I’ve had a few challenges in my life, but I think the biggest one would have to be making the decision to get divorced and going through with the entire process. I’m very lucky with the fact that the divorce was very amicable, but it took a long time to come to fruition. My husband and I started dating in 1985 and continued dating on and off throughout high school and college. During the time we dated, I didn’t pay much attention to what I wanted or needed in the relationship with him. I listened to his music and did the things he liked to do. I didn’t like to fight or cause conflict. If there was an argument, I became quiet and basically shut down.
After 14 years of marriage, things came to a head and I began to resent the fact that I was living for everyone else and doing nothing for myself. This, of course, was no one’s fault but mine, but regardless, it caused great stress and conflict in the marriage.
In October of 2007, we decided that we were going to get divorced and in early 2008 my husband moved out. That began a new challenge. We were still married, but he and I lived separately. We continued with this arrangement for the next 9 years. It turns out that no one wanted to be “the bad guy” and pull the trigger by filing the papers. Another challenge during this entire time was that mom thought the sun rose and set on him and that I was horrible for not trying to fix things. She frequently told me that I was making a huge mistake and that I was ruining my kids’ lives by going thru with this.
I began to stand up for myself during this time. Now I could do the things I wanted to and be the person that I wanted to be without judgment or criticism from others. Mom still had her opinions, but I was working on developing a harder shell when it came to comments from someone else.
In 2016, we finally got our act together and finished the proceedings. I’m now realizing that my emotional development stopped at age 15 and for the past 6 years I have been muddling through without actually solving the issue. My husband used to ask me “What can I do to make you happy?” and I couldn’t answer the question. Now – 6 years after the divorce and Lisa has asked me “What do you want out of life?” and I still don’t have the complete answer, but I’m getting closer.