Divorce is a choice and I chose to leave. For me, divorce affirmed that an unhappy marriage is no place to raise a child. It didn’t matter if the unhappiness was one or two sided. What mattered to me most was what my son would bear witness to. I wanted my son to experience strong love and partnership. It is my duty and obligation to provide him with the best example I can.
My friends and even strangers thought we had a perfect life. We had two homes, lots of stuff and an adorable little boy. After 14 years I announced that I was leaving and people were stunned.
Naturally, as people do, they made assumptions about the reasons why. I was accused of adultery for starters. Those friends, who were more upset about my divorce than I was couldn’t comprehend why it was over. They thought they “knew us.” They thought we had it all, so it only stands to reason that I was some ungrateful cheater. Easy to do when you’re on the outside of the relationship. Easy to assume what it’s really like between two people in a marriage you actually know nothing about.
The bottom line is that some love works and some love doesn’t. It’s not our place to question why or who did what to whom or if anything at all happened. Divorce is sad regardless of reasons or circumstance. As friends, relatives and even strangers; the only questioning people ought to do is how they can be of help or support.
I am a huge fan of radical honesty and facing the truth—no matter how hard that may be. The truth for me was that I was not happy and I was leaving. I lost friends, through my divorce because of that. A lot of the people that I thought were my friends turned their back on me and “picked sides”. They said horrible things about me and even went so far as to carry it to social media and my work place.
It was a test of my character for several months to hear shit tons of negativity and remain disengaged from all of it. I simply focused on myself and my son and added no fuel to this ridiculous fire. And yes, you heard me right—months. For almost ten months this carried on, like a gaggle of teenaged girls gossiping and snickering in a hallway.
None of this made me bitter. I could have responded to every nasty word or action, but I remained steady in my decision to leave and do so with dignity. I was 100 percent certain that I made the best choice for me. To this day, I believe that. If that makes me selfish, in their eyes, or even to you the reader, I can live with that.
Let me give a piece of advice to anyone who may be involved now or in the future with a friend or family member divorcing: Stay out of it! As much as you think you know someone(s), you don’t. And quite frankly, it’s none of your damn business. Unless the choice of another directly and/or severely impacts your own life; how can place blame or judgment anyway? You can’t really, even if you try to justify it through your own point of view. Be supportive and draw the line at that.
For those of you who are divorcing or trying to come to terms with it after the fact, know this: You are not a failure, a jerk, a bad person; some relationships are just not meant to last. Love is not enough, and it does not conquer all, despite what we are spoon fed. The best and truest love we can ever experience is the love we have for ourselves. If you set that relationship aside for the sake of “saving a marriage”, you have failed your one true love.
I realized that I fell out of love with me. Through divorce, I relearned to say no and to stop apologizing for being selfish. I got lost a few times in my search for me, but when I found her it was an “ah-ha” moment. I instantly knew that she would take care of me in the ways that mattered most.
I realized that there is no dishonor in my decision, so long as we remain a family. And we have. My son knows that he is loved and he sees a fabulous friendship and co-parenting relationship.
I also realized that I will love again.
I will love and be loved by someone in a breathtaking way. And I will be ready for it because I fell in love with me first.
Lisa Schmidt is a Dating and Relationship coach in Detroit and the author of her own blog. Dating and relationship questions can also be sent to her directly Or join her on a live Periscope stream here
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