but I can put them aside. I can focus on children and what we need to do the next day, homework and school events. When I left, I wanted to enjoy my life and find myself again, find the person I was before I was married and feel energized again, find the ambitions I used to have.

When my husband moved out, I was also tremendously relieved. I do want to make it clear that I was not in an abusive situation like Vivianne but nevertheless, it felt so good to come home knowing that there would not be yet another discussion about why I wanted to end our marriage, knowing that I wouldn’t be tiptoeing around on broken glass, and finally having a bedroom to myself. The tension was gone and it was immediate.

When your body reacts like that, it’s telling you, you’ve made the right decision. Writer and shaman Melanie Mulhall calls it using your internal guidance system. You can use the technique she describes to guide you through your divorce process and afterward with your co-parenting. The counselor I saw while I was going through my divorce used a similar technique when we were talking about parenting plan and financial proposals. You’ll know soon enough when decisions aren’t good for you.

How did you feel when you left your marriage? Was the relief immediate? If you didn’t want the divorce, how did you feel? Was it a relief even then?

One of Vivianne’s ambitions is to write a book and she’s got started on her dreams with her blog, Vivianne’s Vista. She also covers domestic violence and abuse for in the New Jersey area. You can follow her on Twitter – @ViviannesVista .

PS – One of my favorite topics is the whole language around divorce and how much of it is negative. My friend and fellow blogger, Leisa Hammett is about to get married again and she has a great post on this. Hop over there and you’ll find out her ex is her wuzband. That made me smile.

Photo Credit: Chris. P at Flickr

  • john

    "ambitions I used to have"

    YES! I was able to play guitar again without someone rolling their eyes and sighing. I might have picked it up a total of a dozen times in the 20 years of "happy" marriage and now I play it every day. My son is learning too.
    My recent post I am John McKay’s tolerance

    • SinceMyDivorce

      Why is it that we give up things we love to do? That is so cool that your son is playing too. I've also taking piano lessons again but that was something I gave up in high school and wish now I'd stuck with it. It's hard to fit the practice time in with everything else but I have a great piano teacher who understands.

  • Melanie Mulhall


    You've made very good use of my discussion on accessing the internal guidance system. The process of divorce is certainly a process where one can make good use of any tools they have to access the internal guidance system. In fact, many of us who have navigated that process will say that it was the internal guidance system that led us to understand the marriage was over and the internal guidance system that led us to know the right moment to leave. (That said, in abusive situations, sometimes running for your life is what gets you out!) That sense of relief is what Abraham-Hicks and many others talk about. It is one of the ways you may know you're on the right track.

    Great post, Mandy!

    Melanie Mulhall

  • Vivianne

    Thank you for telling my story Mandy! Reading it in your voice was inspiring.

    • SinceMyDivorce

      Vivianne, YOU are inspiring. Stay strong, my friend.

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  • April

    Since my X used to steal my cash (after having stolen so much from my checking account that I didn't have one anymore), so I had to keep coming up with ingenious places to hide it. The first sense of relief was in knowing I didn't have to do that anymore! I've had a checking account for the last 7 years, but I still hold my breath when I check my balance. Some things just become sense memory, I think.

    • SinceMyDivorce

      Oh, that would give me a sick feeling every time I went to withdraw money or check the balance. And I agree, there are some things you do because they are force of habit.

  • Clio

    Since my divorce, I’ve known nothing but intense relief. In fact, I’m rather surprised at the extent of my relief, as I thought that I still loved my then-estranged-husband, despite how toxic our marriage had become. But once the divorce was finalised, it was as if a huge weight that I didn’t even know I was carrying, lifted off me. Suddenly I really WAS free, not just separated and living apart, and this absolute knowledge made me feel as if I had been given wings!

    Towards the end of my marriage, I did all my grieving for what I felt I had lost. I mourned my dashed hopes and dreams and I looked forward to an unknown future with trepidation. I saw an empty, lonely existence (I have no children) and this felt like an added burden on top of my pending divorce. However, I am now two years into a relationship with a wonderful man and am continually learning what REAL love is all about.

    If I regret anything, it is that I didn’t leave my toxic marriage sooner. I will never “romanticise” love again. Love for me is a real thing, with real responsibilities and real commitment.

    • Mandy Walker

      Thank you Clio for sharing this. I know there will be some readers who feel encouraged and inspired by your story. I’m so glad you’ve discovered TRUE love.