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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

What Would Make it All Okay?

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I used to play this mind game with myself.

I started by thinking it would all be okay if he had to face me. I entertained vicious dreams of inflicting bodily harm in order to make him feel at least a piece of the pain I was experiencing.

But really all that would do was temporarily release the rage while reducing me to the level of a petty crook. And the pain could never compare.

So then I thought that it would all be okay if he was required to spend time in prison. I wanted him to suffer the loss of a life like I had and to be reduced to a bare existence.

But really all that would do was give me a brief respite from the possibility of running into him in public. And it would fuel funny jokes about him dropping the soap.

So I concluded that it would all be okay if he was convicted of the bigamy and had to go through life limited by the label of felon. I wanted his future to be restricted as he destroyed mine.

But all that would do was give me a moment of satisfaction that he was caught.

So I resolved that it would all be okay if I shared his name and picture with the world, shaming him and protecting others from his machinations. I wanted him to face the embarrassment I felt.

But that would only make me look vindictive and would cause me to be ashamed of my own behavior.

So I decided that it would all be okay if he paid me back the tens of thousands of dollars that he stole from my past and robbed from my future. I wanted him to face the fear of living so close to nothing.

But really all that would do is sooth the account woes; the heart would still be shattered.

So then I was emphatic that it would all be okay if I received an apology letter. I needed to know that he felt guilt and remorse for his actions and for the impact it had on me and our families.

But all that would be is a paper filled with words carrying no more meaning than an essay typed by monkeys.

And still I kept trying.

I played out certain scenarios in my mind and found that each time, the relief would be temporary and greatly lacking.

I finally had to accept the conclusion that there was nothing that could make it all okay.

Nothing that is, except myself.

Okay wasn’t going to come from the courts. Okay wasn’t going to be linked to a bank transfer or prison sentence. Okay wasn’t even going to come from him.

I had to figure out how to create okay on my own.

For me, okay was found in creating meaning and purpose from the pain. It came from sharing my story, not to shame him, but to help others. It came from encouraging dialog about abandonment and marital fraud, hoping to protect others. It came from using my rock bottom as a foundation for a better life.

Ultimately, my okay comes from helping others find their own okay.

Your okay is not out there.

It’s in you.

Claim it.


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39 thoughts on “What Would Make it All Okay?

  1. ” It came from using my rock bottom as a foundation for a better life.” ~

    I recently wrote a post about loneliness, and upon reading it a couple of times, I realized that the very fact that I feel that way is a sign that I am healing. My one year anniversary of the Divorce was a few weeks ago, and was pretty rough. I realized the other night, though, that I was very much wanting someone to hang out with, and that even something as empty as loneliness can be a sign that you are on the mend.

    Thanks for the great post! i played many of the same “what if” games myself, and they all would only provide temporary relief as you so eloquently put it.

        1. Very interesting and motivating, I like it when people heal themselves and move on with their lives, holding back on the past will take you long to reach your destiny of love.

          1. Definitely agreed. I used to hang on to the past like it was a lifeboat, but I have seen that all it really does is hold you back from moving forward and healing, and ultimately, finding the love that was meant for you.

  2. Love this. I play the “what if” game from time to time and I always come to the same conclusion: I’m in the process of making everything okay for myself and everything will be okay if I just stick with it. I don’t need HIM to make things okay. I’m free. 🙂

  3. Couldn’t help but think after seeing Pistorius get ten months would it be a reasonable price to pay in the what if game. But one minute now thinking about him seems too much let alone ten months. Freedom is everything and getting to okay gives you that.

  4. I play the same games…what if he’s suddenly able to,change? He’s not. It’s about accepting and moving on. Good blog hon.

  5. two years to realize this… I ask myself daily what in the world can he do to make this up to me since Im still married to him… and I cant figure out anything… 💔

  6. I don’t really agree with this. First, okay is a low bar. Nothing will ever make it *right*, nothing will ever make what they *did* okay. That’s like saying a murder can be okay. So no, nothing will make that okay, not even some inner-zen-I don’t-care-anymore delusion.

    What makes *me* okay? Justice. No question. Justice won’t give me back what I lost, and it won’t give me back what could have been. But it gets me closer to okay with every little bit of justice. I’ve seen a lot of little bits of justice. Him suffering from his conscience. Her exposing her character to others and having them recoil in horror. Doors being closed in her face. Her own marriage in turmoil.

    If it were possible, I have quite a specific list of things that would amount to justice. And that would make *me* okay, but not their actions.

    If you’ve ever seen the difference between crime victims who had the perpetrator punished properly and those who had to watch him get away with it, there’s a huge difference. There’s a reason for that.

    1. I hear you. If I was waiting to be okay until he faced justice, I would still be waiting. And I would be stuck, a prisoner of my past. I made the conscious choice (informed delusion, if you will) to let go of the need for justice. He and whatever karma has in store for me are not part of my life.

  7. I like the fact you didn’t victimize yourself by blaming yourself for the wrong things he did to you. You were strong and still are, it really painful what you have experience but you have overcome and let go. Many of our sisters out there hold on to a marriage or relationships that don’t give the happiness and love only pain and blueses.

    Yes I want to say what you did is because you’re strong and the world need strong woman like you. I say keep on doing what you and help other victims to overcome and let go of abusive relationships.

  8. I just stumbled across your blog today. Your writing is very much what I need to hear and mirrors my own situation. I will likely be staying up late to read more. Thanks for sharing. It does help some of us out here!

  9. I totally understand where you are coming from – I really do. But I struggle in recovery because it’s difficult to not be a victim … because I WAS a victim.
    It’s hard to not be because sometimes it feels as though freeing myself frees him of his incredibly horrific deeds.
    I do want to transition from AM a victim to WAS a victim, but it seems nearly impossible when left with not only memories – the wonderful as well as the painful – when left with not only the never – ending financial shit hole, depression and self-esteem issues, but actual, very real literal permanent physical damage.
    You know I ❤️you, Lisa.
    I wish I was as strong and able to overcome my past.

    1. You ARE strong enough. It sounds like you’re not ready yet. And that’s okay. We all get to that point at different times. Walk your journey, your truth❤️

      Like you, I really struggled with the idea that freeing myself meant freeing him of consequences. The thought of him getting away with it made me sick. Of course, holding onto that need was making me sick too. At some point, you’ll need to decide what matters more for you.

      Also, another thing to think about- Do you feel a difference between the phrases, “I was victimized” and “I am a victim?”

      1. I DO see the difference between the two phrases – message received.
        I was victimized. X100,000,000.
        Now, how to feel better about allowing it to happen is one thing, and it’s sometimes possible for me to know that he’s – mildly speaking – a shithead, but the truth that I face is a grim, cruel reality that tries to prove to me that I Am A Victim.
        I’m on a see-saw. And I guess I’m OK as long as after I drop to the ground, I can rise back up to the sun.

        1. What a lovely image!!! I love how you use your strength at the bottom of the seesaw to launch you up:)

          Do any of the signs that scream, “victim” have an end date? For example, I was only truly able to release that label once I finished paying off the debt he left, five years on.

          1. Yeah – I think as much as there’s the whole “money isn’t everything” school of thought, money kind of is everything when you don’t have it. Or at least nearly enough of it. It’s stressful and unnecessarily cruel in my case. He could have helped me – and he admired it. But he didn’t.
            The stress exacerbates the physical condition he bestowed upon me, so that just gets my goat every.time.
            When I’m close to having crawled my way out, something else goes awry. Or just things happen – even good things – that require income that just isn’t there.
            It pisses me off to know he’s feeling no pain on any level at all.
            And, yeah, that’s an assumption, but I can pretty much guarantee it’s the truth.
            I guess I want him to hurt in some way – financial or otherwise.
            The Vindicated Victim.
            That’s what I’d like to be.
            Not probable, not possible, and doubtful it would really make a difference for more than a short while anyway.

            1. It sounds like your brain understands and your heart is trying to catch up. That’s often the case.

              Another way to find vindication- live the best damn life possible. Show him his weakness and limitation by the inability for him to control you/hold you back.

  10. Oh – yes – this post was about “what if” and what those might be in order to heal.
    And, yeah, mine have run the gamut, like things I never imagined I would even ever be possible to think up – read illegal and immoral – to do to him and her, to something as an honest, heartfelt, meaningful apology from him.
    I still feel as though the former would only get me in Trouble, and the latter may actual do me some good.
    Neither will ever happen.
    And I have to live with that.
    And why are we both up so damn early on a Sunday?💕

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