It was late on Sunday and I was tired. The usual Sunday chores were just wrapping up. You know: laundry, dishes, grocery shopping for the kids’ lunch. I was putting the last load of laundry into the dryer when my husband noticed that his work clothes were still in the hamper in the bedroom, or on the floor or where ever it was that he had left them. He was angry with me that I had not done his laundry. I had the audacity to make sure our two children had everything they needed for Monday morning and didn’t do his laundry! While he had spent the day watching football. It was then that it occurred to me, again, that maybe I wanted out of this marriage.
Now, I’m not advocating for splitting up a family over little things and the occasional disagreement over who is going to wash the dinner dishes, I’m not advocating for anything really, I’m sharing my experience. It was my experience that this kind of expectation and lack of respect was rampant in all areas of our relationship and I was sick of it. I stayed far too long because of my fear of being able to make it on my own.
Here’s what I know now that I wish I would have known then.
1: Facing your fear is far better than staying in an unhealthy relationship. When I finally left, yes, I was scared. Yes, I cried. Yes, there were some difficult times. Yes, it was worth it!
2: People will help you. Give up the notion that you need to do it all yourself. Ask for help. Even that little bit of emotional support can be what carries you through. Knowing that you have people who know what you are going through and have your back can help you get through the tough times. Ask for help.
3: You are strong. You may think that you can’t do it by yourself, that you’re not capable. I call bullshit. You may not know how to do certain things but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Will it be hard? Maybe. See number 1 and 2.
4: You deserve better. Don’t doubt for one second that you deserve everything you want in life. Not to mention basic happiness and respect. Respect from others and respect for yourself. I’ll get to that in a moment. Know that you are wonderful and valuable and that all the joy and fun and happiness in the world is yours to receive.
5: You’ll respect yourself in the morning. When you do something courageous and put forth the effort to take good care of yourself, you start to build a foundation of strength and self-respect. Staying in a relationship where you are not respected does the opposite.
6: Life is good on the other side. On the other side of your fear and doubt is the life that you want. I hope that thought brings a smile to your face. Oh, the possibilities! That life is there … waiting for you. When you step fully into yourself and what you know to be true you may have to walk over a few hot coals, and when you get to the other side there is joy and fulfillment and anything else that you want. You have to be willing to walk that path.
7: You get the bed all to yourself. At first it feels empty and there will probably be some tears on your pillows, but after awhile it feels expansive and oh, so comfortable! Will you decide to share your bed again with someone? Maybe. Maybe not. Right now that doesn’t matter. Enjoy it!