I was recently asked to participate in a documentary on divorce being produced in France, cool huh? Well, I mean, yes but I’m also part of the blogger community for the Huffington Post in their Divorce section and….I guess I just don’t want everyone to see me as a divorce expert. I’ll get messages sometimes from people I haven’t talked to in years asking if they can talk to me about something, I instantly know they are considering divorce or have recently gotten divorced. I don’t want to be the best at getting divorced. I would prefer to be an expert cake maker or the world’s greatest child whisperer. I’d rather be well known for training hamsters for heaven’s sake. I’ve received hundreds of messages over the years asking me how I moved on and how they can move on and be happy too. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to understand that it’s where I’ve ended up that has people asking me about their divorce. It’s my life as it is currently that has people wanting to know what I did to get here, so I’m going to call that a success.
I’m a big believer that divorce is between you, your spouse and God. There are going to be people out there that don’t believe in divorce. Some will give you a little room for it to be acceptable by saying that if your spouse is abusive, has been unfaithful, is an addict or is a danger to your children that you qualify for a divorce. Some will tell you that everything can be worked through and that you promised each other for better or for worse and that divorce is never the answer. It is to these people that I will agree to disagree. Sometimes, in some marriages, no amount of counseling, serious conversations or rekindling vacations will make things fall back into place. Sometimes the damage is too great and the future is too dark and you were created to be happy. Some people will walk away from marriage never feeling like they will be good enough for anyone. Others will leave feeling as though they will never trust again. Some will leave with physical or emotional wounds that are so severe no one else will ever understand. Some may believe that they will never be same and here’s the truth bomb that no one wants to hear, you won’t be.
My marriage ended in a way I never saw coming or would wish on anyone else. I feel that the details are private but ultimately I never thought I would recover. However, the number one question that I get asked is, how did you move on? There are a lot of things that played a role in how I moved forward and created a healthy, strong relationship built on trust, respect, and love. I think that everyone, even if you haven’t been divorced has ended a relationship for one reason or another. I believe that you will benefit from the number one thing that has helped me maintain a healthy relationship after exiting a toxic one and here it is. I am constantly reminding myself that He is not Him and this can obviously also be applied to she is not her. My husband is not my Ex. My husband didn’t hurt me in the way that he did. He didn’t make the choices that my ex-husband made. It was my job to come into this relationship understanding that my husband could not be held accountable for the insecurities that I carried away from my marriage prior.
If in your previous relationship you were scared to speak up because fighting changed your partner into someone you barely knew, you can’t stay silent in this companionship just because you’re afraid, they deserve for you to communicate with them. If your partner before was unfaithful or dishonest, while I hope your new spouse wouldn’t mind, it’s your job to show trust in them by not looking through their phone after they’ve fallen asleep because you’re worried. Maybe you were left home alone often while your spouse could be found at a nearby bar and you just waited for the call for a ride because they couldn’t drive themselves. I know you want to call your new love 527 times until they answer because you NEED to know where they are, please don’t. Exercise love, respect and trust in them and remind yourself, They are not them.
Ending a relationship with someone you love certainly comes with insecurities and it’s important that when entering something new and fresh that you have conversations about those things. It’s important that they know that you aren’t comfortable with them being around the opposite sex alone. It’s necessary that you voice your anxieties about not being able to get ahold of them or not knowing where they are when you try to call. They need to know how it makes you feel when they have a little bit too much to drink and why you feel that way. If you are headed into a relationship with someone who truly loves you, they will do everything in their power to help you feel safe, loved and cared for. They will take extra steps to make sure that they avoid the things that may bring up past discomforts, fears, and pains but they do it because they love you, not because they have to. It is not their JOB to change the way they operate because your history and experiences have trained you to believe that certain actions and behaviors are negative. However helpful it may be it is not a requirement for them to change behaviors that are normal because you have been hurt by them in the past. It is your job to work together in love to try and help yourself move forward from past trauma and distrust.
I am happier then I’ve ever been. I thank the Lord every day that the marriage that I thought was healthy fell apart because it introduced me to a world where I knew what it truly felt like to be loved. I have made some mistakes in my new marriage where I have made my spouse feel like I don’t trust him and he doesn’t deserve to feel that way when he’s done nothing to make himself untrustworthy. It’s in these moments that I repeat the words, He’s not Him over and over again. It helps me remember where to place blame for my feelings and it’s definitely not with my loving spouse who took me in and loved me even though he knew parts of me had been broken. People may tell you that moving forward after an ugly divorce or even an ugly relationship is impossible. You may hear that it’s unlikely that you will ever trust anyone again. There are going to be people that haven’t moved on themselves who will express their opinions of the idea of love being forever changed. Remember how I told you that you would never be the same? Well, you won’t be, because you’ll be better. You’ll grow stronger through the trials that come with rebuilding broken pieces. You’ll become more confident as you realize that you are of value and that you are capable of overcoming the pains and fears you’ve felt for so long. You will believe that you are worth loving and someday you will find a love that will change how you’ve ever seen it before. If you can make the choice to go into a new relationship and allow your partner a fresh start, completely separate from what you’ve been through, then divorce isn’t the end but rather a very beautiful beginning. Always remember that he loves you and he isn’t him.