Two summers ago I was experiencing a marriage that had turned very violent very quickly.

Finding the courage to exit that space happened in a moment. I was Suddenly Single in about two hours.

As suddenly as I departed I had known for about a year that I was trying to leave. But it’s such a wild space to be in a place where you are emotionally and sometimes physically hammered to the point that you lose a sense of self, a sense of reality, a sense of direction, a sense of communication. You just completely lose yourself in the haze and the chaos.

I had so many friends and family members on the outside saying you’re such a strong woman…I’ve always seen you as this empowered person. How in the world did you get into a space in a relationship where you were so defeated and you were so lost, and you were feeling so broken?

I think my kids are what kept me from being there for 5-years or 10-years.

I fell in love with him. I was head over heels. I thought he was my spiritual partner.

I fell in love with this idea of who my husband was. Looking back I see all the little red flags that I kept excusing because I was so excited about this other stuff.

I was without employment, without my own resource pool, and with a newborn daughter. Finding the energy to address what I was experiencing was completely overwhelming in the beginning and I felt trapped.

I just kept telling the story, this is just stress…this is just stress. Whatever I could do to keep myself safe in that space.

This isn’t going to be her story of love. She isn’t going to see her dad treat a woman this way.

I acknowledge the difficulty when there are children involved, but at the end of the day, it was choosing myself but also their ability to grow and develop and be in love and relationship with another got me to exit.

I felt like I was standing in the middle of a desert and there were windstorms all around me and I didn’t see an end in sight in any direction.

I felt so isolated, I felt so disconnected. I couldn’t even really remember what I could offer the world.

The really interesting thing was how much time it took me to quit caretaking him. My brain was still so oriented towards his healing. It took my brain and my being so long to quit focusing all my attention on him.

What ultimately allowed me to restabilize was receiving in community. I asked for help. I spoke to my disorientation. I spoke to my shame. It was my second marriage and when I entered into it I thought it was my last marriage. No one wants to be divorced twice. I had so much shame around so many aspects of it and I was really frozen when I first exited.

I had to do a lot of speaking with safe people about what was going on. I had a network of safe people who in many ways I had been isolated from in my marriage but that I reached back out to and said I needed to just talk. I don’t really remember who I am, I don’t really remember what my gifts are, I don’t remember how to share myself in the world. There are some basic things like feeding myself right now that are really difficult. I just need to remember who I am.

I allowed help and community to come back in my life and that meant everything.

Here I am. Its been almost two years now. I welcomed a new love into my life about 5-months ago.

The key thing that I’m trying to share is I never let go of my belief in love, I never let go of my belief in better things, I never let go of my belief of my capacity of healing. Opportunities continued to open as I continued to walk towards that path I was always trying to get on.

He was the ultimate climax in a long history of men I had an imbalanced relationship with where I was caretaker and they were the one who stole the show. I chose to let this time be that refiners fire.

I really devoted myself to transitioning out of this life-long behavioral pattern with men in my life.

It’s amazing what has just continued to open up in my life.

There is a beautiful community waiting for you. There is a massive network of humans out there that are willing and able to help people transition through these spaces. Just reach out. There are resources and they are there to help with these very things. Trust that you can make it out and that there is a different way and that the ache will eventually go away.

Reach for the community and make sure you are held because in the beginning you just can’t do it on your own. You just can’t. We get reabsorbed into the vacuum if we try to do it ourselves. Access resources of community support to find your way through and out. There are many people waiting to hold you and walk you through that space.









I got married when I was not quite yet 22 to someone who was quite a bit older than me.

Once you reach a certain point in life, you end up going downhill a little quicker than a younger person would and so I couldn’t really relate to what he was going to. It was a little strained but I was quite surprised when I found he had passed away.

I didn’t know until 3-months later that it wasn’t really a heart attack it was an accidental overdose. He was taking prescribed pills but unfortunately, he was abusing those. I was very angry about what he had put me through.

I was in kind of a rage and I went to a therapist and he truly changed my life. He made me understand that I could pick someone else that was truly healthy for me.

I was nervous but also kind of excited to find someone that was my age and that we could enjoy doing things together and being a couple.

I treated dating almost as a job. I was going to find someone that would fit with me. There were times when I would go on three dates with three different guys in a week. I met probably 50 gentlemen.

When I met my husband that I’m married to now we just absolutely clicked. My dad was dying at the time. His mom had died of cancer much like what my dad was going through.

It was like we had been together forever.

He jokes that I’m in charge and he likes it that way.

He’s my rock.

I know I can be a bit much at times and he lets it slide off his back. It’s not a big deal to him. If I could clone him I’m sure I could make a lot of money.

I can’t say he’s the perfect guy because there is no perfect guy but he’s the perfect guy for me.

My family loved him off the bat.

I don’t know what I did to deserve him but I’m glad I did it.

When I married my husband I knew he was an alcoholic and I married him to save him and I think it’s because of my low self-esteem. If I couldn’t hang onto an alcoholic, who could I hang onto? I just didn’t know that I could do this well.

Therapy is huge. He put me in the direction of life. He wrote me a blueprint for the rest of my life.

When you step your toe into that dating pool, don’t look back and don’t give up. Be safe of course and find the perfect person for you. Settling is not a good idea. You’ll get through this. It’s tough but it can get a whole lot better.









I was discontent with the current situation I found myself in. It happened as epiphanies over and over again and finally, I found myself saying that I’m no longer going to be in this marriage.

I was trying to avoid the inevitable. I knew I had to get out of the marriage.

I actually sprained my ankle and that slowed things down for me which really put things in perspective for me in needing to make changes. The hardest change that I decided I had to do was to sell my home.

I started seeing a therapist.

My support system was where I found my strength. People come to me. They see me as the healer. They see me as the counselor. They come to me for advice. I want to be there for everyone else but now it was time for me to be there for me and everyone else to be there for me.

I thought what I was asking from them was too much because I was already overwhelmed with it myself and here they are just graciously coming to help me pack and help me move and to bring me stuff.

You are you and that’s your power and you are going to get through this with all of us. They are my strength. I’m scared and I don’t want to be divorced.

I ended up having to move in with one of my closest and dearest friends.

God really just aligned people who I needed at that time in my life to show me I’m not in this alone. It was a challenge for me to ask for help but I asked the right people who were able to help me. That opened up my eyes because internally I was so afraid.

I honestly thought I was going to have kids with this man and be married forever. Divorce never crossed my mind. Ever.

I thought I could get through anything with that title of marriage. I had to see clearly that yes, I love love, but love alone is not going to carry a marriage.

I felt like I needed to be active within my community. I felt like that was me giving my healing hand the world. I didn’t realize I was so focused on everyone else I was neglecting the most important person and I was trying to avoid some important decisions.

I learned that I have to get rid of the preconceived notions in my mind.

I knew we were not equally yoked, but I prayed that the love I had for that person would show them all the potential that I see in them but it was really more of a control thing that I didn’t realize I had.

I’m pretty much at a place where I believe God is love.

I didn’t feel like I was receiving any of the love languages. I thought I had so much energy and love that I could do it myself. In reality, I’m still a human being. I realized I’m in this marriage alone and that’s not a good feeling.

I know I’m an emotional person and when I’m focused on happiness and peace that’s my coping. I don’t have to face that shadow side. When you’re alone you’ve got to find a way to release that.

The whole experience was me saying I wanted to change, I wanted to be happy, I wanted peace. The whole entire time I thought it was going to change the other person into falling in love with me. I had to really dive into myself and rediscover who I was and figure out what it is I really like.

That word divorced was heavy for so long.

For me to think I was any less of a person because it’s just me was the biggest lesson.

I’m exactly where I need to be and I don’t need to judge myself for what I’m going through because in return God is going to bless me with so much more.

I learned that I wanted to control things a lot more than I should have. I learned that I might not have always been the easiest person because I didn’t feel like I was being appreciated or I didn’t feel like I was being heard. I was dealing with a non-communicator so I stopped communicating my feelings because it was like my feelings didn’t matter.

As I got out of that relationship I realized I have to communicate with everyone around me and I have to tell them how I feel.

They didn’t judge me for one second and they were so proud of me and they were there and they were saying that they would be there with me through the process and they truly were and they still are and I judged myself way too much.

The way you talk to your best friend is the way you need to talk to yourself. It’s inevitable for you to see the change and to see the glow.  All I did was all that energy back into myself.

You’re not alone. You have to trust the process. As hard as it may seem yo are still here. You are still alive. Your purpose has not yet been served. You are here for a divine purpose. You have to be true to who you are.

Ask your angels for signs. Ask God to intervene. When those signs present themselves take action. Stay connected with your loved ones. Do whatever you need to do to stay sane because the outcome is going to be so profound…you are going to be so proud of yourself and your testimony will help others. That’s the part I love the most. For others to see my testimony and think, “Wow, you did it. Maybe I can move forward in this strength and make some changes in my life?”









I met my wife freshman year in college. We became friends and started dating. We ended up getting married at the same time we graduated from college and we were together 17-years, married 13 years, and had 3 kids.

I decided to take the boys out to play so she could have a little me time and do her arts and crafts and just get a little time to herself since she was a stay at home mom.

We walked into the house and I was holding my 17-month old and my other two were walking with me, we walked in and found her on the floor.

She was a super healthy person. In shape, did yoga, ate right. Did all the things you’re supposed to do but apparently she had a heart condition that we didn’t know about. She died of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome. She was 35 at the time.

It was very surreal. It’s kind of like what you see in a movie. It’s very much a fog. I couldn’t process what was even happening.

I sat there with her for many hours. They kept asking me to call somebody. I didn’t know who to call.

I didn’t want to leave her because I knew I would never see her again. Finally, my friend said, “your boys need you” and that’s the only thing that got me to leave. On the way home I was thinking how am I going to tell my boys their mom is never coming home, she died?

It’s a very lonely journey in a lot of ways. For the first couple of months, a lot of people reach out to you. Then after about 2-months and they go back to their life and then you’re faced with the reality of your new life.

I don’t know if it makes you stronger to lose a spouse that you consider a soul mate. She always made me feel stronger as a person. I do feel a bit wiser when it comes to life perspectives, some of the bigger questions that we battle within our brains. I’m more resilient for sure.

I was Christian before all this happened. My wife was a big believer in God and so was I. To be honest, I’ve struggled with that a lot since my wife passed away.

I really struggle to find any good reason for my boys to have to grow up without their mom, for me to have to raise them up without my partner next to me. I used to pray a lot. I haven’t really prayed since then.

My boys are doing really good overall. This is going to be a lifelong challenge for them.

When it comes to my boys, I do feel like we have a stronger relationship because of what we’ve all been through, and because of them having to rely solely on me.

I really hope I do find somebody special in my life again. I think love and relationships are the most unique and special things about being human and our existence on this planet and in this life because there’s really nothing else like that.

It can be up and down with grief. It’s not a linear thing. It’s more of an up and down roller coaster. I would really hate to live the rest of my life without that unique and special relationship with somebody.

Rely on your family and friends. I’m not someone who was used to asking for help. Don’t be too prideful. There will be happy days again. When this first happened to me I didn’t think there would ever be happy days again.

It has shown me how precious life is. It has shown me how amazing each and every day is and that it’s a gift and that it’s not to be taken for granted and that those little moments we have with our friends and our family and or kids are truly special because there’s no guarantees of having that again. That’s the collateral beauty I’ve taken away.









I married my college sweetheart. We were married for seven years. We went through the [economic] downturn and made our way through. Things were going well.

She was like, “Hey let’s get a divorce.” We were divorced in 60-days almost on the dot and she went her way and I went my way. We worked together for about a year afterward.

I found out she was doing more than running when she was going out running at night.

I was heartbroken really for about a week, really depressed. I look back now and it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

I drank a lot. I just kind of filled that hole with drinking and partying and hooking up. I had two DWI’s if that tells you anything. The first one was just a bad situation but the second one I was just bombed. I just tried to fill that hole with alcohol and shrug it off.

It was difficult. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I was kin dof self-destructive for a while and put everything into my work. 

When you’re with somebody for 10-years and you’re building dreams and you go through rough times and come out the other side you think you’re going to be better. That was the hardest thing. It took a while to figure out what’s my compass now. What am I working towards?

I was going to go out and be the best possible person I could be. I found out a year and a half or two years later that one of the reasons we got divorced was she was jealous that I was doing something that I loved. 

That was one of the best things that could have happened to me. Talking with people and talking with people who had been through a divorce. I talked to my dad spiritually, he passed about a year before but I remember having long conversations in my head with what would my dad think and my dad would respond.

I talked to some mentors, people who are still mentors to this day that really helped me get my mindset in the right place.

I dove back into doing a lot of reading. I dove back into holding myself accountable for making a lot of changes.

If you’re struggling, reach out to somebody. Talk to somebody. You’re not the only person’ who’s been through a rough time. I’ve always found my mentors and people who are at the pinnacle of success have always gone through several rough times. They really made their metal and developed who they are today because of those rough times.

We’re not married, we’re happy.

I just couldn’t take my eyes off her. We became friends and then best friends. We had the same type of humor and laugh and I could not do what I do today without her. I’m just very blessed.

We spend more time together than most married couples.

There’s a lot of growing up that takes place after college and I think you learn more about what you want to do. In a started marriage you learn more about what you don’t want than what you really like.  

We get on each other’s nerves just like any other couple but the biggest thing is we have a lot of the same passions.

You’ve got to be able to trust the person you’re with. They’ve got to be your biggest cheerleader. I’m her biggest cheerleader and vice versa.

When you have someone you can trust they can carry the load with you. 

Truly being present and listening to your spouse or significant other is important. You’ve got to be supportive and listen to your loved one and be able to read when they’re having a rough day.

We get up in our day-to-day sorrows that we have a hard time picturing what life is going to be like in 6-months or a year. Whatever you’re going through in a year it’s probably not going to matter. In 5-years it sure as heck isn’t going to matter. 

My mentor is famous for saying in 5-years from now we’re going to be the same people except for the books that we read and the people that we meet. 

We’re all just one introduction away from things revolutionizing. 

Realize that things happen for a reason and it’s probably not you, it’s them. It is their issues. Figure out what the issues were and try to work on them. If it’s something that can’t be changed then it wasn’t meant to be to begin with.

It’s going to be okay and there truly is somebody out there.









It was some time coming and I had to make the choice of my well-being, my mental stability, and being really able to stand up for myself.

I was definitely someone that was outgoing. I would say I was a social butterfly but I was outgoing and when I moved and got married I think I lost a bit of myself. Some of my friends did say they noticed the change. They didn’t really see the vibrance in me anymore.

I had to take stock of the person I was being in front of my boys. Looking back, I wanted to be the dutiful wife, I wanted to be the supportive wife. If that isn’t reciprocated it’s a really hard position to be in.

I had been involved in a lot of things before. I was a playwright when I was in New York. I had always wanted to make my mark on the world. I had ambitions for myself.

I was the person who would not let anything bog me down. It got to the point where I could see I was really losing myself. I had issues with anxiety. I was losing my strength.

My tenacity has come back. My go-getter attitude has come back. I’d say I’m the risk-taker of my family.

I had to walk in my truth and me being able to walk in my truth gave me this new perspective of life. I needed to show my children who their mother is. I needed to wake up that person who had been lying dormant for years.

I would say I found my purpose. My purpose was no longer trying to build someone else up, I had to build me up.

Once you find your purpose you regain the respect for yourself you see that you can actually go ahead and do the things you didn’t think you could. You can hold your head higher.

There is resilience when you don’t give up on yourself.

My mom passed a week ago and she was my biggest cheerleader. She fought her way all the way to the end. My mom was always a go-getter. She never stopped learning. She never stopped giving.

I need to have someone that is strong in themselves and is able to be my rock. At the end of the day, I want to be able to come home and not just be a wife but be a girlfriend.

Sometimes you need to take the title out of it and just treat the person you are with well. At the end of the day, the family unit is really about support.

Sometimes you have to step out of being a mom, of being a wife and remember that you’re still you. Being a mom and a wife doesn’t define you. What would people say about me when I pass? That’s something I really looked up to my mother for.









In reflecting I found that I’ve always been Suddenly Single. It has been a series of patterns and different behaviors, but I think the biggest shock to my system was my divorce in 2012.

I had this history of thinking the relationship is the answer. The man is going to solve my problems, the man is going to fix everything…to be this magical thing that is going to make everything perfect.

On paper or on social media it looked like I had it all, and for that to be taken away from me, I just was in a really hard spot.

I’ve always been that go-getter. Since elementary school, the interior side, the intimate side, the relationship side is where I struggled. For me, I was being dragged through the mud and not letting go. I was being treated horribly but I allowed it to happen over time.

I remember as I was going through the divorce process asking everyone I know how long is this going to take to get over?

What am I supposed to do without that man I have tied my happiness and everything to?

Now seeing I’m enough just as is, I don’t have to hustle for worthiness. I can hustle because I want to create jobs, I can hustle because I want to live this extraordinary life and the fundamental thing is that I deserve it. Getting to a point of knowing I deserve it has been an 8-year journey, not even a 2-year journey.

In terms of the intimate, what I’m bringing to the table, it’s my fears and my worries and my addiction to almost rejection and abandonment.

The men I have dated and married have been equally as unavailable as I was.

Going deep meant I had to address myself.

I found this emotion wheel and I was able to look at that wheel and label what I was feeling. I was able to look at what am I feeling for real and why am I feeling that? Think of a time in my life when I felt that. Going deep means being present and noticing what’s happening and not just reacting.

It took me years to get to I just didn’t feel good about myself and I just didn’t value myself. Pay attention. Let it be the lesson. Let it be the mirror.

If they’re not treating you the way you deserve to be treated it’s because you’re not treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated.

Every day there’s going to be a test. I head the saying, the lesson repeats as needed.

Moving forward if I meet someone and they’re not investing in me and if they’re not on the level I’m okay with saying this isn’t working out.

I’ve always wanted that relationship where my partner is so proud. I’ve always craved that.

I’m working on my own fulfillment. I’m filling up my own cup first.

When you do the work and see that we’re all on our own journey we literally cannot meet the needs of the other person because we have to figure it out ourselves.

Happiness and joy are an inside job but it’s also a zero-sum game. Anybody in your circle is either adding to you or taking away.

I cried so, so much. Again it was not feeling like I was a priority and not feeling like I was good enough. The feelings of not being good enough were cyclical.

I give myself a day to feel sorry for myself and then I inch my way out. It’s hard. You have to know that you can do it. The easiest thing to do when you’re heartbroken and upset is to find another fix.

You have to embrace the suck and just work through it.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt that pit in our stomach. That feeling like our soul had been taken out of our body. We’ve all cried until our eyes can’t even open. You can choose to stay there and feel sorry and be sad or you can choose to use that sadness and what you’re feeling to grow and evolve.

I promise you can get through it. You’re stronger than you think you are. You have what it takes. It’s just tapping into it and then letting it go.









I found myself Suddenly Single twice. In 2011 my husband passed from leukemia. It was expected but still, it was pretty devastating. Then, after 2-years of not wanting to date, I met someone and he died unexpectedly and I found him. I dealt with both very differently. What my reaction was and what I did to make myself whole again.

I’ve always had an incredible support group.

When he [my husband] died, I needed to move out of my house. I wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom. It took a while, even after I moved out and bought a new place to feel comfortable sleeping in the bedroom.

All of a sudden I was on my own. We were together for 32-years. I had to learn to navigate alone. I did really well during the week. But then Saturday night would come and that was always the hardest for me because it was the one day of the week we always made sure was our date night no matter what was going on. That was our time together.

I feel like I have a strong faith and I feel like he was always watching over me. I knew no matter what I was going to be okay. He had my back still.

I had joined a networking friend of women and they basically took over my life that first week. I never felt alone even though I felt alone. I knew there were people in my life I could call on but it still didn’t take away that feeling of being alone.

I was gearing up for that 1-year anniversary and I did okay. I woke up the next morning and said oh my goodness, it’s now the second year and nothing had changed. Now, what do I do? That was really difficult. I had a really bad day that day. I’m still alone, now what do I do? I decided to take better care of myself.

Just don’t forget the person.  Even though they are in their new norm, it’s still not the norm they’re used to.

I cried through everything I did. I spent a lot of time crying on the phone to people.

The second was a very sudden loss. I met him 2-years after I lost my husband.

We really had a nice time. We didn’t live together but we spent every weekend together, we talked every day. We took vacations together and spent the holidays. We had a really good relationship.

He had a very stressful job and I could see it wearing on him physically. I took in that stress and gained a lot of weight.

When he passed, I knew something had happened because we had been on the phone. I got in the car and went up and found him. I attempted CPR and called 911. I know stress can take somebody’s life. That really floored me. That was so unexpected for me, plus we weren’t married so there was nothing for me to do. It was a lot of sitting around and waiting to see what was going to happen.

Luckily I have a group of friends who stepped up and took care of me.

I had purpose after my husband died. I kind of felt like we didn’t have that legacy yet and what do I do with myself? I saw my doctor and she said you need to lose weight.

Everyone has their own special place and mine is water. So, I traveled every single month. I basically went visiting friends. I continued to lose weight and continued to get healthier and healthier. I needed me to find my purpose.

I’ve never had a problem being alone. Lonely is another thing and there is a difference. I can be by myself very comfortably but I love being with other people.

I’ve had my ups and downs. I have people that I talk to all the time. It’s going to be what it’s going to be.

Try to remember the person you were before you were with that person. Try to remember the light you had or the gifts you had because you weren’t with that person from the time you were born. I think trying to remember that makes a huge difference. Remember you’ve had love before. You’ve had people in your life before. This is not the end-all.









We met because we were going to the same Officer’s Selection office. We hit it off and started dating.

This was a classic case of it being my first love and for me wanting very badly for it to be the one and only. It was my first boyfriend, it was my first serious relationship and

We dated for a good 5-6 years off and off. There were signs this wasn’t the right relationship for both of us. There were little things that were not quite gelling. But I just wanted it so bad.

When you want it so badly you can’t necessarily see that maybe this isn’t the greatest fit for you.

We finally got engaged. I was so excited to tell my family but I was nervous to share this news with our friends. I sort of played it off.

I knew when I told my friends they were going to have some concerns because we had been off and on for so many years and we just never seemed to be able to stick it out for a good amount of time.

I threw myself into planning because that’s what you do. It was a way to ignore the knowledge that people maybe didn’t know whether or not this was actually going to happen.

We were with our wedding planners and he asked, how do you know if it’s just cold feet?

They were very diplomatic about it.

He was being reassigned and had to move for work and he didn’t feel right about me coming with him and he didn’t feel right about moving forward with the wedding. There’s a lot of heartbreak and a lot of wine that goes into finding that out.

I had to go to work the day after and folks noticed I wasn’t wearing my ring. I had to be not devastated about it because it’s work and you can’t be losing your composure in the middle of a bank.

It was absolutely devastating. Luckily my parents are here and I was able to go home and be somewhere where I could disappear a little bit. It took a very long time to get over it.

I did not realize that I had been healing. The Navy chaplain pointed it out. It was just happening.

It was something I wasn’t focused on specifically. If I were to have focused on it exclusively it would have been harder. It’s like going to sleep. When you go to sleep your body is able to restore itself.

Letting my mind and my body so it’s work without me getting in my own way…it was an incredible gift that he gave me. I really appreciate it.

It’s really important to believe in compromise without loss. You can’t lose yourself. There are certain things you don’t compromise on and I call them my non-negotiables. I ask myself, if I negotiate on this is it going to take away from who I am as a person?

There are so many things that go into building you, you can’t budge on that. Just learning what it is I’m willing to compromise on and what I’m not was a huge thing for me.

When that relationship ended I had conversations with friends of mine who said to me that when I was in that relationship I was less myself and I was losing pieces of myself.

When I met my now-husband he said to me, sometimes you get puzzle pieces that look like they fit together perfectly but for some reason, they just don’t. Maybe I’m the better puzzle piece for you? I loved that so much that I put that in our wedding vows.

You’re going to find that perfect match for you.









I’ve been single now for just over a year, and it’s probably one of the most defining times of my life. It’s been helping me to define myself.

I started having some therapy and that’s helped me to identify some patterns in my relationship history.

I suppose in this last year what I’ve been trying to do is explore how all those past experiences up until this point have affected how I see the world and the way I interact with other people and also the way I approach relationships in general.

I’ve been married twice. At the age of 36, it’s really easy to judge yourself based upon that. Having therapy has helped me to understand what my biggest challenges have been in relationships.

Part of what is making me feel so fulfilled right now is gaining a better understanding of myself.

Historically I’ve always been in a relationship since I left university. I’ve found it a bit tough to settle down and now that I am Suddenly Single and I’m taking the time to understand myself I feel like I’m going to be a much more rounded person when I am ready to start dating again.

Before experience has been pretty much centered around trying to find someone who makes me feel secure. You can grow up in a home full of love and still not feel completely secure.

That combination of love without security and bullying and so on meant that when I started dating any kind attention was a confidence boost for me and finding myself going along with things and getting swept up in the mire.

This is very personal stuff for me and I’m okay talking about it now because of all the work we’ve done in therapy to accept and be kind to yourself and not judge yourself. I spent a very long time judging myself and my behaviors after I left school.

I started to try to understand attachment styles in relationships. I started to think about what kind of attachment style I wanted.

I was searching for that secure base and for someone to put their arms around me so that I didn’t have to feel so bad about my past. If we had been talking about this a year ago I would not have been able to have this maturity of conversation about it.

This year has been a real period of reflection and very deep investigation…self-investigation to try and actually figure out what I’m genuinely looking for in the future and what have I wanted in the past and not had, what have I given too much of in the past and what is my attachment style. How am I going to channel all that energy and all that love that I have to give in to a situation where I feel secure.

This therapy I’d been having gave me the confidence to say to this gentleman this is not an arrangement that works for me.

I took some anger away from that situation. I said you have made me feel worthless, you have made me feel used, and you have actually made me feel like I just don’t matter in any way at all, but thank you because I’ve also discovered that I’m not okay with feeling like that anymore and I’m actually strong enough to tell you that I’m angry with you for making me feel this way.

I think I’m learning that just because someone thinks you’re good looking or thinks you look hot that night you don’t have to necessarily jump up and sleep with them or kiss them. In learning to be kinder to myself I’ve learned to have more respect for myself. That self-respect has not come naturally in my formative years. It has arrived much later in my 30’s because of the opportunity I’ve had to explore all of this within my own psyche.

I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 29, just after I had married my first husband and I had an 18-month old daughter. I felt very isolated and alone when dealing with it. The marriage didn’t really get through that.

After that, I did meet someone new. It happened in a whirlwind. It was complicated and I started to discover he was becoming controlling very slowly very subtly. It made me very anxious.

If I sit around moping I’m going to have a nervous breakdown. There was this pressure to get back to normal. My body was far from okay.

I was an anxious wreck. He had convinced me I was abusive and I was a bully. I just ended up retreating more and more and more into myself.

I realized I’d also made myself a cubbyhole to remind myself of my achievements because in the rest of the house I was so insecure and worried about myself and worried that I was a bad person, and a bad wife, and a bad mother and just generally a horrible person.

It was when I came to that realization that this is what that relationship had done to me that’s when I ended it.

That whole notion of figuring yourself out has been fundamental in understanding and coming to terms with what happened to me physically but also in terms of my relationships as well.

The encouragement I can give you is, you don’t have to put up with that. Communicating effectively means telling the other person if you’re not happy, what they’re doing and the impact it has on you.

Having a bit of kindness towards yourself and instead of dismissing your own feelings actually acknowledging them.

There are countless people who are in the same situation as you are right now. There are places where you can be heard that are safe.