I lived what a lot of other people thought was a picture-perfect life. I had the kid, the second home and all of the trappings we, as women, are taught to desire.
People were shocked when I announced I was leaving my husband of 14 years. I was accused of cheating, and I drifted from many of my friends. It was a rough year.
Truth be told, my (our) friends were more upset about my divorce than I was. Some even nagged for a few years and kept asking if there was a chance we could reconcile.
They thought they “knew us.” They thought we would last forever.
But, no one on the outside of the relationship can ever know what it's really like, or understand the struggles that exist between two people in a marriage. They cannot know why some love works and some love doesn’t.
It doesn’t matter why I decided to leave my ex-husband. I have nothing but love for the guy, and he is an amazing father. In fact, in my opinion, he is a better dad because of our divorce.
Here are the things I learned in the first year after my divorce:
1. I lost friends, and that is okay. The people who truly love me support my decision.
2. Everyone one will have an opinion, but mine is the only one that matters. After all, it's my life.
3. The people I thought were my friends said sh*tty things about me.
4. People who were talking about me and judging me were just projecting their own sh*t. F*ck them. I found better friends.
5. I probably shouldn't have gotten married. It's a tough realization, but what’s done is done.
6. I feel badly for wasting his time. It's not that I didn’t love him, but he could have had that time with someone who was better suited for him.
7. It’s better that we divorced and didn’t stay together, for all concerned.
8. Divorce is not shameful, and it is not the end. It is a choice, and I choose me.
9. It is 100 percent okay to want more for myself and leave. It's scary, but it's worth it.
9. People look at me differently, and sometimes, they do so with pity. Why is that? Stop judging and mind your own marriage.
10. Some of my married friends' husbands think I want to take their wives out on the prowl. Easy, guys. I’m divorced, not a sex maniac.
11. Love is not enough, and it does not conquer all. Thanks, Disney and sappy chick flicks!
12. My son is actually the love of my life. He is the best thing that came from my marriage.
13. I’m not a failure; some relationships are just not meant to last. If a marriage is good, it will last.
14. I didn’t let divorce make me bitter. I could have responded to every nasty word or action, but I remained unchanged.
15. Love isn’t perfect, but I deserve a love that is breathtaking.
16. We are still a family, and no one will stand up for that more than me. I would dishonor my son if I didn’t.
17. I realized who I really was. I will never lose myself again.
18. Divorce affirmed that an unhappy marriage is no place to raise a child. I want my son to witness strong love and partnership.
19. I didn’t really need all of “those things.” I needed something I wasn’t getting: support and acceptance.
20. I learned to love myself more. I'm f*cking awesome, and that should never be stifled.
21. I learned to say no and not apologize for being selfish.
22. I will love again. I might not ever remarry, but I will love and be loved by someone in an amazing way. I will make sure of that.