Denise R: I realized I need to go about this in a rational manner

March 22, 2021









My ex-husband and I met when I was really young, I was 19 when we met and we got married when I was 21.

We were married for 18 years. There was a specific event that occurred where I just knew this was the end of our marriage and everything kind of spiraled out of control for a moment after that.

I think I handled it pretty well, looking back on everything. I actually surprised myself about how strong I can actually be. It was a sudden change in my marriage. Things hadn’t been great, but I just saw it as a little downhill in the marriage which happens when you’ve been together that long. But it really was sudden.

They always say, your life can change in an instant and that’s how I felt.

I’m definitely a planner. For me, I didn’t cope with it very well at first. Surprisingly, I didn’t really break down and cry. I don’t know if I was in shock.

I need to be strong. I can’t lose it right now. It kept me calm but in my head, I was like, what am I going to do? My first reaction was I just want to flee. I don’t even want to go back home. I just want to flee from everything and not have to deal with it. Once I calmed down a little bit I realized I need to go about this in a rational manner and try not to freak out so much.

There were all these questions…where do I want to live? How am I going to support myself financially?

There was a lot of thinking going on. We actually lived together for 6 months after we separated, which people think is insane and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it but the good part was I didn’t flee and I was confronted with him every day and it allowed for us to talk a lot, to cry a lot, to yell a lot. Not necessarily in front of our daughter. I felt like I was able to process everything by talking with him and being confronted by him and I think he needed to talk too. I think, in the end, it was actually helpful to me.

During this time I was just trying to figure things out. There were meltdowns for sure. The minute I was in the car for the first time by myself, completely by myself, it just hit me and I had to pull over in the parking lot and just cry.

All in all, I remember waking and thinking, this isn’t it. This is not the end of my life. I just decided to see it as the beginning of my second life. I always say we only have one life. I didn’t want to waste away the rest of my life being upset and bitter and depressed and heartbroken. Just decided this is my chance to start over.

Just being able to focus on myself a little bit more and being able to do things that I want to do without having to answer to anyone. Just not putting the man first. I know that sounds awful but my life did revolve around him. He was the center of my universe. Everything in my life revolved around him. Any decision I made revolved around him.

It was my mom who said to me that I had put him on this pedestal and nobody could touch him. He was definitely the center of my world and it was probably wrong for me to do that. For my second life, I just wanted to be alone. I didn’t want to answer to anyone. I just wanted to put myself and my daughter first.

I wanted to make sure I was not ignoring my feelings about everything. I wanted to make sure I was processing everything. You are grieving. I was grieving the past and the loss of this marriage and I was also grieving my idea of what I thought our future family life would be like. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t denying myself of feeling those things.

I went on a trip all by myself to figure out how am I feeling about all this. I wanted to check in with myself. I needed to make sure I was able to get away and think.

Sunday morning now is my thing. I don’t have to worry about anybody else expecting anything of me. That’s a new thing. I don’t want to clean up the dishes I don’t have to. It’s so freeing in a way.

There’s no tension around me anymore. It’s just so nice not to have that tension anymore, it’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I’m still working on my dissertation for my Ph.D. I’ve been spending more time with friends. Most of my friends are married and with kids and it has been a new thing for me to find single friends or friends who don’t have kids. I’m meeting all these new women that are single. It’s fun to be able to connect with them and go out with them and just have fun. It’s this whole new group of friends that I’m finding. That’s really new.

I just started getting into meditation. Those who know me probably think I’m insane, but one of the problems I have is switching modes. Meditation has helped me calm my mind a little bit so I can focus on the next thing.

I’ve never been a really religious person but I’ve just recently started becoming more spiritual. I have found that has helped me. That belief that things do happen for a reason and let go of control of your life and trust that things are going to work out has helped me. I’m a doer and I need to control certain aspects of my life so I’ve learned to just take a breath and relax and everything will be fine. You don’t always have to DO all the time.

A few things have happened in my life where I thought, this had to have happened for a reason. This can’t be a coincidence that this happened the way it did.

Everything was just going crazy and I just needed to get some control back and a way of doing that was benign proactive about my future and my daughter’s future and it felt good. It helps in a way but it can just block a lot of things too.

One of the things that has been hard is if I’ve had a rough day and I come home and there’s nobody there sometimes I think it would be nice if somebody was here who could just say, it will be okay. Somebody to talk to about it.

I met my ex-husband when I was 19. I’d never dated. I don’t understand the rules. There were no text messages back then. There were no dating apps back then. I remember we were talking on the landline on a calling card. I don’t understand the rules and I don’t know any other way to be than in a relationship. I’m just being me. It’s not like I’m trying to rush into the next relationship, I’m, just being me.

It’s okay to grieve and to be upset and to process all that, but at the same time, there is so much to look forward to. See it as a new beginning, as a chance to do something with your life that maybe you weren’t able to do while you were married and just see it as an exciting part.

Making all these decisions, it is liberating, it is empowering to do all these things on your own because it can actually be fun. I know it’s scary and I was scared too because I didn’t know what was going to happen (and I still don’t know what is going to happen in my future obviously), but a the same time, being scared isn’t going to change anything so just go ahead and get out from under the blankets and start living again.

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