I was married for about 8 years.

Most of our marriage we spent apart.

I became pregnant and we started to spend more time together and realized we should not live together.

It was sad at the time but looking back it seems such a necessary part of my story to come out the other side.

The question I asked myself was what do I want my life to be like?

Having a vision for what I want to be like and then executing that vision I probably don’t give myself enough credit for how amazing that really was.

I think almost dying brought things into sharp relief for me. I decided I didn’t like the life that I was living.

He confessed he had fallen out of love with me.

Am I somebody that’s desirable?

I had the reputation of dating a lot.

I really value having the freedom to have a relationship that takes its natural state.

I didn’t like living on the relationship escalator. This opened my eyes to polyamory.

As I envision my life going forward this is the way I want to be.

Polyamory and relationship anarchy (which is another subset of ethical non-monogamy), those philosophies and practices have really helped us as co-parents.

Nothing happens in polyamory that isn’t agreed to from the beginning. There is such a thing as cheating in polyamory.

Everything is subject to negotiation. Everything is examined and nothing is taken for granted.

I had to really drill down and figure out what it was I that I wanted in my relationships and what I was willing to accept in relationships.

Currently, I have two partners.

Is she going to try to take my husband?

I’m not a person who thinks everyone should be polyamorous.

It’s a really fine line talking to people about your personal life and talking to people about your sex life.

I would never deny one of the people I love to anybody. I feel that would diminish them. To the extent it comes out, I share it.

There are polyamorous people who have relationships that don’t involve sex at all.

Jealousy is an emotion that everyone deals with.

Jealousy is a signal from my brain that I have a need here that is not being met.

Learning that these negative emotions that we have mean something.

I was just me again.

External validation is a cheap and easy drug and it goes away fast. I had to learn very quickly to cultivate my own internal validation and that was a huge turning point for me.

Try to find some calm and think about what you want your life to be.

Envision yourself in the place you want to be in 5 or 10 years and then start making the moves to make those things happen. Even the stuff that seems really impossible or really hard. You are a resourceful person. You can achieve these things on your own.

I was married for almost 15 years.

He was a high school football coach.

We received a phone call that he wasn’t breathing. He was on life support for 3 days

We did the DNR and he was braindead. He passed away from a massive brain aneurysm.

I was 38 at the time and he was 48. Our daughters were 8 and 11.

I remember when they told us there was nothing that they could do.

I’ve always thought myself and independent, strong, and powerful woman. I was surprised to find how broken I was.

My life prior was so easy and I didn’t realize it.

When it’s a sudden death there’s a lot that’s left unsaid. I had some regrets from our last moments together.

We got cards and condolences from around Kansas City

The emotional support that I lost broke me and I wasn’t prepared for that. I wasn’t prepared for the physical pains of grief. I had no idea what pain was until my husband passed away.

I did not realize how easily I could be broken.

I had a double ear infection and sinus infection and that was due to all the crying. The weight on your chest…it feels like you cannot breathe like somebody has their hands around your throat.

Nothing else matters except this deep dark pit that you are sitting in.

The emotional exhaustion relates incredibly physically.

Here I was leaning against the side of the shower just bawling. I’d hear my daughters doing the same.

There came a period of adrenaline too. And then anger arose. I wasn’t mad at Eric. You can’t be mad at someone that didn’t mean to die.

Life happens regardless of what your plans are.

I know that I had to feel everything that I was feeling. No matter how messed up it seemed or how messed up it felt it was valid.

I had to feel those crazy things in order to move forward.

We were a statistic in that we were not prepared. Eric didn’t have a will. We didn’t have enough life insurance.

I did not leave my house for quite some time because everyone knew us. I hated it. I hated it so much.

My kids are tired of grieving and they want it to go back to normal but they can’t because everybody knows that their Dad died so they’re walking around on eggshells. We don’t want the eggshells but we need the eggshells.

I think every time we share it makes it easier.

Grieve really really hard now so you can feel something else later. Doing this was making me stronger. Doing this was making me braver.

It’s nice to be able to smile while we’re sharing this stuff with each other.

When I was in the deep pits of grief if something triggered me I would literally be done for the day. Now I cry, I laugh about it and we get up and go. We go do life.

I like who I am now a whole lot better than who I was before. I hate that I had to lose my husband to evolve to who I am today.

I am more gentle. I don’t sweat the small stuff. Literally, it doesn’t matter. If it won’t matter in 5 years it doesn’t matter. I am more appreciative and I am more grateful.

I am blessed for this laundry because these people are here to dirty it. There is so much we take for granted in life and then life teaches us a lesson.

I put my phone down more.

When you do those things you create more experiences. The stuff doesn’t matter. I  have a slower-paced lifestyle and I like it.

How many times do we pose for professional photos with our children on the grass? Do you really do that? Or do you just pose for professional photos? I find myself doing it more now.

We were both workaholics in our previous lives and we had let that happen.

We put ourselves to the wayside and I wish we had not.

Hold on to hope.

One day you’re going to look back at this time and think, “That was a really hard time but I made it.”

Your heart expands and you learn to carry on and brings your spouse honor and keeps their legacy alive because they have changed you. You are who you are today because of the person you were with.

Whomever you spend your time with helps you evolve into who you are going to become. I am a better person because of my husband Eric.

I hold on to hope that good things are coming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was married for almost 10 years.

The last time I was single was when I was 22.

I found myself out there in this whole new crazy world of online dating

I dated a lot of really young men.

I went with the easy fun thing.

I’m almost living my life in reverse. I didn’t really have those crazy 20’s.

I dated a lot of young fun awesome guys.

A woman on a post-divorce rampage.

I was already off how I imagined my mental checklist of how my life should be I might as well enjoy my life for a bit.

I was never really ever alone.

I was someone who had one boyfriend after another.

I was constantly filling my life with men.

It’s probably a little cliche but it’s scary to get comfortable with yourself.

One of the things I never could do was be alone and feel okay about that.

It might just be me and that be okay.

It might be cliche but you’re enough.

I traveled on my own for the first time.

I loved having a little romance with myself doing the things I love.

I imagined I would meet someone else and have another child and immediately be back in a family unit situation and that didn’t happen.

Maybe I might not have another child but the one I have is pretty amazing.

The logistics side of being a single mom is a little bit challenging.

It’s hard to leave your adorable cute child to go on a date.

My life plan involved staying married to the same person forever.

It’s very odd to move back to a place when you’ve gotten divorced.

The idea of sharing him broke my heart.

I almost lived two lives for a period of time.

I didn’t want to sit with myself for too long. I remember filling space.

You can keep running and busying yourself endlessly.

It took me a string of really bad breakups to take a moment and figure out what’s going on.

It made me a better artist. I opened myself up in those ways.

I never used to write. Now I write every day. I journal.

You can really fall into living a very intentional life and not really going outside your comfort zone.

It’s scary but you also get all those wonderful experiences.

I’m happy and where I need to be.

We’re all kind of a work in progress. Sometimes you think you have it all figured out and then a day later something happens and you’re like dear God!

I thought, “I will leave my marriage and everything will be okay. This one thing is the problem and when this is different everything will be better.” I don’t think I realized that there were just a lot of my own things that I had not dealt with.

There are patterns I have in relationships and the types of men that I choose.

I have to say turning 40 is really a thing. That came out of nowhere.

Letting go of what I thought my life would look like at 40.

I’m sort of a grownup and not at the same time.

You get older but you don’t necessarily feel older.

I very much feel like a little girl if I’m going through a breakup.

The way that I’ve been living my life is probably a bit of a mix of real-life responsibilities and being a bit of a teenager because I can.

You’re always stronger than you think you are.

Sometimes you have to believe in something you can’t see.

Hopefully, this gives us a chance to laugh at some of the times in life we find ourselves suddenly single.

I had been dating him for 6-7 months and I thought it was going well.

I thought surely I would hear from him on Valentine’s Day.

A week passes.

I don’t get any response from him.

I’m someone who doesn’t like any gray areas.

I decide I’m going to go where he works.

We began walking and started talking.

I wonder why we’re walking at such a fast pace.

I asked him to tell me what happened.

He says I’ll just talk to you tomorrow.

He walks down the stairs and when I look he is gone. 

This 6’3” man in a 3-piece suit is running up Park Avenue in New York City!

I’m watching him run the block and make a left and I thought, “WOW! One day this is going to be really funny but right now it is completely humiliating.”

We are two grown adults why are you running away?

Now I just chalk it up to dating in New York City.

I thought it was really disrespectful to go out that way.

I realized the person I was dating I didn’t really know.

I did not expect it to end with him running down the street.

I remember calling my best friend and saying, “You’re not going to believe this story.” 

I tried not to cry on the train home.

I will write it out and it kind of helps me to just get it out.

I tend to be a little more insular and examine it.

I started to see that certain things weren’t exactly as they seemed.

Something about the time that we were spending wasn’t as frequent as it had been before.

Music is a big thing for me.

I’ve always leaned on music even as a child.

I spent time with friends reconnecting with people again.

Reminding myself that is wasn’t my fault. Just because a relationship fails doesn’t mean it’s an indictment on yourself or the other person. Sometimes it just doesn’t work.

While the ending was really messy there were good times that had existed within that.

When things intuitively don’t feel right pay attention to those things.

I expected more of this person and I thought more of this person

Realizing this was just one situation and I’m not going to apply it to the 3 billion men in the world and make anyone pay for what happened. 

Unfortunately, he didn’t have the vocabulary or the wherewithal to have that conversation with me.

Everyone is going to make their own choices.

One of the things I learned is that you can’t force someone to meet you where you are.

I think there’s always an ownership everyone has to take. It’s never one-sided.

When I was younger and I was a teenager I was more of a hothead

I practiced not letting someone take me out of my own character and really stay rooted in my own beliefs.

There was a time in my 20’s where I thought it was all my fault

For me, journaling helps me a lot to look at the situation as if I’m not in it but I’m outside it.

If one out of two marriages ends in divorce what’s the statistic for relationships? A lot higher than that.

I wish that he would have handled it better.

There were times I felt I couldn’t be clear about what I wanted because it would push the other person away.

Realize that it’s not you. Sometimes things just don’t work out.

The more you spend blaming yourself or blaming someone else is the less time you give yourself to heal and then move on. 

My marriage was quite psychologically and emotionally abusive.

I left him the first time when I was pregnant with my second child.

I had a vision of myself on two different paths. I saw who I became if I stayed and I saw who I became if I went.

I saw a very powerful version of myself if I left.

I knew if I stayed I was teaching my children you put up with a bad situation.

I didn’t want them to grow up thinking this was the way you deserve to be treated.

I found him on Ashley Madison.

He held the money card.

I was working three jobs for a while.

Those jobs were not earning enough to cover expenses.

Now that you’re a single parent you have to understand what you’re getting into.

The vision of the powerful woman is starting to unfold.

I had to really look at how I attracted such a terrible relationship.

I didn’t realize until I was out and looking back at that relationship how horrible it actually was.

I had to take a good look at myself.

There’s a history of abusive relationships in my family.

He showered me with loads and loads of attention.

He would say things like, “Do you think you’re intelligent enough to read that?”

The abuse was very underhanded.

It was never his fault it was always mine.

The growth in myself is being able to say I am good enough.

It’s actually okay to not be 100% perfect.

It’s okay to make mistakes and not berate yourself for them.

I’ve even had to remove my own mother from my life so I can become who I’m meant to be and grow.

To grow and become the strong person I need to grow into I can’t live my life trying to please other people.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make but I’m better for it.

Just because he doesn’t hit you doesn’t mean it’s not abuse.

I’ve made a lot of new friends along the way.

Reading other women’s stories has helped me.

I will get through this because here’s another woman who has gone before me and done it.

I managed and you will manage too.

Get yourself a job or start finding a way to get money into your bank account.

Lean on whoever you can to help you get out. If you need to go to a shelter go.

If you know it’s not right, make the tough decision and go.

Jon co-owns a diamond store

There’s no formula. When life has its setbacks you never know what’s around the corner.

Just by living your normal daily life good things can happen.

Having a sense of perspective can help.

I think everything works out for the best, even though it doesn’t seem like it.

Don’t go buy an engagement ring and then go back to someone. That does not work out.

If you have jewelry you don’t want to wear go to somewhere reputable take in your jewelry and say, “What can I do with it?”

I’m seeing a pattern of people reconnecting with someone from the past after their first marriage didn’t work out.

That’s the thing about jewelry. The person who gave it to you might not be around but you can hold the piece in your hand.

Life hands you its own set of adventures and there’s no way to predict what you’re going to get.

It’s a personal journey.

When you’re in a positive mind space positive things happen.

When I see a broken engagement I see another engagement 12 months or less.

You can inscribe something on a diamond. A secret message to yourself.

Diamonds are the strongest substance on earth.

It’s perfectly okay to have an initial period of sadness and grief in order to fully get over it.

You have to move on. You have a family that cares about you.

Take time for yourself to grieve. Tell your friends what you’re doing but then move on.

After waiting my whole life to meet my match I really thought I had.

During that time I was writing dating and relationship articles for Cosmopolitan and I was working on my first book about the real reasons men commit.

The first half of the book was written with my fabulous relationships in mind.

Keep in mind that I was running all of these things across a renowned relationship coach.

About 10-months into the relationships things really started to break down.

He went from Mr. Perfect to someone who was actually scaring me and breaking me down.

I found myself sobbing to one of my friends.

I’m a highly intelligent person. How did this happen to me?

I offered to standby him if he got help.

It was like a bad Cosmo story.

I was supposed to be the authority on the subject and instead, I was a wreck.

I lost like 15 pounds I couldn’t afford to use.

We decided to write my story into the end of it.

Relationships are complicated.

The book came out and I was doing all this press where people were referring to me as a dating and relationship expert and it was killing me because I was asking myself, “Am I a fraud?”

I don’t believe there is one tried and true answer with relationships.

It changed the way I approach my writing.

The best you can do is be authentic.

You don’t want to trick somebody into a relationship with you.

Be confident with who you are.

I had never experienced a heartbreak that bad before.

I am always amazed at the resiliency of human beings.

Don’t try to weather it alone.

You need to find that circle that is going to help you come back to your complete self.

I left town, I went home and I stayed with my parents for probably two weeks.

I was not handling it at all.

I was reminded of what true love felt like.

Being reminded of those little things and how love actually feels was very helpful for finding my way back to stability.

I spent two weeks on my parents back porch sobbing and writing.

I reached a point in healing and look back on the relationships and recognize the joys I experienced.

In the process of that journey, there were beautiful moments.

If you only remember the trauma and the sadness then why on earth would you want to ever find another relationship?

As human beings, we learn in relationship.

I think most of the lessons we get in life we get from other people.

Staying aware of the positive is important.

I kind of have a great life being single.

It’s about embracing where you are at that moment.

Only you know when you’re ready.

I think it’s about being aware of where you are at and accepting that.

Value the time while you are single.

It is hella painful when you find yourself suddenly single.

If you don’t risk love then you don’t experience it.

Look at the traits the person brought out in you and if they were good or bad.

I realized through the course of the relationship that I was bad at boundaries.

I’m a giver and I always want to make people around me happy.

I learned it’s okay for me to have needs and to say no to things.

He would tell me these stories that didn’t really add up for me

He said all these things that were not verifiable

I didn’t believe him but I also didn’t want to be this awful suspicious journalist person (which is what I am) so I tried to push my suspicions aside

I got a call from NCIS

He was charming he was funny

I cared about being with somebody solid

It was kind of a shock to find out he wasn’t who he seemed to be

I think that as a journalist there’s this tension between being a person living a life and being a person writing about other people’s lives

My spidey sense never really went away

I couldn’t push it aside but I tried to

I kept thinking to myself that I had blown something big

I was really feeling like a bad person

I was looking for these tells

I was really just trying to figure out who he was and what was real and what wasn’t real

He gaslit me

I didn’t know what was real and I didn’t trust myself

She wore a wire and that’s how he got caught

I realized my instincts had been right

He went to jail

I thought nobody would be that mean to lie to somebody again and he did

I thought something was off but I just wasn’t sure

I thought he was lying to me

Trust your gut

There’s this rampant duplicity

We see what we are looking for

I’m really ambivalent about whether I want to be with anyone or not

It’s so easy to lie

I’d have to meet someone pretty spectacular and I can’t imagine where or how

I really listen to myself now

Our intuition is really pretty good at picking up things our conscious mind doesn’t

Have your own money have your own bank account be smart

I think it’s better to err on the side of caution

It’s not your fault is really the message

There are a million reason why you wouldn’t spot being manipulated or lied to or wouldn’t want to spot it

Really smart people get deceived

You have this experience and you learn from it you take the lesson from it

Once something happens you might as well make a reason out of it

My husband is in the air force

The first time he went TDY we didn’t have kids

I came home to an empty house

We got married and left for our first duty assignment

He did a good job preparing me

The more difficult times were when we started to have kids

I didn’t really know anybody

It forced me to greet my neighbors

You have to find a support system

When my son was a newborn we PCS’d and I knew no one

Here I am, new mom, newborn trying to figure things out

For me, it has always been important to keep going in one way or another

We moved overseas and then we were in Kansas when we had our second son

My husband deployed to Baghdad

I felt the pressure to need to find a job

I saw everything being depleted

I stressed myself so much

I needed a job so I went and got it

I gained a lot of weight

A lot of stuff went on emotionally and financially

Even though we’re in the era of WhatsApp, it doesn’t replace the human being that can be in front of you

When you keep your mind busy and yourself busy it makes time go fast

Not having your spouse there to hold you when you’re having a bad day that’s rough, but being a military spouse, fortunately, has made me stronger. It never makes it easier but it has made me stronger.

You have to give yourself the grace to have those down days

I find when I take some time for me it allows me to think clearer

We have a lot going on and a lot of decisions to make

When we take care of ourselves it allows you to clear some of the mind so you can make better decisions

When you think you can’t do it or you’re overwhelmed you absolutely can

When you have a military spouse friend they know what they are going through

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I met my ex-husband when I was 17

We were together 17 years

It was the first time I was ever single in my adult life

It was my choice to end the relationship

It was not how I envisioned my life to be

It was more about rebuilding the infrastructure of my life

There were a lot of things I depended on my husband for

There was a lot of trauma that happened for me post-divorce than within the relationship

It was important for me to heal and go through the healing journey

I forced myself to look at it and heal through it so that I don’t take that with me into the future

I cried a lot

I just kept getting triggered and triggered and triggered

You keep thinking I got this and then you get triggered and you’re just a complete mess

Feeling though all the feelings, allowing myself to be angry

When the timing is right I end up where I need to be

I didn’t run away from anything

I’m still figuring things out

To really learn who I am and to discover myself, I had to rebuild myself up and get in touch with who I am

I’m very much into energy, energy work, consciousness

That spiritual side of me go put away

I was shut down in so many places I didn’t even realize I was shut down in

I had to get back in touch with my feminine

I felt how separated I was from myself

How do I put myself back together because I was broken

I would meet with different energy healers

I was learning about myself

Having the ability and a safe space to move in a certain way put me back in touch with my femininity

I created my own roadmap and followed it

I redid my closet and got rid of as much black as I could

I am so content being alone, not lonely but alone

I love walking into my house and it’s just mine

I love my space

I was so shocked by how many people showed up to support me

I remember just bursting into tears

I felt supported, no one’s going to let me fall

Figure out who you are

This is your moment in time when you are raw and broken and putting yourself back together

You can forgive when you are ready to forgive

I felt so gratefulness for him and the lessons he taught me

Don’t force yourself into anything, just keep focusing on you and the rest will fall into place