I had been living 2.5 months in an alternate reality

There were no real grounds to have any red flags

I thought it was great out of the gym team chemistry

It was getting pretty serious…he was asking for ring sizes

I saw them arriving together with him driving her car

He had been dating both of us at the same time

It engulfed me in so much worry about this other situation he was feeding me as to why he couldn’t see me

It was all a lie and I had been believing it

Once I realized it was all fake it was like believing that the grass was purple

It was the most bizarre situation I have ever been in

It would have been better if he had ghosted me

You can’t make this stuff up

I’m someone who is a people pleaser

We came from significantly diverse backgrounds

I’m a sucker for a goofy boy

He had manipulated himself into someone who looked like he hadn’t made the best decisions in his past but was here now to make them right

He tells me he got named in a government case in this 10-year old drug ring in the Southside of Chicago

It was a sob story, I’m going to prison you shouldn’t be with me

I kept this secret inside me

I was just stuck on this big information island for 3-months

I don’t think she knew what he did to me

Suddenly I heard stories of so many people who had run into the law that nobody ever talks about it

Once I realized it was a lie it was so easy

Once you realize something you are worried about isn’t real then you’re just relieved

I was returning to myself and reestablishing my life as a strong independent woman

I was a trusting person

I don’t buy into the idea that people can be damaged from relationships

You certainly don’t feel like you have to go through it alone

I’ve been trying not to have up front expectations based on past experiences

I try to see the good in people and have an open mind

You want someone to be experienced enough so they can be a whole half to your relationship

What I tell myself is there is good going on around me and good happening for me that I may not see and I may never know about

Believe in that faith that good things are happening

I dodged a bullet

I was the only woman out of that whole year who didn’t end up pregnant

The end lesson of it was that I was actually being protected

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was getting dressed to go to some couples therapy when I got this text message

I hadn’t seen it coming

Hindsight is 20/20

Sometimes looking back I can’t believe I didn’t see it coming

I knew we were at a make or break point in our relationship. I thought it was a make point.

I am still remarked at the magnitude of the loss

We’ve all been through breakups that have hurt

There are so many layers to the loss I’m surprised I’m I’m still feeling it at the magnitude that I do

I feel like I lost my best friend…like my best friend died

I understand the grief process now

I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror because something was missing and I could see it in my face

When somebody says I’m out you have to let them go

I chose to acquiesce and not do anything

It was the hardest decision I ever made

If someone is putting you on a pedestal it’s easy to devalue them

Moving forward was like climbing Mt. Everest

I just want to get through the day and here’s how I take care of me

I read a lot

I learned more about myself

Learning somehow makes some of the pain worth it

I can learn about me

I can grow from here

I had an unceremonious awakening

I had a breakdown on the streets of New York

I remember thinking a year from now I’ll be in a completely different place regardless of what happens

I’m sure I’ll be able to find the silver lining here somewhere

There could be so much less grief in the world if we all understood our own backgrounds better and our partner’s backgrounds better

Love is not a zero-sum game

What you’re losing could be opening a space for you to gain something

Just because something ends doesn’t mean it was your fault

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was married young

I was married 20 years

About halfway through we began to drift away

I started to feel like I was mourning the marriage while I was still in it

I was going through the motions

I wanted that shared responsibility of taking care of one another

I needed to make sure that I did everything that I could

I needed to know I could look at my children and say I have tried everything I can do

I cannot take care of you until I take care of myself

There was no way I could give them a healthy life

You have to prepare how you are going to step forward if that happens

It’s just like any other emergency management plan

For me, it was a clean cut

I was prepared mentally to go on with my life

When my kids have asked about my side I don’t go there

Everybody is entitled to how they feel

I stopped worrying about what everybody else thought

I evolved

You do the best you can do that particular day

Give yourself time to breathe

Ground yourself again

My mom was actually proud of me for sticking up for my kids and sticking up for myself

It’s okay to make that change

Be true to yourself

You have to remember that if you’re not happy now there is going to be a time when you are happy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was 17 and went away to college

I met this guy and it was my first love

Our lives were so intertwined

He had cheated on me and my life was turned upside down

My first love and my heart sank

I forgave him

I didn’t want to believe it

We continued to date and he continued to cheat on me

My mother knew that he had cheated on me

When I love I love hard

I was putting so much energy into the relationship

At that moment I realized he just doesn’t care

It was a very explosive relationship

I was just really sad

I walked out the door and closed it and I guarantee he thought I was coming back

After we broke up I just fell in this dark place

All of a sudden I’ve got to redefine myself again

I just almost hid

I remember being in my room and Netflixing all the time

I only left my room to go drinking or work out

I didn’t know who I was anymore

I started only leaving my room to work out

I was working out 4-6 hours a day

She said either you need to get professional health or you need to go to yoga with me

Yoga started out as a workout but it was the first time I truly had to be by myself

I didn’t know how to redefine myself so I just filled it with working out

At the time I didn’t recognize it but I fell in love with yoga

This hour of mindfulness this hour of myself doesn’t have to be about working out

I just realized it’s not my fault

I can’t blame him for the entirety of the situation

I realized in savasana I had to let this go

I really feel the power of yoga could save the world

My message to everyone is I still struggle with it to a certain extent

I still have those thoughts of I look fat

Now I have the tools on how to cope with it

I took the time to work through it

I need a routine and that’s helpful for me

I don’t know if I’ll ever fully be healed from those thoughts

Stuff is going to happen and sometimes it’s out of your control

When I have those thoughts I can acknowledge them, process them and then push them away

Know that you’re okay

Know that you’re not alone

That was my whole world

I didn’t know anything else but that world

You’re not alone and you don’t need to sugarcoat things

You’re worried about what other people will think

By saying it out loud you feel this big weight off

You can reinvent yourself 100 times and it’s going to be okay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I proposed within 6 months and we were married within a year

Our relationship went from the first date to divorce in three years

I was at work and she had wiped out all of our accounts

She had just stolen tens of thousands of dollars out of our mutual bank account

She had planned to tell me that night at couples counseling

There is no way you should ever get engaged to anybody until you’ve been dating at least a year

I went into this relationship well aware of what I needed and what I wanted

I didn’t want to waste time

I started negotiating my non-negotiables

All of a sudden the life I had been picturing disappeared

Anything I was doing that was not processing my emotions was a distraction

I made time to process

Sometimes we don’t want to be sad but we need to be sad

It’s not as debilitating as it was

It got to a point where it didn’t stop me from living my life anymore

I was able to get to the point where I could wish her the best and mean it even though that hurt was so great

I really leaned on some of my friends who had already gone through it

One of the things I learned is I’m a pretty great person

There is someone who is going to recognize the greatness in you

Everybody has to do their full part

My ability to always land on my feet has become more apparent to me

I learned to be more patient

I learned to enjoy the ride

The only thing we had guaranteed in life is change

We need to treat every day as we are meeting a new person

She liked the idea of being married more than she liked the idea of being married to me

If you have the ability, talk it out with a therapist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a product of divorce

My parents have each been married three times

People can learn from our lessons

My husband had had enough and started yelling at my son and they got into a fistfight

It was the first time I’d ever seen anybody hit anybody in my family

He said I want a divorce and I’m done with you

I had no money to do anything

It took almost 9 months for him to move out

They wanted to arrest my son

I had three weeks to pack up everything in my house and move out

The last thing I ever dreamed of was having the police come to my house

There was a lot of positive thinking that needed to take place

When you’ve made the decision to leave it’s a lot easier than when someone decides to leave you

You exist but you don’t know how you’re existing you just do it

It takes time to work through all the emotions to have that closure

When you get divorced you need to put your kids in therapy

No matter what you can do anything

You can reinvent yourself

I became a new person

I focus on the things I really like and that makes life easier

Anything is possible you just have to take baby steps and eventually you will get there

It gives me a purpose

To make myself a priority is not always easy to do

It’s all about the adults setting the example for the kids

Take it one day at a time

Focus on the positives

Life isn’t over just because that person is out of your life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was from a very very small town

I came from a religious background

I met a boy and he was a bit of a bad boy

After two years he asked me to marry him

I was excited and very much in love

Two weeks after the wedding his sister knocked on my door and said I have to tell you something

I couldn’t imagine there could be anything horrible before that moment

She told me my new husband was a convicted felon and had spent 18 months in a federal penitentiary

He came in the door I confronted him and that was the first time he hit me

I didn’t really know what to do

He was instantly remorseful he said he’d never do it again I believed him

He started coming in late he started drinking more…he changed

The second time he hit me landed me in the hospital for almost two weeks

It was in the hospital bed I decided no more

I was bruised and battered and I was on a mission

In the hospital, I planned and plotted

I got out of the hospital and essentially I was single at the point

I decided I would stay with him long enough so that I could gather enough money to leave

I hired an attorney

He would call me and threaten my life telling me he would beat me with a baseball bat

I had to watch my back

I was scared but I knew I had to leave this person

I said to myself I will never again go back to that situation

I had a full-time job, a part-time job and I got another job and went to school full-time

That was at a time when police and judges didn’t take domestic violence so seriously as they do today so I didn’t have a lot of support

I had to wait two years for a divorce

Two years of stalking and being attacked

I was ashamed, I was embarrassed but I had to find a way to pick it up

I decided there had to be some good to come out of this…some way I could use this help others

I learned although my situation was horrible there were people who had it a lot worse than I did

It was uplifting for me and helped me to see my situation better

It helped me see myself as a person who could survive

Without that, I would not have met my now husband

Ultimately it all had its purpose and it worked its way out

There is no reason someone’s hand should come at you that way but at the time I felt like I deserved it

You didn’t do anything to deserve a hit or an infidelity

The counselor said to me, “You’re broken and you don’t even see the cracks.”

This brokenness that you are are what left the door open for him

I had to realize there was something in me that allowed this

A lot of what he did to me was a manipulation that started at the very beginning

What was it about me that was blinded to that

What about you allowed it?

I need to be perfect and if they knew this happened to me I’m no longer perfect

I really planned my exit and it’s important to do that

Getting a therapist was a pivotal decision

You have to take the time to think about what you’re doing and how you’re going to do it

As women, we take things on our shoulders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We met and got married 6-7 months later

There were issues that were hidden from me or I had ignored

I worked really hard on this marriage, harder than any relationship before

I was exhausted mentally and physically

The relationship died

It was very sad and it’s still is sad when I think about it

One of the cool things I got out of our relationship was a love of thrift stores

Every time I grab a piece of clothing I remember when I bought this with her

This was my second marriage…I didn’t want to fail again

I finally came to the realization that couldn’t be the person that cured her

I finally just gave up and ended up the relationship

I started volunteering

I can spend more time with my family and more time with my friends

I feel like in the past year I’ve grown 10 years growth

I managed to lose 80 pounds

I felt like I’m nowhere near ready to consider being in a relationship again

You have to embrace the grief part

The bad days are not going to kill you

You’re going to have days where you’re sitting in a Starbucks and a song comes on and it just crushes you

Being single allows you to do those things that bring you joy

It’s so hard to end a relationship

Understand that it’s going to be hard and it’s going to take a while

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was married for 26 years  and I knew him most of my life

He had cancer and it lasted 3.5 years

I had an unbelievable wave of support

I had two children 19 and 9

Lord knows we needed to laugh

My hospice people told me for the first Thanksgiving and Christmas you need to be out of the house

We eat cheeseburgers in his honor

Music has been a good outlet for me

I have memories of us playing the music

His presence is just still there

You have a choice after someone dies of curling up in a ball

Five years later this can still hit me out of the blue

My children saved my life

The whole situation that we were in was so difficult

I said to my children, “I hope my legacy to you is showing you what a marriage really is. It’s until death do you part and it’s in sickness and in health and if you don’t take those two seriously then don’t get married.”

You learn to value things like the daily hugs

I found out I was a lot stronger than people thought

I found some sort of inner strength and God too

For the first time in my life I had money

Each morning dawns with a new reality of loss of the one who knew you best

You cannot prepare for that

The aloneness of this is profound

You need friends who won’t run away from you in fear

I would ball my eyes out until I almost threw up

You just have to constantly tell yourself it’s going to be okay

I try to look at my blessings

There are things that are good and they’re still there

I’m glad I was married that was my gift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He had been having an affair for more than a year

I gave him a few minutes to grab a few things and kicked him out

I knew something was happening I just didn’t realize it was that

He had spent that last year gaslighting me

I did not have the most stable childhood

I’m living with someone who is making my life a lie

The structure of ideas you’ve built around your life to make it work all of a sudden dissolves

I was always very clear that I really needed to feel this

I would pull my car over to the side of the road and sob

I really wanted to move past this

I embraced minimalism

I went back to school

It feels good to be moving forward and moving past that experience

That experience doesn’t define me anymore

Right after it happened it was all I could talk about it

There will be a time when you are on the other side of it

Let it break you

Build up that foundation again

Embrace that opportunity

Feel it, feel all of it