One question I often ask my interviewees is, “With the benefit of hindsight is there anything you have done differently?” When I asked Two Kids And a Fish this she said she would have left sooner. Here’s Two Kids And a Fish to explain:
[contemplate1] Is there anything I would’ve done differently? I would have left sooner. I always say that but I don’t know if I was emotionally ready and strong enough to do it. I feel like I lost so many years. I think I was forty, forty-one by the time I left.
If I’d left sooner my oldest would not have had to endure as much as she did. That’s a really big thing to look at for me as a mother. And knowing what she went through.
It is hard to look back and say, I should have done this, I should have done that or left earlier but that is the one thing. If there was anything I could do to erase some of what my oldest endured, I would.
I used to say, “At least I’m not being abused.” I was being abused. I was being verbally abused, emotionally abused and no one whether a man or a woman should not have to endure that and should not have to take it. If your husband or your wife is not willing to get help you have every right to make your life better. You shouldn’t have to endure that. You shouldn’t have to live your life that way. It takes a toll on you. It takes a toll on your confidence, on your self-esteem, on your heart, on your health and it makes it harder to leave. It’s disempowering you.
It’s easy for me to say now. When I meet a woman or a friend tells me about someone they know, I say to myself or I say to them, “They need to get out of that situation, why don’t they get out of that situation?” But I think to myself, I didn’t. I didn’t for a long time. It’s easier said than done.
But it is possible, it absolutely is possible and there will be people there in your corner that will show up and be there for you and help you fight your battle or be just a shoulder to cry on, or someone to bring you groceries when you have no food, they’ll be there for you. You will be surprised at the people who will be there for you. And you’ll probably be surprised at the people who won’t be there for you. But, it can be done.
My life is a thousand times better, now. I am in much better health. The health issue that I was dealing with that started me thinking about divorce, I’ve completely reversed it. I am almost a hundred percent in the clear.
My doctor chalks it up to the divorce. He said there is such a difference in my health and my bloodwork from when I was in the marriage. It’s night and day. I told him that losing thirty pounds helps and that I feel I lost more like 250 pounds to be honest.
Now all the things I always wanted to do, I can do. I’m traveling more, I’ve reconnected with friends and I’m going to be traveling with people who were very close to me. I don’t know if everyone has a bucket list. Everyone should have a bucket list and, I’m working on it.
I absolutely understand what Two Kids and a Fish is saying here: it doesn’t matter what other people see or think you should do, you have to wait to end your marriage until you know you’re ready for the challenges divorce brings. This is why when someone says they’re not sure what they should do, my response is to wait. They need to wait because they’re not ready. Something will happen, like how Two Kids And a Fish’s husband responded to her health scare, and then they will know.
And BTW, knowing and being ready to leave doesn’t mean knowing what your future holds. It’s almost the exact opposite – it’s knowing that everything in your life is going to change and feeling ready to take on that uncertainty.
I chuckled at Two Kids and A Fish saying her thirty pound weight loss felt more like two-hundred and fifty! I felt like that also. I know the list of life’s top stressful events puts divorce right at the top along with the death of a spouse but just being in a troubled marriage is stressful (and harmful to your health) and that isn’t even on the list. Perhaps that’s because it’s an on-going situation rather than a specific event.
Looking back at the end of your marriage, what would you have done differently? What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating divorce now?
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