I Didn’t Quit My Marriage; I survived It

Every woman I know who is now divorced fought like hell to save her marriage—before finally deciding to save herself instead.

At a certain point, we realize that the ship is sinking, and so many of us have children who need rescuing. So, yes, we get off the damn ship and start looking for a lifeboat—a whole new life.

We didn’t give up.

We saved ourselves, saved our children.

We didn’t quit our marriages; we survived them.

When we realize that we can’t single-handedly make a relationship with another person work, we have to choose ourselves. We begin to hear our hearts screaming for us to get out. We begin to honor our intuition, which tells us that this situation isn’t healthy for us, that we must do whatever it takes to make our lives better. We figure out that we cannot save our partner, that they are no longer our partners when they choose not to fight for the relationship.

We realize the relationship is over already, and we begin to take the steps to make that final.

We take the steps toward divorce, no matter our circumstances, no matter how difficult it will be to live without this relationship or the financial support of being coupled. We leave no matter how counterintuitive it is to walk away from something in which we’ve invested so much of our lives. We leave, all the while grieving what our children will have to experience as the children of divorced parents.

This isn’t a matter of giving up or quitting. This is a matter of accepting things as they are and choosing to live the best life that we can.

I’ve found that many of us come out of these trials only to be painted as the villains. We become the bad guys in another’s story, because that is so much easier. And when we go through a divorce, we often lose the support of people we had long considered family as they choose to believe this story.

Divorce isn’t easy, no matter how it may seem from the outside. It changes us in so many ways, and it often makes it more difficult to trust others. It’s important to support one another through these difficult times.

The support we need is often just a listening ear.

We don’t need unsolicited advice or the secret to how your marriage has worked. We don’t need judgment or commentary about how easily people leave their marriages these days. We don’t even need encouragement about our future relationship prospects at this point. We need our support system to stand strong with us through the process.

I was deeply private about my divorce when I went through it. No one can completely understand a relationship from the outside, and I’ve been mindful of respecting the relationship between my ex and our children. I share the story of my journey through—and coming out the other side—in hopes of helping others hold on the difficult days that seem impossible to manage.

If I can offer a lifeline to someone who feels like they’re going down with the ship, then I’ve turned my struggle into something strong and beautiful.

Divorce has been transformative for me. It’s been the catalyst for many new life choices. I’ve been able to dream again and create the kind of life with my children that I’ve always wanted. It’s allowed me to be strong, and perhaps more authentic than I’ve ever been. Sure, I lost my ability to tolerate any level of bullsh*t, but in losing that particular filter, I’ve been able to be real and raw about my struggles, which has allowed me to build closer relationships with the people I love.

I processed all of the old stories I’ve always relied on to define me, and began to create a new life story for myself.

I’ve started unpacking my baggage and traveling a hell of a lot lighter, endlessly manifesting joy and turning my pain into beauty.

We can allow our struggles to define us or transform us, and in the difficult process of simply bearing up under them, it’s essential that we feel love and support around us. In the end, we did whatever it took to save ourselves when we could no longer save our relationship.

When I see another man or woman struggling through that process, I often offer a kind word and a listening ear, knowing that they would certainly rather have the happy marriage with the promise of forever than the divorce court and legal fees and heartache of a dissolving union.

We’re not giving up; we’re choosing to live the best lives we can under challenging circumstances.

We’re not quitting; we’re choosing to survive, to thrive and to create joyful lives.

~ Author: Crystal Jackson via Elephant Journal Original article here.

 

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8 thoughts on “I Didn’t Quit My Marriage; I survived It”

  1. You need to get out more, meet a few more people whose marriage broke up and ask who made the effort to keep it together and who made everything ok once it was over? It’s not that I don’t think you have a point but my own personal experience was so much the exact opposite of what you describe, I had to make my point. Not all men, no more than all women, cause marriages to break up. Sweeping generalizations like that make me angry because they dismiss, out of hand, the efforts I made to keep my family together. And, I’m sure, the efforts made by plenty of people, often both parties. There comes a time in every marriage where breaking up becomes the better option for everyone concerned because to stay together would wreak havoc in everyone’s lives.

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    1. I appreciate your thoughts about this article. I believe there is always two sides of the coin and it all comes down to a matter of perception from both parties.
      I was shocked the first time I heard about my son’s point of view about my divorce. It was completely opposite of the way I see and experienced the whole thing. For sure, my ex has another story about it too. And I guess it is the same for other couples.

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  2. I have been divorced twice. The first time he fought like mad to keep the relationship going. Thank goodness we had no children as I would have been a crappy mother to them. He was hard working, kind and I was the ungodly bitch. I was an active alcoholic that couldn’t see just how wonderful he was..and he tried every way he could think of to help me and ultimately US. My second marriage also ended in divorce. we did have kids by that point and I did everything I could to protect them first.unfortunately it was an abusive relationship (both of us were abusive) and we entered it when both of us were drinking. I got sober..he didn’t. Everyone’s marriage is different. We each have our own stories. Pain is pain regardless of who feels it.

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    1. I totally agree with there is always two sides of the same story. And there is this thing called_ in every rule there is an exception. Every situation is different, like every opinion is right coming from the perspective of whoever is talking. You’re right too about the pain. My son once told me that his sister problems meant the world to her. It doesn’t matter how unimportant and little it was compare to others. She’s the one who is feeling the pain, and to her, it is real.

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  3. regardless of he/she being at fault, he/she fighting or not to save it – what i read in this was your desire to support/encourage people who have not yet thought to leave the sinking ship. i left a sinking ship, it seemed insane not to. i’m dismayed by how many stay in for religion or the children or to save face…and sacrifice those things anyway. i’m amazed by the disdain from some corners. i’m proud that i was smart enough & strong enough to do it, for my kids & for me.

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    1. It indeed take courage to leave. It took me twenty years to convince myself to jump off. Religion, culture and children played a major part why I stayed for too long. After 13 years I realized already it was a losing battle but I kept making excuses. You know the drill…
      About disdain from some corners… I always respect others opinion and point of view. They have their own truths. We can’t force them ours. I can only try. Thank you for understanding.

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