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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

My Lessons

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I decided early on to view the challenge of my divorce as an opportunity to learn.  Here are some of my lessons:

1) Fear is greatest right before a plunge.  Any fan of roller coasters knows this one well; the scariest part of the ride is the ascent as you anticipate the terror ahead.  I went through my entire marriage terrified of losing him.  Once I did, I found that I could handle the reality much better than the anticipatory fear.

2) Softness is complimentary to strength, not in opposition to it.  I used to approach everything like a bull, pushing my way through with pure determination.  I have learned the power of flexibility and fluidity and it has only helped me to grow stronger.

Softness Isn’t Just For Selling Tissues

3) Tsunamis can wash out relationships.  Great destructive power can lie beneath a placid surface of a marriage.  I have learned to be wary of what hides in the depths.

Tsunami Divorce

4) Interdependence is preferrable to complete independence.  I was often too independent in my marriage, leaving my ex to feel as though he wasn’t needed.  I have learned that it is okay to ask for and receive assistance.  My current partner and I are very much a team; I’m not sure I could have said that before.

5) Be not do.  I have learned the power of stillness, mindfulness, and meditation.  I no longer base my self worth on my to-do list.

Taming the Monkey Mind

6) Cooking really isn’t that hard and you don’t have to wear an apron to do it.

I’m No Martha Stewart, But I Found My Kitchen

7) Stress is a choice.  I have learned that I can choose not to carry stress and tension, instead releasing it through meditation, exercise, and companionship.

8) Forgiveness is possible even against the unforgivable.  Actually, it’s not just possible; it’s required to move forward.

9) The legal system will not protect me.  I have had to learn to self-advocate and work within a system that can be manipulated and avoided.

Marital Treason

10) Sociopaths exist outside of movies.  I think I might have married one.

11) Happiness is found in acceptance, not control.  I have learned to be with what is rather than try to force something into reality.

12) I will always be learning.

(You can find my full story in my book Lessons From the End of a Marriage.)

Ten Lessons I am Still Learning

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56 thoughts on “My Lessons

  1. I need your permission. I am writing a post about how we often find ourselves in life situations far beyond our control. I have referenced your blog as evidence that there is life after calamity. I have also listed some of your lessons that you have learned in the process of growing strong and healthy, but I will not use them unless you give me the “Go Ahead.”


    Be encouraged!

  2. It’s a quiet afternoon here and I’m giving myself the gift of time to read other writer’s blogs and I found you. Happily.

    These lessons are so right, so important. Forgiveness especially- and starting with yourself.

    Stay strong.

  3. I’m so sorry that these lessons came at such a high cost. My heart breaks for what you went through. I hope you can trust and believe for marriage again and these lessons will serve you well

  4. Interesting website.
    I am really impressed that you did try to learn from all this mess. And valuable lessons those were. Many people going through your experience will try to heap all the blame on their partner. You didn’t, and that was pretty impressive.
    One thing though: your ex-husband was not a sociopath. At least, if all that you wrote about him was true. See what sociopaths look like here:
    On the contrary, he was most likely going through a soul-searching period in his life, and he wrongly thought that divorcing you would fix his problems. T was a great guy, by so many accounts.

    1. I don’t think he was either, although he showed some of the traits (based on what I discovered after he left) in the last few years of the marriage. He was very lost and dug himself into a very deep hole. It’s sad; the results have been tragic for many people.

    2. Let me actually add one more thing. He never mentioned divorce. He was married in the truest sense of the word (loving, intimate, etc.) until he sent that text and disappeared. It was more than soul-searching; he engaged in a very deliberate and elaborate cover-up that persisted even after he was arrested. He was lost, but he worked hard at staying there.

  5. Thanks for reading my post. I hope one day your blog will read Lessons from a Life well LIved. You are a wonderful writer- keep your journey moving forward! Namaste.

    1. “Lessons From a Life Well Lived” – I like that:) Since I’m not sure how to write posthumously, how about, “Lessons From a Life Well Living?” 🙂

  6. oh, yes, this journey is a big school…. it’s either good or bad, it’s about learning and self discovery! I am glad you got the point and are learning the life lessons. and we are still learning, even after our spirit soul exited this dimension. I’ve been married for 35 yrs. and I learn everyday. A person with certain levels of self awareness / clarity recognizes there are life lessons in every situation. And each spirit soul in their physical body has different threshold of pain tolerance… some just find this dimension too overwhelming and painful. My granny was Schizophrenic, that was her way of coping while journeying in this dimension.

  7. Having been through similar things makes me proud of you at how you are bouncing back sometimes and also, like we all do, going backwards. Learning how not to go there too often is an important key. You have become such a strong person, without knowing you, I feel like you have grown so much. And having shown you can have a softer side, too! Meditation, relieving pressure, is so great. I love to deep breath and try to live in the moment. Being with someone who makes you feel like a team, that is remarkable and lucky!!Take care, my friend!

  8. Thanks for the like and follow. You seem to have a good way of dealing with the reverses in your life, and I wish you well with your writing, and your future. Pete. England

  9. Wow. So well put. As I finalize a divorce and look for the lessons, you’ve put it in a nutshell. Thanks for putting it out there for those of us who need it.

  10. So much here to learn from here, thank you! I really hope to use some of these lessons to rescue what I used to have but if not, I’m grateful to have your journey to help me on mine.

  11. I can relate to a lot of the lessons you have taken from your divorce and the transformative power it can bring into our lives, if we allow it to. I’m still on the journey to enlightenment, but have accepted that it will take my lifetime. Before I thought everything had to be done right here and right now. I am learning that there is a tranquility to be found in the process of becoming.
    Love your Blog – sorry haven’t quite worked out how to follow yet 🙂

    1. “there is a tranquility to be found in the process of becoming” Love it:) I had to learn that too… I thought I needed to wait to live until I was healed. Then I finally realized that healing is found through living.

      Welcome to WordPress:) You should see a “follow” button in the upper left hand corner when you are on any page within someone’s blog. Good luck!

  12. For me, like you, I was terrified of losing my partner. But when I actually did, the experience was horrific beyond anything I could’ve imagined in part because it happened so suddenly. I felt panic, confusion, despondency and incredible yearning all brought to a fever pitch breaking point. I was suicidal on and off for a bit more than a year.

    1. I am so sorry to hear that. I can sympathize – the suddenness, the shock is so severe. It’s not easy to survive. I hope that you’re in a better place now.

  13. I started the separation process today. im devasted. my husband had a girlfriend & lied totally to me. he said he didn’t have time or emotional energy for me. i have 1 yr old, a 3 yr old, a 4 yr old old & a 7 yr old.

    1. My heart goes out to you and your babies. It is so hard to learn about your spouse’s lies, to discover that your protector has become your persecutor. Betrayal truly is one of the worst pains imaginable. There is no quick fix, no shortcut through the agony. But the way you feel right now will not be how you feel in 6 months. Or a year. Sometimes just knowing that it will change is comfort in itself. Hugs to you and the kids.

  14. I think your first lesson is especially true. Fear of Fear is often much more debilitating than fear of the actual. How often do we hesitate, procrastinate, or simply give up based on fears that are not built in reality. I appreciate your honesty, keep up the good work!

  15. Just found your website. Eye opening, frightening and educating. In the process of decision making. Divorce or not. Scared, lonely and confused at the moment.

  16. I am at the beginning of my divorce. I had a feeling it was coming but it still hurts. You’re blog has already helped calm a few panic attacks. It’s reassuring to know that things do get better. I invested myself so fully into my marriage that it became part of my identity; still deciding if it was because it was what I wanted or because I thought that was supposed to do. Thank you for being an inspiration!

    1. I can totally relate. I had myself consumed 100 percent in my relationship and marriage with my ex. Becoming myself again and moving forward is more challenging then I even imagined. Lots of support from family and friends help but I think the truly healing has to begin with me really accepting what has happened and believing I will find love again

  17. Hi, I am just now finding your site. Many thanks for being vulnerable and transparent. My husband left after – yet another alcoholic binge (which he claims he was not on) – and never came back. He left me with a 4 year old and an 18month old. Upon reflection I can see how he was more boy than man, but it has taken this complete breakdown to reveal that.
    I have been in need of other who have traveled this sad territory…it’s a weird, lonely place for a bit. The worst part is having folks assess me as if I had done something wrong.

    1. My heart goes out to you – how scary and overwhelming to suddenly be the sole parent of two young ones. You are most definitely not alone; there are many others here that have been (or are in) a similar situation.

      I hear you about the blame. I grew so tired of people assuming that his response was the rational one and that I obviously had to have done something so grievous as to trigger it. I finally understood that abandonment is a scary topic for people. If they believe that you had done nothing wrong, then they have to also accept that it can happen to them. Easier to blame and feel safe.

  18. Thanks for the follow. I too was too independent in my marriage; we were not a team. And I’m sure it made him feel less loved and needed. I will read more about that lesson in the future. Thanks for sharing.

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