Do Not Doubt Yourself in Divorce

The decision to divorce is never an easy one.  I know it certainly wasn’t one that I took lightly.  I grew up believing that marriage is forever, which meant that divorce was not an option in my world. 

I struggled for years with not having divorce as an option.  Not having it as an option meant I had to suppress any feelings about being unfulfilled in my relationship.  It felt like a double-edged sword; on one side, I felt stuck in the relationship, and on the other side, I was slowly dying inside.  

What does doubt look like in divorce? It’s dark, immovable, clouded, crippling. It plays tricks with your mind.  It asks, “What if?” It negotiates pieces of your soul.  It second-guesses what your inner knowing already knows.

There’s a deep remembrance inside ourselves, but we shove it, suppress it, deny it, continue to betray it with distractions and excuses.  We shut it down.  We get good at pretending with a smile on our faces.

We learn to use excuses as reasons, “But the kids, my family, my friends.  I have to start over. Who’s going to want me? Where will I go? What will people say about me?” We stack excuses on the walls of the fortress we built for ourselves.  We see the writings on the wall, but those on the outside have no idea because we never truly let anyone in.   

If “they” saw our walls, they would be disappointed.  So we get strategic at pretending. “Life is ok.  I am ok.  The kids are ok.” But inside, a volcano stirs.  

Eventually, the walls start to crack from the heaviness of keeping it all together.  It shows up as anxiety, substance abuse, disordered eating, restlessness, overwhelming darkness, cystic acne, and a dim internal light inside ourselves. The body leaves clues, but we become masters in the art of denial. We focus on symptoms and never address the elephant in the room.  

It starts feeling like a game of self-betrayal, “Maybe if I don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist.” So we create fake connections because being vulnerable will demolish the fortress, and the truth will be exposed.  The fortress we build feels like a dark and lonely place, a cage made by our own hands.  

At some point, the universe will hear your desperate cries.  It will never forsake you.  It will send a lifeline in the form of a new friendship, a book, an empowering message that shakes you to the core, a mentor, a whisper of truth.  

Something will cause a shift in perception, which, by definition, is a miracle.  That shift will give a glimmer of hope, a sliver of light penetrating through the cracks on the walls.  The darkness starts to feel a bit lighter than yesterday.

When that miracle happens, you’ll never be the same again. You’ll start seeing things through a different lens.  You can’t unlearn the miracle. There’s no putting the cat back in the bag, as much as you may want to revert to sleep once again.  

Women ask me, “How do I know if divorce is the right option for me?” That’s a question only you can answer for yourself.  Only you know if you have love in your heart for your partner.  Only you know if you like who you are with this person.  Only you know if they allow room in the relationship to live your authentic truth.  

I believe it’s a choice we make daily, and if you are in a place where you know in your heart that this relationship is no longer fulfilling you, then do not doubt that for one minute.

At the end of my marriage, I had zero doubt in my heart that divorce was right for me.  I was confident that I did not like who I had become in this relationship and that if I stayed in the marriage, I would have had to give up the freedom to discover the truth of who I was.  I wasn’t willing to negotiate parts of myself anymore to stay married.  

That is until this one day; I let a friend plant a seed of doubt.  

At the time, my friend was coincidentally going through her own marital struggles.  She was projecting her fear onto me, and it caused an internal war. “Marisa, are you sure you tried everything? But what about the kids? Maybe there is something else you haven’t looked into?” were the words that came out of her mouth, and I digested them as my truth.

Before this conversation, I knew I had tried everything.  I had no doubt my marriage was over.  

Soon after that, I asked my husband if we could talk.  Against my better judgment, I said to him all the fears I let my friend plant in my head, “Maybe we haven’t tried everything.  What about the kids?” As soon as the words left my mouth, my stomach started to turn.  He answered back with conditions that felt like he was trying to put me back in the cage I had been so desperate to escape.  

Your body will tell you everything you need to know.  

I felt like I was choking by the conditions pouring out of his mouth.  I couldn’t breathe. All I kept hearing in my head was, “NO, NO, NO! I gave you a lifeline, Marisa, and you need to take it.” 

As women, we are conditioned to doubt ourselves.  We are made to believe that other people know what is best for us, and we stop trusting our inner knowing.  We disconnect from the truth within.  

Nobody knows better than you what you need to do or what decisions you should make.  Do not doubt what you already know to be true.  Your voice within has never and will never lead you astray.  Let your inner knowing be the guiding star that leads you back to your truth. 

 

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