This year has been a tough one for a lot of people. It seems like there is an overall collective consensus to let go of what is no longer serving us. On the surface it appears chaotic but it really isn’t, it’s just our lives shaking off what’s not needed to make room for what’s best for us. I want to write this post to commend all of the women who have had the guts to leave their long term partners who failed to see their value and appreciate their worth.
So many fairy tales are fed to little girls of how we need to be saved by a knight in shining armor and once we meet them we ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. For most people falling in love is easy. However, maintaining that chemistry and connection long term proves to be more difficult. I feel like my generation, at least within my culture, has been conditioned to tolerate disrespect, abuse and infidelity. “The sanctity of marriage must be upheld” they say but what is sacred or virtuous about staying with someone who keeps hurting you?
You need more than someone who is supporting you financially. You need someone who is there for you emotionally as well. The problem is we like to hold on to yesterday and hope for a better tomorrow while we forget that life is happening now, today. If you are being hurt now and unhappy more often than not, then now is the time to do something about it. I’ve already blogged about second chances so I’m not going to go into that but suffice it to say that it is okay to move on with your life now, whether they are ready for you to do so or not.
The opinions of others matter not, especially when it comes to your relationship. No one else knows what you go through; all the pain, the tears, the repetitive lies, the cold-hearted denial whenever you try to confront them, the long nights, the debating on whether you should stay or go and if you do go where would you go? What about the kids? And what if they promise to change? Was this somehow your fault? How could they do this if they really love you?
You question your entire relationship and your worth as a person.
When they say things to hurt you, when they do things to hurt you, when they make you question your own sanity and what you see and what you feel… that is not love. It is not your fault. It is not something you did. You couldn’t have done it any different because that is all you knew at the time. Don’t beat yourself up. You are worthy of someone who cares for you fully, who respects you and treats you properly. Someone who goes out of their way to make you smile. Someone who no matter how angry they are at you still treats you like they care. I promise you that there is a person out there who knows how to love you the way you deserve to be loved. It’s just not them.
Mothers, we teach by example. Staying in an abusive relationship, whether it be physical, mental or emotional, is never in the best interest of a child. If you want to protect your children show them how you take care of yourself. Teach your daughters that you do not stay in a relationship like that and teach your sons that it is not okay to behave that way towards someone they love. Appreciate yourself, love yourself and respect yourself.
The immediate chaos, fear and uncertainty that comes immediately after you finally decide you’ve had enough will one day fade to nothing and you will realize that you are not only better off but happier than you ever were with them and those few months of readjusting everything in your life are worth the years that follow. Don’t give up on yourself.
Whenever someone I care about tells me that they have or are leaving their long term spouse/partner I congratulate them. I do this because I know it was not an easy decision. I know it was not a conclusion that came over night. I know it took months, maybe even years to decide and actually follow through. I don’t ask you if you are okay because I know you are not. How could you be? But I also don’t worry about you because I know you are going to make it out okay. I know that having your roots ripped out of the ground is only going to make for more fertile soil when you are ready to plant some new seeds. I just hope that the seeds you plant are all your own and that your new partner (if/when you decide to try again) is an accessory to your life not a foundation. The foundation should be all you. Your last relationship should serve as a reminder as to why you should be able to stand firm all on your own.
We need to learn to love without attachment. Be with someone because you want to be with them not because you feel like you need them and vice versa, your partner should be with you because they love you and want to be with you, not because they think they need you.
Once it’s all said and done, take some time for yourself before you go rushing into anything new. You’ve been with them for so long that you now have to re-identify who you are as a person and that takes time. Figure out what you want and what you don’t want out of your next relationship and know which ones are non-negotiable.
Date but don’t fall in love. Coming out of a long-term relationship is rough, especially when it was an abusive one. I think spending time with other people is a good thing (if it’s the right kind of person of course). Let them show you how it feels to be respected, cared for and wanted. Let them remind you of how awesome you are. Do what you need to do to get yourself right again in your own mind. Just be careful to not fall back into the same thing. Life has a funny way of sending us the same problems or same kind of people until we learn what we are supposed to learn, so if you are supposed to learn how to respect and love yourself then make sure that you accept nothing less than someone who sees your worth and holds value to your heart.
So like I said in my opening paragraph, I want to commend the brave women who have stood up for themselves, if you are one of the many women I know who have gathered the courage they need to say “no more” and move one then I commend you and thank you for setting an example for other women and for future generations. And if you are one who is still in these shoes then I hope you “find the courage to grow,” please know that it is never too late and just because you’ve been making the same mistake for years doesn’t mean you have to continue.