When I was a hurting LBS, I did not want to read stories about individual recovery; I wanted the proof that a marriage - my marriage - could survive anything. Without my H, without my family, what was left?
My marriage did not recover. I did. As incredibly painful as divorce was, I now think it was the best decision for my xH, for me, and for our children.
xH and I began dating in college and got married right after graduation. We had a lot of happy years and a few hellacious ones in the middle that I thought we resolved with MC. I was wrong. I believe my xH had an EA with a coworker, which pushed him to leave in October 2010, 6 months after our 10th anniversary. Our daughter was 4 and our son was 15 months old.
I was so debilitated by the pain and fear that my mother moved in for a week to take care of me and the kids. Before she left, I told her that I was going to have a great life, but the journey to get there would be awful.
Parts of it were, but I cannot believe how much I've learned. So much that my mom and I recently had an in-depth discussion on codependency, boundaries, and enabling, and at the end she told me that she really respected my views on relationships and that she had a lot to learn. That was mind-blowing for me (parents are supposed to know everything, right?).
I read everything I could get my hands on about relationships, and I recognized a lot of areas where I had messed up. I analyzed my marriage and made a list of my shortcomings as a partner, with a plan for how to fix the parts of me I wanted to improve. I sought counseling for myself and my daughter. I found examples to follow - my mother, a coworker, the people of MA - and I watched to see how they handled similar situations. I strove to put my children first in every single decision I made.
I was initially terrified to be a single parent of two small children; now I'm a pro. I had no close friends of my own; now I have half a dozen women in the area who I can call on for help. I had almost no life outside of work and home; now I have a wide variety of activities planned. I also learned to like being alone, and I take pride in my independence.
I'm no longer "just" a mother or "just" a wife. I've found me again, and I like me. I've worked hard to ensure that the decisions I make come from a place of love and respect for myself and those around me.
If you put in the hard work to fix yourself - not your spouse, not anyone else but you - you will eventually reap the rewards. I realized that I was not in a healthy place for a relationship. I could not have successfully reconciled if I had not done the work on myself...and once I finished working on me I could see that my xH and I were in such fundamentally different places that we had to set each other free.
It's been 15 months since my world fell apart. My xH is now engaged to be married. I am truly happy that he seems to have found what he was looking for. My children are thrilled with their new stepmother and stepsiblings.
I've found a man who shares my outlook on life. I am happier and more content than I have ever been, and for the first time ever I feel accepted for exactly who I am. :9: Our relationship is still young, but I see a very bright future for us. Without all the pain we both experienced, all the growth we forced ourselves to do, he and I would not be in a position to experience this. We needed to learn those lessons to be able to build a healthy relationship.
I am a success story. Not because I'm in a new relationship, but because I came out of my trial by fire as a better person. I can be (and have been) happy alone but I'm still able to trust another man with my heart.
For those still in the beginning or middle of the awfulness, it DOES get better
. The life you'll build on your own is different, but it can be awesome. Just grit your teeth and work through the crazy and the pain and have faith that what comes later will make it all worthwhile.