White dress. Peach roses with baby's breath. Long Veil. Happily Ever After. That's the way it was supposed to be. I believed it. I wanted it. I needed it. Then he lied. Then he cheated. Then he left me.
He left me! I don't get left! If anyone's going to do any leaving, it's darn well going to be me! The betrayal after 17 years of marriage and 2 children was paralyzing. I felt as though my arms and legs had been brutally torn from my body and everything I knew of who I was disappeared in the instant he uttered the words, "I have something to tell you." I was lost, bobbing in the waters of what remained of my life, certain that drowning was imminent.
Then one day it started to change. About 15 days into my paralysis, the shift began. The sadness and loss gave way to unrelenting thoughts taking me back through the prior year revealing the numerous time his behavior didn't quite make sense. The lies came into focus and I realized that I had not only been betrayed, but a fool as well. And I became angry. I'm not talking about "mad" angry, I'm talking "hunt-you-down-put-a-fork-in-your-face" angry!!! And it was utterly consuming.
The anger was with me in the daytime, at my job, during the time with my kids, even in my dreams. I felt it in my chest as a gnawing heaviness that demanded to have a voice, demanded to be validated.
So instead of focusing on my own recovery and being strong for my kids, I found myself stalking his Facebook page, looking for evidence of his misery. I wanted him to be miserable. I found myself outside his apartment, fantasizing about putting a rock through his window and going Carrie Underwood on his car. I fantasized about meeting his girlfriend in a dark alley and going gangsta' on her ass.
And guess what he was doing. He was being happy with his new girlfriend in his new life. Who the heck did he think he was?! How dare he not be suffering like me!
Here I am 7 years later and realize what wasted energy that was. Do you know what I accomplished?
Here it is. Down and dirty.
1. I was consumed with anger every day and night and I felt miserable. He didn't.
2. I failed to plan for my future and my children's. Six months later I was nearly out of money.
3. My health deteriorated. I couldn't sleep, drank too much, and gained 15 lbs.
4. Staying angry meant I wasn't healing. I wasn't looking at MY role in the divorce.
5. My anger had me focused on the past instead of my present and my future.
Thankfully I had some very good friends that looked me in the eye and told me that it was time to move on. One friend in particular took my hand one day and said, "Sweetie, he's happy. How much longer are you going to give him the power to determine how you feel? Isn't it about time for you to take your life back and stop letting him be in control?"
Her words hit me like a ton of bricks and I decided then and there to take back control of my life. Things hadn't turned out the way I had planned. But so what? Now it was up to me to write the next chapter of my life. I planned a weekend alone to process my thoughts. I got quiet, listened to some good music, wrote in my journal and made a decision to take a step forward. I closed the book on my marriage and let it go. I wrote him a letter forgiving him and wishing him well. I didn't send it. It was for me, not him. He already moved on.
The next morning when I opened my eyes, the sun was just a little brighter. The sky was just a little bluer. I even felt a little prettier. I had no idea what the next chapter would hold, but I was ready to put my big girl panties on and find out.
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