I don’t think I ever would have left my husband.
Loving him was difficult. Our marriage was difficult. But I didn’t want it to fail.
The day he ended it, the earth shook. The once stable ground rolled and the air was squeezed from my lungs. I was left breathless in a crumbled world. Nothing would ever be the same again.
I was forced, for the first time in my life, to ask for help, and I received. I was fed and housed and held by wonderful souls who taught me in those first days, weeks and months what true love is. I should thank him for that.
My courage was tested. Rock bottom, I learned, was not rock bottom. I was plunged deeper and deeper into sadness and struggle and I learned what I was made of. I not only survived; I thrived.
I know now, more than ever, that I am so capable. I should thank him for that.
I explored the depth of my forgiveness and compassion. I didn’t lose faith in love. On the contrary, my love became bigger, fiercer, more pure and more whole. I should thank him for that.
I investigated every crack and crevice of my being. I examined my darkness, explored its roots and invited the light to shine on it. I should thank him for that.
I don’t think I ever would have left my husband because I loved him. But I didn’t know that loving could be easy. He left me and he set me free. The string that was tied so tightly around my heart is gone and it beats loudly and boldly in my chest once more, free to explore new love—love that isn’t heavy.
Nothing will ever be the same again.
I should thank him for that.
Of course, it wasn’t easy. How did I get from there to here? How did Earth-shaking, breathtaking, heartbreaking change become a soul freeing, love releasing, growth inspiring experience?
I let myself feel all the icky scary emotions, the sadness, the loss, the fear, the shame, the sense of failure. I cried loud, ugly cries. I let myself feel the full grief of the situation.
I did everything I possibly could to save my marriage. I didn’t want any “what if’s” or “if only’s” at the end. I didn’t need regret to be added to the long list of difficult emotions I was experiencing.
The weight of hate and resentment is too, too heavy. Any cruelty and heartlessness displayed by my husband during our separation and divorce was forgiven. We all have our individual struggles, and he certainly had his. Hurt people hurt people. I forgave him.
I loved and let myself be loved. I gave my husband the space he desired and I allowed myself to heal in the embrace of my loved ones. I distracted myself by going on adventures with friends and I sought solace in the homes and arms of my family.
I gave thanks
I focused on what I had, rather than what I had lost. I remembered all the wonderful things in my life and they gave me strength and hope.
I moved on
I stopped putting my (ex) husband first. This took a very long time, but was a most necessary step. Cutting all communication is not always possible, but I took him off all my social media and I stopped allowing communication for anything not essential. I accepted that I could forgive him and honour the years we were married without having him continue to be a part of my life.
I don’t think I ever would have left my husband. But I’m so happy that he left me. I should thank him for setting me free.
Author: Cath Witten
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Photo: Elephant Archives