Why Divorce is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

11 Mar

I never wanted to be divorced. I meant my vows. I wanted my marriage to be for life. I pulled from every ounce of strength I had to try to make it work. But there is a point of no return where none of that matters anymore, even if you want it to. Instead of being “until death,” my marriage barely lasted two years.

How does that happen? Unfortunately, there are many ways. This isn’t the story of my failed marriage. That is laid out in the rest of this blog, which serves as a journal that chronicles the unraveling of an unhealthy relationship. This is a post about making the decision that I never thought I would make, and how it changed everything.

I’m not proud of being divorced. Even though it was the best decision I could have made, the only healthy choice, and the reason I am now happy, it still weighs on me. I never wanted to be that person. The one who gives up. I have come to accept that admitting defeat isn’t a bad thing when it means acknowledging your failings and learning from them. Still, I wish I hadn’t gotten myself into that situation.

I am writing this from the couch of the beautiful home where I live with my fiancé.  The perfect ring on my left hand keeps catching the light.

I wish that the marriage I’m about to enter into was my first.

It isn’t, though. To get to where I am, I had to come from where I was. That sounds silly when I write it out, but it’s true. Going through those things taught me a lot about myself, about relationships, about what I do and don’t want, and about what’s really important.

I have moments where I wish that everything was different, though. I wish that this relationship with this man was the one I’d waited for. That I had never married my ex. Never put on a big show for hundreds of people where I declared that he was my mate for life. Never tried to force myself to believe he was as good as it was going to get. I wish I hadn’t cheated myself out of the experience I should have had.

People have emailed me to ask, “How do you get past the stigma of divorce?” I want to say, “Easily.” I handle it matter-of-factly.  I was straight-forward about my divorce in my dating profile, mentioning it right in the first paragraph.  When the new IT guy asked about my previous name, I casually answered with the facts.  Instances like that have come up over and over again since my divorce.  I can be flippant about it, even make jokes.

It’s not actually that easy, though.

It’s not so much society that holds onto the stigma. It’s me.  The end of my bad marriage manages to occupy the spot as both the best and the worst thing.

I want to be able to say it’s just the best thing. Because that is partially true. Getting away from him is the best decision I could’ve made for my future happiness. Leaving an emotionally abusive relationship was as necessary as air to my well-being. I had to get out of a marriage where I felt unloved and unwanted by the person who was supposed to love me more than anyone else. I couldn’t handle the lack of intimacy, trust, sex, respect, and all of the other things that are vital to a healthy partnership. So yes, leaving was the best choice I could have made in a shitty situation.

But that shitty situation was the worst. It was really awful. And the worst part of it all is that I put myself there. The stigma for me isn’t so much the end of the marriage, but the fact that I entered into it to begin with. That’s the decision that haunts me sometimes. That I’m not married to him anymore is great. That I ever was is one of my biggest regrets.

The truly terrifying part is that I didn’t have any doubts on my wedding day.

None.  At all.  Which is ridiculous because there were so many red flags and major issues with our relationship, including the fact that he had cheated on me at least once that I knew of at the time.  We weren’t compatible sexually, we had completely different work ethics, values, and views on things like drug use.  I could never envision having children with him (which I justified by saying I wasn’t interested in children rather than face that I couldn’t have children with him because I couldn’t count on him).

Despite all of those glaring issues, I was able to bury my head in the sand, pretend like everything was perfect, and have the big church wedding I let him pressure me into (I was never interested in any of that since I’m an introverted atheist).

I won’t say that my fiancé is perfect because he’s not.  No one is, and certainly no relationship can be.  That’s something I wish I had accepted before.  Trying to be the perfect, happy, vision of what I thought an engaged couple should be is one of the things that enabled me to push aside all of the things that I would have recognized as deal-breakers if I had looked at my relationship honestly.  Admitting imperfections in myself and my partner has allowed me to examine them, address them, and determine how they can be worked out (if at all).

This time around I am being honest with myself. Neither of us is perfect, but he is amazing for me and I’m amazing for him. We have fights and issues, but we work them out together. I trust him completely.  I don’t doubt for one second that we can and will have a lasting marriage that will be the cornerstone of our future family.  I know that because we’re both committed to it, we love each other through all of our imperfections, and we can laugh at each other and ourselves when we make mistakes, then apologize as necessary.

I don’t think I will ever stop wishing that I hadn’t married the wrong person first.  But I am glad that I found the strength to divorce.  I’m also grateful that I used that experience to learn.  It prepared me for the marriage that I will be in for the rest of my life.  All things considered, that mistake got me to where I am today, and for that I’m incredibly thankful.

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11 Responses to “Why Divorce is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”

  1. Anonymous May 9, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    Hi there!

    I am so happy you didn’t completely leave the blogging world. You post made my day, it is so inspiring. I wish I was so strong as you are. Instead I still live under the same roof with my SAH. We are in a way separated, but I know I cannot heal if he is here.

  2. Muse May 8, 2015 at 9:07 am #

    Hi Beautifulmess7.

    I, also, can relate to your story. And I, too [unfortunately], I’m still married but we have had no kids even after living together for 10 years. I’m turning 28, getting graduated finally this year and since the beginning of this year, I’ve been setting deadlines to tell him that we NEED to divorce. But everytime the deadline comes, I set another one, and another one.

    But it gives me courage to read ‘you’ and how happy you are now. My parents never told me there was a time that enough was enough. I’ve had to learn it the hard way. So I’ve kept on forgiving when he betrayed me, when he was rough to me, emotionally abusive, passive-aggressive, control-freak, multiple imaginary food allergies, when he lost money in business even though I had advised him on the matter. Now all I want is to make sure he suffers the most before I leave. Not sure this is the best way out but he is so harsh. Bipolar too. Sometimes he could be sweet, but that does not make me any sweeter anymore. You know when you’ve reached that stage where you emotional account is empty. I’ve been independent, working and earning for a living. I contributed half of the money to our big wedding and didn’t even ask for a penny to anyone. Like a big girl and I am still proud of being that kind of girl. Buying everything he needed and making sure no one would ever ever say that I was a young enternained woman. Because there are also 17 years of age that separate us. Instead, I have entertained him most of these years. And when I took the decision to go back to university 3 years ago, leave my well paid job and take care of my carreer aspirations, and force him to take a decent job. Well. Guess what?

    He started complaining about him having to pay for all the bills. Hell that’s exactly what I’ve been doing the past 6 years! Now that graduation is coming, he is contemplating with much enthusiasm my future job. The fact that i will again cater for all his needs. Buy him nice and expensive gifts. This horrifies me and I’m looking forward NOT to give him that satisfaction. BUT, I am afraid to live alone, like a big girl. I can’t go at my parents, because again I feel the need to be strong and not bother anyone.

    What’s worse, I never wanted a baby and could never understand why couples had babies almost 1 year after their marriage. My mother was a single mom…you know. Long story made short: I stumbled upon my ex boyfriend November last, we had a chat and kept on keeping in touch for months now and suddenly the urge to have a baby [from that ex-boyfriend] came to me. I seriously thought that I was losing my head! Because the desire to have a baby is absolutely new and strange to me. While my husband has been asking me for a baby these past 5 years or so.

    I know, it’s a lot to consider at the same time but this exactly is my situation. The problem was never me. It was with him. It IS with him. Looking forward to hear from you soon.

    M

  3. recover3 March 21, 2015 at 5:28 am #

    I could have written a lot of what you have – one major difference being that I did have doubts on my wedding day and the days leading up to my wedding. And of course there is the fact that we are still married (although currently separated) and I’m about to give birth to our second child.
    I’m still desperately trying to make my marriage work. But you gave me some perspective when you said you don’t regret getting divorced but the worst thing was that you put yourself in the shitty situation. I think that’s my issue – it was ME who put myself here. I made the choice and I don’t want to even contemplate the idea that I made the wrong one.

    • beautifulmess7 March 21, 2015 at 7:49 am #

      You’re in a really tough place. Pregnant, separated, betrayed, and living with the reality that the doubts you had on your wedding day are playing out in the worst way. It is difficult to face the mistakes that we make. Especially when they are huge, life altering ones.

      One of the easiest and most destructive things I can do to myself is continually ask “what if”. What if I had seen sooner that he was a user? What if I had left him the first time I discovered he was being unfaithful before we were married? What if I had called off the wedding a few months before when we had that big fight about his disrespectful behavior and he got violent with me? What if I had never begun that relationship? I wouldn’t be divorced. I wouldn’t have spent years in emotional pain. Maybe I wouldn’t know what it feels like to be cheated on and lied to. Maybe “gaslighting” is a term I never would have learned, or if I had it wouldn’t be from personal experience with a manipulator.

      It can go on and on. All of it is useless, though. I can’t change the past, including the horrible decisions I made. I try not to be embarrassed by my horrible decision and terrible choice in a partner. Sometimes I fail miserably. Sometimes I beat myself up. But the reality is that all of those bad choices and experiences led me to where I am. It forced me to tackle the codependent part of myself. If made me face the self-destructive pattern and recognize that I was choosing bad partners because of my lack of self-esteem and hero complex. It helped recognize that I truly want a partner, not a project. My series of poor choices forced me to face things about myself that HAD to be faced.

  4. MeAndDating March 12, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    Stigma? What stigma?! It’s a badge of honour, I say. It proves I’m the committing type as well as brave enough to walk away and to try again.

    I was happily married and even more happily divorced. Only divorced people get that; everyone else is ignorant.

    I don’t think people should be allowed to get married under the age of 25. The human brain only matures then.

    There have been times when I’m having the best sex of my life with a new lover and I thank myself for getting divorced. It’s the little things…

    • beautifulmess7 March 12, 2015 at 11:12 am #

      That’s a great perspective. 🙂

  5. thewondermya March 12, 2015 at 5:41 am #

    What a beautiful post, full of hope and faith, it made my evening, thank you !

  6. Patricia March 12, 2015 at 4:11 am #

    I can relate to this only it took me 32 years to walk away

    • beautifulmess7 March 12, 2015 at 6:26 am #

      I’m glad you were finally able to make that decision for yourself.

  7. shawn March 11, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

    Seems you had to take your path to find that right person for you. It had to work this way.

    • beautifulmess7 March 21, 2015 at 7:57 am #

      That is true. I wouldn’t have found my fiancé without the perfect chain of events happening just the way they did. In fact, I met him after a night out with a friend that I made through my blog. I wouldn’t have reactivated my dating account of I weren’t there with her. The first time I saw his face was on the screen of my phone while lying in her spare bed. I certainly wouldn’t have felt “good enough” for him without all of the work I did during and after my marriage failed.

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