“When are you leaving?”
“I can’t wait for you to leave!”
Whenever I would look at him, especially at night when he’s sleeping in my bed and I’m still awake, I’d ask myself these questions with a look of disgust on my face.
I am completely done. There is no more hope for us as far as I am concerned. There is no purpose.
At night. In bad moments. I toss and turn unable to sleep because I turn the judgment and hate upon myself. I ask questions in hindsight. I ask questions from a version of me that is now ten years older, showing no compassion. Questions like, “Was there ever a point to this relationship?” “Wasn’t it just a total waste of time? How could I give up ten long, arduous years of my life to this man?” How did I get myself into a situation where I am alone again? How could I marry such a fucking ass?”
Forgive me, God. I’m angry! I’m hurt. I’m mad at him and at myself. Help me to find forgiveness for this man, for myself, for these ten years.
As I sit in the middle of the night praying to God, pieces of forgiveness start to trickle into my consciousness.
I realize three important lessons:
- I am not the same woman I was ten years ago.
When I said yes to marrying this man, I was fresh out of an abusive marriage. I needed him to help me. He showed me true love. He showed me unconditional love. He showed up fully as himself, offering everything he could to me and asking for nothing in return. He showed me how a man can love with all of his heart. At the time, I needed that love. It was like holding onto a raft in a rainstorm. He gave me the space and the love to put myself back together again.
- I am the one withholding unconditional love
My man’s love for me has always been unconditional. He has always done his best. He has been upfront about who he is – his strengths and his weaknesses. He has always been the best version of himself that he knew how to be.
It is my love that has never been unconditional. It is my love that created terms and conditions. It was a survival instinct. I needed to put up walls to survive. I put them up right from the beginning. I put out the energy that said, I’m in this but don’t ask me to be too vulnerable. I’m in this, but I need you to validate me by loving me more than I love you. I’m in this but I need you to develop a stronger and deeper relationship with my three sons. I set up walls and boundaries and deal-breakers. So, while I’d like to point and blame my partner for this separation, it is not all his fault. I have to take responsibility for the role I played in reaching this point.
- His love has helped me grow into the strong woman I am today
His love for me over these past ten years has given me the space to heal and grow. My capacity for self-love has transformed. Where I once felt lucky enough to find a man who loved me with all of his heart and didn’t abuse me in anyway, now I no longer need a man’s love to define me or to make me whole. I am stronger. I am enough. On my own, I am complete. And, I am worthy.
I am strong enough to seek out a man who can challenge and excite me – mind, body and soul. I am strong enough to seek out a man who loves my three boys as much as I love them. I am strong enough to love my partner as much as he loves me – instead of withholding and protecting that most vulnerable part of myself.
Most of all, I am strong enough to be alone.
These three realizations help me start the process of forgiveness.
God has asked me to look in the mirror and SEE my role. He is asking me to take ownership of my part in all of this. And, He is asking me to have compassion for myself. To see my growth and transformation. To not judge the me of ten years ago off of the me of today. They are completely different women and if anything, this ten year period marks my journey to coming home to myself. I hug myself, welcoming myself home. Breathing, I am ready to go back to bed.
I’d love to hear from you…
Have you ever gone through a divorce or break-up after spending YEARS with your partner? Have you been able to get to a place where you forgave your ex AND yourself? What did you learn about yourself from the experience. Please share below.