I wasn’t suddenly single. I had been single, I just didn’t realize it.

It was a realization that I had been in a marriage all by myself.

I had married a person that I knew, even up to the night before our wedding, that I shouldn’t be marrying. Everything within me told me it was the wrong thing to do.

The thing is, I didn’t trust what I knew.

What I later learned is that my self-value, not my self-esteem, was in the basement.

My really good friend said to me, before you get into another relationship, you need to understand why you got into that one. I told him he was making no sense.

You need to understand why your standards were so low that you would accept being in something you knew you shouldn’t be in.

Self-value is the private decisions you make. Taking better care of them than yourself.

We don’t always know that we form values based on what’s modeled.

Why would I allow myself to be treated less than I should be treated, not by other people, but by myself?

I realized I was a person who was always sewing into other people’s wellbeing and I did not give myself that same consideration. Why did I not feel I was worthy of the same treatment I gave other people? I looked at his needs before I looked at my own.

In life, I have never been lonelier than when I was in that marriage. He gave me everything he had to give, it just wasn’t what I needed. It wasn’t how I needed to be loved. That wasn’t his fault, it was mine, for putting myself in a position that was not going to meet my needs.

I didn’t really know myself. What did I like to do? Everything I did was focus on other people’s needs. I had to find Valeri. I learned, I explored.

The people who know me well would find it surprising to know I knew so little about myself at such a critical time in my life. I just didn’t realize on the surface that I didn’t know what I needed.

The hard part of being in a marriage that you shouldn’t be in (for me) was I’d made this commitment and I took it seriously. I found myself committed to the commitment. Come hook or crook I was going to die in this marriage because that’s what I said.

It wasn’t until I started realizing I’d completely lost who I was that I knew the only way I was going to continue to live, was to get out of it.

I’d completely lost contact with my inner being.

I had done something that was horrible for who I was and who I needed to be. I did not allow myself to see that the two of us together would never grow.

I know who it is I need to be with for me. I am a complete person all by myself.

I know for sure who I am and I know there is a person who is designed to be with me and the two of us together will be exponentially better than we were by ourselves, even though we were still whole people by ourselves. I am purposefully particular.

When I say criteria it’s not a list, it’s an awareness.

If you don’t have standards you will never meet them.

If you’re not growing you’re dying. Trust your gut. It is telling you something. Listen to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was after I was divorced. You’re in this place where dating is not the same anymore. You’re a little dejected.

I reconnected with an ex from my past. That was red flag number one.

I think we all have that one person who gets on your nerves but you can’t do without them…you can’t breathe without them.

I kept giving him so many more chances than he should have had and there were so many red flags along the way. When it finally ended it ended without my knowledge.

I go in the house and everything looked the same but something felt eerie and that’s when I walked upstairs, walked into the closet, and everything was gone. He completely just took the day, packed up everything, and left.

I was confused. I tried to call him but he’d blocked me. He’d blocked me on the phone and on social media so there was no way I could get ahold of him. We didn’t have a fight or anything. It was just one of those things where you’re sitting there wracking yourself thinking what did I do? What did I do? I was in shock.

Six months to the date I got a call at midnight and it was from him. He kept calling. Funnily enough, I had met someone else. Five years later, here I am in that relationship.

From a young age, I wanted the soulmate twin flame relationship. I kept forcing it like a lot of women do. I got so caught up in that I was willing to date people who were not for me.

On my vision board it said, attract your soul mate with Reiki. The first time I met him he came in to get a Reiki session from me.

To move from friends to dating was tricky.

We were sitting on my couch. There was this one moment where it just got quiet. I looked at him, he looked at me and there was just that feeling.

There was this heat that was building between us. We had that look and he kissed me. We kissed for four hours.

Allow yourself to grieve. Don’t try to get back on the saddle too quickly. Don’t try to be okay too quickly. Don’t try to carry on with life too quickly. Allow yourself to get as messy as you need. Allow yourself to fully, fully grieve, and then allow yourself to pick yourself back up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was 22-years in the making to become Suddenly Single. It wasn’t too sudden.

Through all of the counselors and talks with my friends, the question is how do you make that decision to leap off that bridge and it’s tough.

Everybody said nobody can tell you when it’s time. Only you will know that. I kept thinking somebody was going to say something to me that made me have this epiphany. It really wasn’t about that. It was about me becoming ready and becoming confident and building myself up to feel like I could do it.

It’s been about 3-years before I really left, actually probably more like 5-years. It was about building up my confidence again and I think there are a lot of women who can relate to the fact that being married they lost their identity or being a mom they lost their identity.

Over 22-years I really lost myself, so the last 5-years before I really jumped ship I looked at myself and thought, who am I? I’ve become a person I don’t recognize.

My blog was about finding me. Who am I? Who do I want to be and the more confident I became and the more I found myself the more I was able to step off the bridge and become single.

For the last year and a half, I can do what I want, I can say what I want, I can wear what I want, I can be friends with who I want and nobody can tell me otherwise. Its been just amazing.

There was definitely some pointing of fingers but it all comes out in the end. That was the biggest struggle for me…are my kids going to be okay?

My kids see me happier and my kids see my ex happier and they see us being who we should be and they understand it so much better. My daughter is so happy for me.

It’s staying true to yourself and you really have to dig deep. You have to know what is going to make you happy. You start doubting yourself. You start wondering, is it me? Did I do something wrong? Is there something I could have done better? You really have to do some soul searching.

It doesn’t have to be that you’re a bad person and I’m a good person. It could be that it just doesn’t work. Showing your children a bad relationship doesn’t work either.

Life is long and life is short. When you’re on this journey, you really don’t know where that journey is going to go until you are on it.

I spent my whole life out of the house. I never wanted to be home. Home should be that place that you want to be and feel relaxed and feel happy and for me, it was anxiety and stress and depression.

It was a terribly hard decision to make and I don’t take marriage lightly. I never thought I would be a divorced woman. At the end of the day, I don’t want to feel like I don’t want to come home.

Now I can make whatever decision I want and become fully independent which I have never been. A lot of women end up staying because they are scared.

Initially, I left and felt like I was on top of the word. Telling your spouse you’re done is the worst moment of your life. Then the day comes and you move out and it’s so empowering. Then as the different hurdles come up it’s traumatizing. Depending on the day there’s ups and downs but in life there are ups and downs.

My mom would say to me, Julie nothing is easy. If you stay it’s not going to be easy and if you go it’s not going to be easy. For all of the fear that I had, the one thing I can say is that it’s better on the other side. That being said, I don’t want women to think it’s an easy thing to do because it’s not.

Put everything into it to see if you can save it. I put everything I had into it to try and save it. Not just once, not just twice, but three times. It’s not easy.

On paper, everything looked great but I really didn’t know what love was. I just didn’t know anything.

My relationship with my boyfriend now, I am just so at peace with him. We’re so relaxed and enjoy just doing nothing together. In 22-years together I never felt comfortable sitting on a couch next to my husband.

He wasn’t meeting my needs so, therefore, I couldn’t meet his needs. My ex was never willing to listen. It takes two to tango. Relationships are hard.

I was so scared. Thinking I would be alone for the rest of my life kept me there.

Nobody knows what’s going on inside anybody’s marriage. To have everything and have nothing all at the same time made it really difficult. That’s what I had.

Your own peace and your own happiness are exponentially more important than any materialistic thing you can own. At the end of the day if you’re not at peace with yourself your life is nothing. You have to go and do some really deep soul searching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was 35-years old. My wife informed me she wanted a divorce. She was dating another guy and didn’t want to be with me anymore. It really kind of caught me off guard.

To just be told out of the blue more or less I want a divorce is a bit of a punch to the stomach. Quickly I had to figure out, well what do I want to do?

We didn’t have kids yet…I wanted kids. It was like, how do I restart my life?

It was a lot of struggle and a lot of crying myself to sleep at night and wondering where I went wrong and thinking I was a failure but I made it through on the other side.

I felt like my dreams were being crushed and I didn’t know what was going on so I kept the same job and I went in every day like a zombie. It probably took me 6-8 months before I pulled myself out of a dark hole. It took a while.

I started consuming a lot of podcasts and spending a lot of time working on my podcast and watching a lot of movies on Netflix.

Between that and dating I blacked so much of that out that really the big turning point for me was when I met my wife Krissie.

I was about ready to give up and my mom just kept telling me, hey Chris all it takes is one.

I knew of my wife from the stand-up comedy scene. I wanted to bring her on my podcast and interview her but I had a crush on her so I was too scared to talk to her. I found out she kind of liked me as well. It was funny. We were both kind of ignoring each other.

I stumbled upon her profile on Tinder. We matched on Tinder and we started chatting. We’ve been really together ever since.

We ended up having a kid together. I never thought I was going to have a kid. I thought that ship had sailed. I get to be a stay at home dad. It’s just the best experience of my life. We get along great. We have our fights and our battles but it really goes back to what my mom was saying, it only takes one person to completely change your life.

One of the biggest things I love about Krissie is how supportive she is of me and everything I do. I’m a big dreamer. She’s always listening to me and cheering me on.

It’s during those really tough moments where you want to get better. I was depressed, I was anxious, I felt like my life was over but I knew that I needed to make a change. That’s when you have to dig deep and it’s hard and it’s painful and you feel embarrassed and like everyone is making fun of you but you’ve just got to do it and you’re going to feel amazing after you start putting the pieces back together.

Divorce is embarrassing. You feel like you failed at marriage and I’m no good. I can’t even do this.

Even though I knew that marriage was toxic it was still hard to admit that.

I think patience is one of the big things I’ve learned and that life doesn’t revolve around me.

You’ve got to listen. If you don’t listen a lot of times you can’t figure out how to solve the problem that they need solving.

If I could go back to that time it would be to travel more and spend more time with myself. If your goal is to find somebody else you will find somebody. I know you feel at that moment that you won’t, but you will so take a year off and just find yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It feels like such a long time ago. It was basically one of those stories where you thought you fell head over heels in love with someone.

We had a daughter but it was rocky from the start. I think I wanted it to work out because we had this baby.

Finally, I came home one day and my apartment was empty. Totally empty. It took me by surprise.

I had what Oprah calls the ugly cry. Once I had that release I had this voice come to me and it said clear as day, “start a business, stupid.”

I got furniture. I wanted to create the foundation first. My uncle gave me his Jennifer Convertibles sofa.

I’m a very visual person so I would have this whiteboard and I would write out my plan. I really started being strategic. That honestly helped me to feel like I had some kind of control even though my world was turned upside down and it gave me focus.

The next thing I knew the business grew over time. As my business started to grow so did my mindset. My confidence started to really show.

I am super dope! Half joking and half not. I was able to make nothing into something. I had no idea I had it in me. Wanting her to be proud of me really became the reason behind anything.

Women, we are so resourceful. You can do amazing things once your back is against the wall.

My daughter is sixteen now and everyone dreads the teenage years, but I believe I am blessed, and lucky in that I believe her watching her mom live life she got to see the best parts of me. She did not have to look outside her home for a role model. As a consequence of that, we have a great relationship.

We have a great relationship and I think it’s in part because we had to be in it together. She’s seen how hard I worked and it made our relationship stronger.

Have your big ugly cry. Have that release because on the other side of that release you’ll have clarity.

No matter what I’m going through I always know it is temporary.

Have your release, let it out, stay strong, stay focused, and just know it’s only temporary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We met on a blind date. At first, I couldn’t stand him, I thought he was awful but as time progressed I started to like him. Eventually, we got married and we were together for 17-years and eventually, we just grew apart.

We were taking vacations separately and he was working a lot and I was doing my own thing so he was like a roommate. I said we gotta go our separate ways.

After that, I went on this huge dating rampage. I had no kids. I was having a good time going to all the clubs, going to the bars, meeting new friends, meeting new boys…I was dating heavily going through the mingling mix.

I was having a really good time. I was doing all the things I didn’t do when I was married.

We got along. He was my best friend. We were great roommates but he wasn’t a partner.

He said he met somebody. It was a really bad trip after that. Security had to be called at one point because I was so irate.

I dated a lot. Looking back now that was not the best choice. I was trying to validate who I was as a woman because I didn’t get that at home for many years when I was married.

I was dating someone for about 18-months and during that time I became pregnant with my daughter. That was the best thing ever because it changed my life going forward because my life revolves around her. 

Also during that period of time, I dated someone from work and I contracted HIV so I’m HIV positive because of that stretch of time. Thankfully now with medications, I’m undetectable. Lots of lessons learned during that period of time. I don’t talk about that a lot but it lives with me every day.

I didn’t think I could get pregnant. When I told him I was pregnant with her he wanted nothing to do with it. He was in complete denial. I’m 100% a single mom.

I had to move back in with my mom. All my stuff went into storage. I was there for like 2-years. I went back to school and got two degrees. 

It was so hard financially. I went through bankruptcy. I lost everything but it was the best 2-years of my life because I bonded with my daughter like there was no tomorrow. It was a good time.

I found myself. I found what I wanted to do in life. I had to take a step back and look to see what I wanted to do with my life. What was going to put food on the table? 

It was tough and it was a struggle but you have to strategize what you want to do. Look ahead. Not what’s in front of you right now but look down the road. Now is your time to reinvent yourself. Make it realistic.

If I can do it, anybody can do it. I’m not the most studious person. I’m not the most patient person. I didn’t want to sit there and take tests but I pressed on. 

I grew up overnight. I had to focus on being a mother and being an adult and being responsible because it’s all on my shoulders. If I don’t do it no one is going to do it for me. 

When the time is right it will happen. I will find someone who loves me, who loves my daughter and respects all the time I have to spend with work, and with travel soccer and school stuff. It’s just not a priority anymore. 

You can do it. Never doubt yourself. Follow your instincts. Follow your head and your heart and get them in sync. Take some time and do a lot of self-reflection.

Find your passion and go for it. Tap into those resources. There are so many resources out there that you can use. It’s amazing when you start talking to people how they can help you.

We want to help each other. We get busy with day-to-day lives but I think ultimately we’re here to help each other and lift each other up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A friend I grew up with gave me the label of a serial monogamist in college. He gave me that title because my habit was to go from relationship to relationship.

I can tell looking back I was focused on having to be with somebody. I think I lost a lot of my own development in that stage. I learned a lot of lessons, but I was not focusing on me and what I should be doing. I was more focused on not being single.

She asked me, did my parent’s divorce affect how I view relationships. Initially, I said no. I realized it did affect me in the way that I viewed conflict resolution, and the way I went about relationships and what my expectations were.

I realized I had a lot of premature endings in my relationships because of me. It really wasn’t because of the other person. It was because I didn’t know what it took to go to the next stage or I didn’t know how to resolve conflict without walking away and giving up and retreating. The trend needs to stop here.

Sex can be a blinder. It can be an inhibitor of thinking logically. I was not as focused on building a foundation for the relationship or what that foundation was. To be honest it was a lot of physical infatuation and a lot of endorphins kicking in. Once those wore off it wasn’t a Suddenly Single moment, but it felt like it.

You’re either going to marry this person or you are going to break this person’s heart. It’s a tough juncture to be at but that’s where I was with that relationship because I was like, I don’t know where this is going. Unfortunately, I did wind up breaking the girl’s heart. I’m not proud of it but that’s what happened.

I had to apologize to the girl who’s heart I broke. I felt like I had to do that. She’s a sweet girl.

Ironically enough my next relationship was with my wife.

It was years of personal development and reflection that allowed me to do that.

It’s a little bit of morality mixed in with competitiveness.  I don’t like getting things wrong multiple times. It was very clear this was one aspect of my life that I kept getting wrong.

I was fortunate to have older men in my life to continually put me into the game and invested in me.

I had to be upfront and transparent about who I am and who I’m becoming. I realized one of the things that kept the relationships at bay was we really were not on the same page and that could have been easily resolved with communication. I know we hear that a lot but we don’t often know what that looks like.

One of the biggest things was making sure a foundation and honesty was established upfront. It was enough that we had an understanding of who each other were.

I always have a circle of guys around me that I can really use as a solid sounding board. We would have these walks around the building and we would just talk.

I had to dig deep. I had never done any kind of relationship work with anyone besides my wife, even while we were still dating.

This person is willing to put in the work with me so let’s take it to the next stage.

If nothing changes nothing changes. I know it sounds so cliche, but it’s so true. If you find yourself in the same pattern it’s usually because the inputs are the same.

Surround yourself with people who are going to grow you.

I went to people who lived their life in a way I would want to emulate. Seek advice from people who are in a life that you want to emulate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been really difficult…abusive in both directions largely because neither of us knew any better at the time.

He had been through two back surgeries and had never really recovered from that emotionally and so I had so much compassion for him and I just wanted so much for him to know that life is still beautiful and life is still amazing.

I kept feeling like if I could just give more maybe he’ll see he’s worth something and basically gave myself away in that way for a very long time always kind of wondering, why isn’t it working?

There were lots of red flags along the way. Eventually, my Florence Nightingale act got too difficult to maintain. We had spent maybe 5-years smoking week morning, noon, and night. That’s what took to maintain a numbness that wasn’t going to make my head explode. It got to the point where the numbness was making my head explode as well.

It was a very surreal string of moments that brought back to my memory a picture…an awareness of myself…the light of my own heart.

An awareness came in that said, “Dear one, if you spend one more day doing what you’re doing the flame will go out”. And I knew exactly what that meant. It was the gentlest earth-shattering moment because it was intimate with my own knowing of myself.

In this moment, it just became so clear to me that sticking around and trying to help him was actually providing the comfort that enabled him to stay locked down where he was. Me sticking around, it wasn’t helping anybody.

There was this clear awareness that what I’m doing isn’t life and I’m here for life.

It took several days of me reestablishing a friendship with myself after that awareness to just put my arm around my own shoulders and say, I got you, come on…we can do this. It’s about that flame, it’s about that light…keep walking, keep walking.

A friend of mine had given me a safety net if I needed it, which was part of what gave me the strength to take action.

He started coming after me and I had backed myself into the kitchen. The fear was so much that I had already mapped out which drawer had the knives in it in case I needed to flip open a drawer. I surprised myself I was even thinking that way…it’s so outside of who I am.

I dialed 911 and what I remember saying is I need somebody to help me…I need help walking away from this marriage…everybody’s okay…nobody’s hurt…I just need help. That’s all I remember saying.

There were a couple of weeks where I stayed at my friend’s house and I went and filed divorce papers. I saw him one other time when he showed up at my job to give me the phone back. It was really tense.

I had no sense whatsoever than anyone would help me. I didn’t know I needed help. I didn’t know how to ask for help. I didn’t know what to say if I were to ask for help. I was very caught up in the obligation.

It really was divine intervention.

The love of individuals for individuals and the courage to look somebody in the eye and say I see and I know you are more than this and here’s a door. I still had to walk through it myself. I still had to call her and say, please come get me. It was the beginning of everything new.

Every single day I wake up feeling love in my body because the moment I recognized myself outside of that victim pattern and let myself feel different about myself it started to create an entirely different life. I wake up in the morning and smile because my body is full of love.

Life is all about acknowledging that light that is our life-force.

Let people see you. Let people see your real heart. What you love, what you enjoy. And, let people see when you hurt.

The journey of being seen is the journey of being loved.

The time we’re in now there are more people on the planet who honor vulnerability than ever before.

Let people see and just watch how loved you are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I met this guy when I was in the military, and like a lot of people in the military, we got married after knowing each other for one month. Everything seemed okay for the first couple weeks and then it quickly turned into craziness with a bunch of emotional abuse and manipulations.

Me being the type of person I am I thought I could make it better and we ended up getting pregnant a year into it.

Two days before I ended up giving birth to our daughter I found out he was on Tinder and he met someone and he had decided he wanted to pursue her rather than be with me and the baby.

It’s actually the best thing I could have asked for.

I’m sure if you have a good partner it does make it a lot easier being a parent, but for me, the partner I was with, he was never there for me.

This opportunity caused me to go back home and now I am surrounded by all my family, by all my friends, I’m back in the church that I was always involved with throughout my youth.

When I was with him it was kind of like this isolation. He didn’t want me to go out. I was just trying to keep the peace so I always stayed isolated. He was kind of like my whole world.

I was alone and I was crying all the time and everything just seemed so bleak and gray but then I came back.

Now that I’m back and myself again I can go and do whatever I want to do and I can be surrounded by that community of people and see people who actually do love and care about me.

When I decided to leave it was a pretty hard decision to make because I didn’t want to take her grandbaby that she was so excited to see. I didn’t want to take her a thousand miles away. It was heartbreaking but I knew it would be the best for me and the best for the baby.

I didn’t want to take his daughter away from him and have him miss out on all that but he wasn’t interested in the way he should have been in being a parent.

I was always really big into my church when I was younger. I would go on mission trips and I was a big part of the youth group. I got back involved.

I got a new wardrobe, I got a new haircut…everything to make little changes and I’ve also started working out.

All the decisions I get to make for myself. They may not always be the right decisions but knowing I get to do it my own way is great…it’s freeing, it’s empowering.

The person she is going to become is dependent on me and how I raise her and how I nurture her.

I think I would like to be in a better relationship. I’ve seen with family how joyful and how great it can be to have a family and to have someone who is your support. I think I do want that one day but for now, I think it’s best for me to just focus on me and to focus on her.

My big problem was I focused too much on him and what his needs were. I didn’t think about me and what my needs were. I was too busy trying to please someone else that I couldn’t please myself and didn’t even care to please myself. That’s not the way it should be.

I’ve always been the type of person who…I like to fix things and I feel like I can fix them.

As I got older I kind of realized no one can fix their problems but themselves.

Look at the red flags. It’s hard, but the earlier you get out the better it’s going to be for you.

I want everyone to know who is in that situation to know that you are enough. You are more than enough. That person, they just need to figure themselves out. You know who you are. Don’t try to fix them. They need to fix themselves.

Do better for yourself and you can do great things. It will hurt but it will be for the best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was with my husband for thirty years.  He became ill unfortunately and I became his caregiver for eight months and then he passed away.

The first few months after he dies you think you’re in grief because you’re crying a lot…it’s foggy..you think you’re in grief but I think the real grief only starts hitting later.

It’s such a profound impact that your mind can’t wrap itself around what is happening and then, of course, you have to get on with the day-to-day business of somebody dying which is really just a lot of administration.

The realization of how profoundly different my life is has just started to sink in.

I got out of a lot of widow groups because I found them depressing. It almost seems like a lot of people felt like their lives were over and I just didn’t want to be in that space or energy.

I’m talking to my therapist and I’m starting to write a lot.

Take it day-to-day.

Pretty quickly people have lives to live and life goes forward and I realized the dynamic does change. Suddenly you’re a single person so that becomes very different socially. After about 3 months you’re on your own.

Losing a spouse is the biggest self-development thing that could ever happen to you. What I’m realizing, being thirty years with somebody, your identity is so intertwined with that other person.

I don’t necessarily know who I am alone. I have every opportunity now to do whatever I want because I’m not part of a couple or a relationship anymore but I have no idea what that is either.

I’m not sure where I want to land permanently. I’m trying to leave the doors to opportunity open a bit.

My business is a huge part of my life and also my hobby so I work a lot.

I have to get out into the world and get back to the business of living. I write lists of things I want to try and do.

My husband was the social bug in the family. I could easily envision myself being that lady with twenty dogs and never leaving her house and so I have to fight against that happening. I feel like I need to get out into the world and kind of force myself out there.

When you’re married it’s not like you just run off for girl’s trips all the time and now I have that opportunity.

I’m trying to say yes more than I’m saying no.

My habits have changed more to who I am.

You have plans and suddenly those plans are gone and the lifestyle is gone so I’m just figuring out what’s different.

I’m a very private person when it comes to my emotions. I can be walking through the grocery store and have a total meltdown in the dairy aisle for no reason and then the next minute I’m excited about what’s possible. It’s minute by minute.

It’s really just this rollercoaster but I’m trying to keep it more up than down. That’s the goal.

It definitely sucks as much as you think it does and it’s not even describable how difficult it is, but I would also say this…we rise to the occasion when we have to. Hard things happen. We do get through it because we have to.

Take the time you need to process what’s happened to grieve because that grief will come whether you want it to or not. It just comes sometimes and you can’t stop it.

We have to know nothing’s permanent. Things change. When it does happen you can crumple up in a little ball or figure out what’s next.

Let the emotions happen because they’re going to happen anyhow. Understand it is a really hard road because it is going to require a lot of self-introspection and reflection. It’s also an opportunity to build something new and wonderful again. Different but wonderful.