This is a lyric from the song “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt. And of course there is always some weight in my article titles as to what the piece contains.
Today is a very personal article.
However I will be keeping it as short as I possibly can, as this is a difficult article to write. In fact, I don’t know how to write it at all, as I want to be as diplomatic and respectful as I can.
Although it may seem as though I write very personal things at times, I actually don’t.
Well, I kind of do, however I try to find the life lesson in everything and construct my articles in a manner that offers some advice.
I seldom write about the fact that I am indeed married. It’s likely only those of you who know me personally are aware of this.
In actual fact, I am writing this article today to announce that my husband and I have decided to separate.
He has moved out today.
Which is why this article is one that has required a great degree of difficulty in writing.
It has been emotional to construct. I didn’t even want to write it.
A friend asked me a question the other day in regards to what was the looming separation.
“Are you ready?”
No. I’m not. Not in any sense of the word. How could you ever possibly be ready for something of this magnitude? To part ways with the man who has been a part of my life for two decades? To the only man I’ve ever known? To the love of my life? My soulmate? To the man I married just shy of 13 years ago? Is 13 an ominous number? Maybe. Who knows.
But no. I’m not ready.
In life, I don’t know if you’re ever “ready” for anything. You just commit, and deal with the consequences.
Gwen Stefani sung the song above which was written about her 7 year relationship coming to an end. The pain in the words to that song are palpable. Mine is triple that length of time. And the pain is no less.
I have chosen to attach a snippet from our wedding day back on the 3rd of February 2001.
I wept watching that beautiful young woman walking down the aisle, never having anticipated the changes that would occur more than a decade on. I am grieving the loss of the relationship. Of the babies I was never able to have. Of the circumstances I never saw coming. Of the dreams I had for my life being shattered. My heart is broken. But it is what it is.
Relationships are private, and we all have things which we like to keep under lock and key. And for the most part, they will continue to stay this way. Out of respect, and because I am a lady.
Whilst there is no need for me to explain myself to anyone, and this is a private matter, I feel the need to write about this as briefly and as best I can, as it is a monumental, life altering situation. And one that no doubt, other people have unfortunately personally experienced. It is by far, the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
It is extremely stressful.
In fact, on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, marital separation is ranked number 3, out of 43, of the most stressful life situations an adult can experience. Number 1 is death of a partner, and number 2 is divorce. So for any of the people out there judging me on my “depressed” state, I’m actually holding it together quite well considering. I am doing everything in my power to not fall apart. But it isn’t easy.
We are both weary and exhausted. I am painfully thin, and unhealthy. I haven’t slept properly in over a year. My husband is tired and defeated. I have fine lines on my face now. I am no longer beautiful like I once was. My husbands facial hair has turned white at the age of 37. Neither of us have been unaffected.
You can try everything to save a relationship until one day you can no longer lie to yourselves .. to look in the mirror or really look at your partner and see that the beautiful glow of pure love that used to radiate and reflect from one another has faded and doesn’t shine anymore. . … and for your sanity, health, and future, you just have to accept defeat. To stop existing from day to day and give each other a chance to love life again.
I am impossible to get close to at the moment. I am in a lot of ways like a cactus. Anyone that gets close to me is going to feel my pain. Because I am hurt, and I am not above the law of projecting. I have gone even further into that shell of mine to protect myself, isolating and abandoning myself. Shutting myself off from everyone. I am impossibly lonely as a result. I can only hope and pray that this storm will pass soon. We all cope as only we know how.
Only those that have personally experienced a marriage, or long term relationship breakdown, will be able to comprehend the devastating toll it will take on you physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
One thing I am not tolerant of during this period of upheaval is judgement. This situation does not come with a book of instructions. And it is different for everyone. It is a very painful time. Worse than I could of ever possibly imagined. The loneliness of this situation is all encompassing. Yet, I need to feel it.
Which I don’t know why I need to feel it. A friend said to me through the week that I don’t need to be in the eye of the storm to feel it. I can be sitting in a boat at a safe distance and still feel it. She told me I’m a sadomasochist. Feeling the need to feel everything. Pushing everyone away and not allowing anyone to care for me. Punishing myself by not eating properly, neglecting myself, and destroying myself over it. She told me I’ve endured the storm for long enough, and that there is no need to torment myself once I’ve decided to leave the storm. To seek protection, and not deprive myself of the safety of it being over. To just observe it, and learn the life lesson from it.
So I must help myself. Only you can save yourself. No one else.
I do not need the added stress of being held accountable for the feelings of those that may have been affected by the breakdown of our marriage. This is between myself and my husband, and we are the ones living it, not anyone else. I cannot carry the burden of anyone else’s feelings on this private matter.
There are so many different dynamics at play here, and ones that I am not willing to disclose.
I have chosen to remain respectful and dignified throughout this time, and aside from a few close friends being let into the loop, the circumstances surrounding this will remain private, and carefully guarded.
My new journey is beginning. It is not without fear and trepidation. It is not without doubt and confusion. But it is something that needs to be set in motion in order to move forward.
I have never been single. Not since I was 15 years old. And I am afraid. I have always been part of another half. Never whole within myself. In so many ways, I still am that 15 year old girl.
I wish someone could embrace me and reassure me it’s all going to be ok. It feels like the pain of this personal nightmare will never go away. But I know it will. I am much stronger and resilient than I appear. That stubborn and tenacious nature of mine will get me through it. After all, nothing lasts forever.
My life has never been a conventional one, and it’s ironic. Because as Gwen Stefani also sung, “and all I wanted was a simple kind of life”. Yet, everything really does happen for a reason.
My husband and I have only respect and love for one another. We only want happiness for each other. We will continue to support each other through this painful and difficult time.
We have been together for 20 years, and we will continue to honour this time, regardless of how this turns out for each of us as individuals.
I have said many times that nobody is playing with marked cards and we aren’t. It’s important to close certain chapters and let the winds of destiny take us on our individual life journey.
Life experiences, as well as people, help to shape us into the person we become.
Life is short, but life is long, and we should always follow our hearts in the pursuit of happiness.
So today, I leave you with a quote from one of my favourite authors Elizabeth Gilbert.
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.
A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…” – Elizabeth Gilbert