I got married right after college. I was young. When I married my wife she already had two kids and I was a step-dad.
Fresh out of college I stepped into a major responsibility role and then we had our son shortly after.
The first several years of our marriage things were going great.
Both of us lost our self-identity throughout our relationship and our marriage.
I’m so grateful since we’ve been separated we’re friends.
This was something we needed to do. We needed to be apart to grow and become the people we wanted to be. When we were together we just couldn’t accomplish what we wanted to accomplish.
Everything was on my shoulders. Financially…everything was on me and it’s a lot. Especially when you have kids. It took a toll on me and I finally got to the point where enough was enough.
We’re always putting people’s needs first ahead of ours.
You hear that phrase, “Happy wife, happy life.” It’s not true. At the end of the day, we have needs too. What are my needs?
I’m in my mid-30’s and I’m not going to live my life as a roommate with someone just because we have kids together. So I had to make that decision. It’s a tough decision for a lot of guys.
You just realize at the end of the day this isn’t it. This isn’t the right partner for me and it’s time for me to figure out what’s the next step, make that decision, move on and decide I need to focus on myself.
I had to figure things out. I’m not myself. I’m not who I am.
When you first meet someone and start dating everything is great.
Over time stuff starts to eat at you. A lot of stuff was on me financially. That took a toll on me.
I lost my house. I went through bankruptcy. I went through the marriage problems I had, tax problems, so many issues that were stemming from that relationship… there’s only so much you can take.
It’s one of the hardest things when you’re with someone for 14-15 years and then boom! All of a sudden you’re single. There’s no manual on how to handle that.
One of the things that’s really helped me overall is being active.
During my marriage, I did I have a struggle with alcohol. It became dependent on my life to deal with daily stress.
I’m enjoying a lot of those outdoor adventures and staying away from bar scenes. I’m active with the church I go to. I actually make coffee for all the patrons there and I really enjoy that.
I think the worst thing you can probably do is be alone to yourself and your thoughts and think about all the things that went wrong in the relationship. I think that’s where people can get into trouble.
There is that period where there’s self-defeat.
Realize we are human and this is a part of life. Yeah, it sucks but at the same time, there is a lot of good stuff we can do out there and be a part of.
One of the things that really helped me with self-reflection is journaling.
I think what I really like about that’s helped me out is it just gets things out. Could be positive, it could be negative, it could be things I’m excited about. It’s personal and it’s all kept private.
It’s a work in progress. I can’t come on here and say one tool or five tools are going to solve your problem but things are out there and resources that can help you.
Ultimately it falls on you. You’ve got to make that decision to move on.
Realize you’re not alone. There are a lot of people out there that are going through this.
Just realize this is a part of life for a lot of us. It wasn’t the right partner, that’s okay.
Don’t immediately jump into another relationship. If you’re in a long-term relationship I think the worst thing you can do is try to seek someone immediately.
Ultimately at the end of the day, we’re responsible for our own happiness and we have to figure out what that is. For us to go from one relationship to another we’re never going to figure out what that is.
That self-reflection period is critical. There’s no time limit. It could be years, it could be months.
Be around people who are going to make you feel better. Don’t be around people who are going to drain your energy or be toxic for you.
Make the best out of it. Figure out who you are and have fun with it.