Posted on July 6, 2011 on my FB Notes page:
I was recently asked by a very dear friend, "How, after your husband
left, have you been able to be content with where you life is and be
happy again?" I wasn't sure how to respond to her and put off giving
her an answer for almost 2 weeks. To sum up the last 10 months and give
an explanation of the peace I had found seemed impossible and
daunting. After forcing myself to answer the question, I realized this
was something I had not shared with anyone but probably needed to.
Below is my response (with a few additions); I hope that you, too, will
seek to find happiness and contentment in the crazy world...
so I honestly don't know where to start with this. I guess it would
help if I gave a little background on what happened in the months after I
When I left him, a HUGE burden had been
lifted off my chest. I felt like I could breathe for the first time in
many, many years. But the unknown scared me...a lot. I DESPERATELY
wanted to be in a loving relationship but didn't know if I'd ever get
the chance to experience one; being 34 with two kids didn't seem (in my
head) to be very attractive to men, attractive enough for one man to
want to share that intimacy that I craved.
oooooold boyfriend (Dean) came out of the wood work. We dated when we
were 15 yrs old!! For the first time in my life I experienced all the
kindness, love, and support, that I had always longed for.
But unfortunately his mom became very ill and he had to suddenly move
to Seattle. My heart shattered when he left. I had never felt such
emptiness. I had found the love of my life, and in a blink of an eye, I
lost him. (More on Dean later)
About 3 months after I left
Kyle, I started having severe panic attacks. My family finally
convinced me to get professional help. Turns out I was experiencing Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder from stresses in my marriage that I had not
divulged to many at the time. I started taking meds and going through
intense therapy sessions (twice a week) to be able to function on a
daily basis. Getting out of bed was a huge challenge for me at times.
didn't like being on the meds, I really wanted to be able to be me and
function on MY terms, not with the aid of medicine. So I started
setting some goals for myself: 1) Find my own place to live (I was
living with my folks) 2) Get off all meds 3) Restore smiles to my
family (when the kids and I started family therapy, they told our
counselor that we didn't have a happy family...it BROKE my heart).
So how did I accomplish that? I'm honestly not really sure. There were several little epiphanies that happened along the way.
and I maintained a long distance relationship for several months after
he moved to Seattle. During that time, specifically between January
and March I accomplished two of my goals. I moved out of my folks into
my own home and I got off my meds. Being the first time e-v-e-r to live
without another adult in the house, it was then that I realized there
was something I had not addressed deep in my heart...being alone. Dean
and I had had a connection that blew me away; he made me come alive and
see the value I brought to the world. He made me believe I was
beautiful...and talented...and worthy. But as time went on, we both
recognized the geographical distance between us was destroying our love.
We weren't working anymore--we both knew it but neither of us wanted
to end it. I was hanging on to my relationship with Dean purely out of
fear of being alone. When I realized that, I could NOT believe I had
become "that girl." Don't get me wrong, I loved Dean with every fiber
of my being...still love him dearly to this day.
finally gained the courage to let go of him in early April, I can't
explain the dread that ran through my body the night I broke up with
him. I was so worried I was going to start having panic attacks again,
stop sleeping, constantly worrying. But I got through the first week
unscathed. It was a couple of weeks later that I truly realized I
could get through this life without the presence of a man. I was a
whole person as I was. I didn't need a boyfriend to validate my
confidence, my independence, or my sanity.
It was around
that time I started doing stuff for myself. I started working out
more, buying myself new clothes (ok, so I admit my favorite store is
Savers, but hey! A new top is a new top, right? I don't care that it
came from a thrift store). And I started finding someone to watch my
kids once a week. Usually it's my parents, but not always. On that
night off, I do the adult things I don't get to do with the kids around.
I think the most important thing that happened was a paradigm shift in
thinking...I stopped caring what everyone around thought about me. I
stopped making decisions based on what my family thought, or what my
friends thought, or what anyone for that matter thought. When I started
making decisions based on my terms, my heart started to feel
good....reeeeeally good. I finally felt like I owned my own life. It
was breathtakingly beautiful!!!!
At our last therapy
session for the summer, our therapist asked us the question he first
asked us: do we have a happy family? And the kids excitedly said,
"YES!" The relief in that moment validated the hard decisions I had
made to create my own path, despite the disapproving nods from people
around me, I had forged ahead with what I thought was right....and I
won!! My kids were finally healthy and happy. And thus my third goal
was reached....we had smiles on our face.
If I could give
you one piece of advice, it would be to live on YOUR terms. Do what
makes YOU happy. Single moms sacrifice soooo much, it's critical that
you take of yourself FIRST. If you don't, your unhappiness and
discontent will filter through to your kids. Remember, you don't need a
man to validate you. You are an AMAZING woman as is. Find the beauty
within yourself and grab onto it. Believe it with everything that's
within you. I did, and I can't tell you how wonderful life is now.
don't misunderstand me and think that I don't have bad days where I
want to mail my kids first class to China. But I've learned not to sweat
the small stuff anymore. What matters in life are me and my kids.
Period. End of discussion. I won't compromise anymore with anyone who
thinks they can put me in a box. I built my own box that I dance on
everyday. The view is beautiful from my box. I have everything I want
in life (and if you can keep a secret....I'll tell you the most
beautiful change that has happened...I am finally at a place where the
idea of having a man in my life? Ugh, let's not go there!! Don't need
one, don't want one heh-heh). Although, I've been told a thousand times
lately that it's when a person reaches the space I've reached, where a
relationship isn't desired, the "right one" comes along. So now, every
time I meet someone new I have a new chant that I say to myself, "Please
don't be 'the one'....please don't be 'the one...please don't be 'the
Oh bothah....I digress. Love you. Love
life. Love those in your world. Life can be breathtaking if you slow
down enough to love yourself.