Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous-Confucius

It took me five years to walk away from my 15-year marriage. Why so long? If you remember in “Beginning of The End”,  I spoke about finding my soul mate. I wasn’t just talking, I really believed that I had found that in Mr. Ex. I was willing to go through hell and back with him. The problem was that once that seven-year itch kicked in, we went straight to hell and stayed there.

I said seven-year itch but, for us and many other couples, it was really a 10-year itch. After much arguing and finger pointing, our marriage had become unrecognizable.  For a while, I felt like Chante’ Moore and Mr. Ex was a stranger in my house.  Then one day he said he got his own place and was moving out the next morning. Yep, just like that. It was at this point that I began to go through the Seven Stages of Grieving a Break-Up.

In “Past time”, I had mentioned that I had blown through the first three stages. There is no time limit on how long you may stay in one stage or how you will go through it. I just so happened to start grieving the inevitable during the break-up and makeup of our 10-year itch.

Stage 1: Desperate for answers

Although our marriage was falling apart, I just couldn’t understand why he wanted to leave. He was my soul mate and he was supposed to stay and fight for us. What was I doing so wrong as a wife? Did I expect too much, did I want too much of his time, and how can I fix this? I just kept asking myself these questions over and over again. Never mind that when he decided to leave I had been feeling unloved, undesirable and weak. I was married but, I felt so lonely and sad. The break up lasted only a month. When he came back with his “I will change”, “I want my family back”,  I just welcomed him back with open arms.

Stage 2: Denial

After a few weeks of being back together, I realized things would never be the same.  Reflecting back on things now, I can admit that I was a bit bitter. I was upset about the way he left. He signed a new lease behind my back. He had been planning this for a while. All the utilities were behind and as far as he knew I was unemployed.  By the grace of God, I landed a paralegal position for a state agency the same day he left.

Once together again, my feelings and the way I looked at him began to change. The more I thought about the split, the less I cared for him. I would say I was over it but, in reality, I never quite got past it. I just denied, denied, denied.

Stage 3:  Bargaining

Now this stage lasted 4 years for me. As I denied the change in my heart, I began to bargain with myself. If I don’t push him to spend time home maybe he would be around more. If I stopped working on my business and work on his maybe he would value me more. Despite his wavering word, if I trusted him more maybe he would love me more. Nothing I did made a difference, it only made me complacent. It created this nasty comfort zone that I mentioned in “Courage to leave”.

My reflections taught me a lot about what to allow in my relationships. First and foremost, you have to love yourself enough to know when you’re not being loved right. One does not have to just accept whatever kind of love that another gives. Love should not be rationed but, instead limitless. It also taught me that if things don’t feel right, then don’t just push your feelings to the side. If all else fails, then sometimes you have to do what you have to do…..

Your turn to reflect

  1.  What kind of questions have you been desperate to have answers to during a break-up? Did you ever get the answer?
  2. What are some things that you denied that kept you in a failing relationship?
  3. What part of yourself or happiness were you willing to give up to keep an unhealthy relationship?

 

Source: Lachmann Psy. D, S. (2014, June 10). The 7 Stages Of Grieving A Break Up. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday. 

4 thoughts on “At First Glance

  1. The thing I’ve learned to “learn” about marriage is: it’s not for everyone. We do everything we think entails a happy existence in a marriage, but it’s often in vain. For the marriage to work, everyone has to be all in. I identify with this on so many levels. Often times, while you are blindly following love, you’re being led down a path of destruction. From someone who’s been married twice, I will tell anyone, enter into this union with eyes wide open. Be very vigilant. If it feels like something off, don’t go with what he/she tells you is you just tripping. I’m not saying don’t fight for your marriage, but don’t be a fool either. It’s not just the infidelity portion (but most times this is why couples split), but it’s so many other caveats. Do a pros and cons lists. Many times, I will go back to this trusted method. This will tell you more often than not if you are on the same track as your mate. But realistically, communication is what every marriage needs to survive. Without it, go ahead and find separate addresses!!!!

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  2. I am a divorcee and was married for 13 years. For me in particular, I never felt I was desperate for answers as to why my marriage did not work out. I never denied what was going on in my marriage but I would always find some kind of way to forgive and move forward without really addressing any of the issues. I knew. I knew I gave 100% to my marriage. I knew I tried to communicate, I tried to be supportive, I tried to be understanding, desirable, respectful and a friend, but it take a two to make changes for the marriage to work. Like you, my marriage really started to take a toll about 3-4 years before we actually divorced and by then I had reached my breaking point. We started living as pretty much roommates. At that point, I no longer wanted to try. I stopped caring. I no longer respected him as a man. What kept me in the marriage for so long was my children. Although my marriage was in ruin, my children had stability and consistency and I didn’t want that to change for them. I finally came to the realization that I deserve and wanted better for myself and children and only I could make that happen.

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  3. Although ,I was never married I have been in a long term relationship and the break up felt like a divorce. In the beginning of “our end” I was in denial first. I knew we weren’t the right fit I knew he wasn’t the one for me but, we had a child together and I was determined to make this work. Knowing that we weren’t right for each other I still questioned why I wasn’t good enough for him. How can I prove my love to make him. But I I myself unhappy sacrificing things about myself and putting my dreams on hold to make him feel more comfortable in the relationship. I became so unhappy and depressed. Even though I was going through denial I was looking for a way out at the same time. Crazy I wanted to break up without pain and that just wasn’t going to happen so, I dealt with the pain. I moved out with tears in my eyes. It took my year to heal, but I do t look back anymore and I have no regret in moving on.

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