By: Leigh Green
I never thought I would end up with a broken marriage. Years ago I resigned myself into believing that the way it was, was as much as life and marriage had to offer.Yet as my children aged, life was beginning to look bleaker. Did I want to continue to live feeling unhappy, unfulfilled and stressed out? Or was I brave enough to make a change? After 25 years of marriage and headed toward my 53rd birthday, I decided it was time to take control of my life.
I realized I had to change
In looking back I can see that the first step in my journey is when I sought therapy for myself. My family had been in turmoil for many years and we had tried family therapy, but it didn’t work because I was the only one fully engaged. My spouse didn’t see himself as part of the problem. When I started I was sad and depressed, but soon realized that I didn’t have to make any big decisions. I took baby steps. I began to reconnect with myself and learn that it was okay to have boundaries. I found my voice and learned that you can’t change someone else; you can only work on changing yourself.
I found support
The stronger I became, the less tolerant I became of bad behavior from my spouse and the more I began to disconnect emotionally from the marriage. This past January I began to work with a life coach, even though at first I didn’t know what I wanted. I knew that I was very unhappy, but not why I remained. Slowly, we began to peel back the layers and I was finally able to admit to myself that it was time to make a change. I had given it everything I had and it was okay to leave.
But with this realization came great fear. How would I take care of myself? Where would I live? How would I manage? What about the kids? My pets? My finances? How was I going to do it?
My coach helped me get informed and prepare a plan. First, I attended a local divorce workshop. I wasn’t 100% positive I was going to file, but I wanted information and needed to educate myself if I chose this path. I was told to compile financial information, accounts, tax returns, passwords, safety deposit box, personal bank accounts, etc. Next, I met with a divorce attorney. I brought the gathered information and a list of questions. He gave me clarity and ease. My coach was right, knowledge is power and helped minimize the fear.
I worked on fnding my wings
I had been in a home I loved for 19 years. But the house was too big for me and would require a lot of money and upkeep. Would I be OK leaving? One scary yet liberating weekend I decided to find out and went searching for an apartment. I found one that was beautiful, would take pets, could accommodate myself and my youngest child (my older two were already living on their own) and was manageable on a small budget. It was time to leap. I put in an application and planned a move a couple of months later so as not to disrupt my child’s school term.
Suddenly, my world began to open up. It became impossible to stay in the relationship and I broke the news to my spouse and children. It was painful and probably the hardest day of my life.
A few months have passed. I feel happy, peaceful and finally free. Daily challenges arise, but I work through them with the support team that I’ve created: my coach, attorney, family and amazing friends.
I chose to share my experience publicly because I have heard from others who are unhappy in their relationship and are not sure there are options. There are. Don’t give up: Surround yourself with a support team and do your homework. It will be painful. It won’t be easy. But, like me, you probably will never go back. The journey continues and I am ready to fly.
‘Leigh Green’ is a pseudonym used to protect her family. However, her experience is very real. You can reach her c/o firstname.lastname@example.org