There’s no doubt – divorce is terrifying. The questions of whether you can make it on your own financially or if you’ll ever find a romantic partner again are common fears. When it’s your spouse asking for a divorce, you are thrust into this life-changing event involuntarily and have to deal with it. Perhaps even more difficult, however, is when it’s you who is considering asking for a divorce. Maybe you’ve become aware that you’re constantly sad and have forgotten what happiness even feels like. You go through the motions of your daily life trying to numb the pain of the most profound loneliness – the realization that you’ve lost yourself in the marriage. It’s easy to blame your spouse for your unhappiness but that’s never really the truth. The truth is you’ve chosen to stay and be unhappy because it’s easier than the alternative.
That was where I was almost ten years ago. Sure I was angry at my ex-husband for not being the person I thought he was or treating me the way I knew I deserved. But, if I were to really take a hard look and be honest, I was angry at myself. I was allowing myself to remain in limbo out of fear. I was in a state of complete despair as I knew I was living a lie but it was the safer route.
So often I would utter the phrase to myself that “I was trapped” yet, if I had really thought about that sentence, I would have realized that it was a self-imposed trap. I was standing in an un-locked cage refusing to test to see if the door would open.
It took me hitting rock bottom emotionally to finally let go and trust that a Divine spirit would lead me through. I was being given plenty of signs that I was in a dysfunctional marriage and could no longer ignore them. Not only did I want a happy life for myself but I wanted my children to understand that inner peace, authenticity and happiness must be the ultimate goals. I prayed for guidance, released my fear of the unknown and accepted the path that was being laid before me.
The divorce process was painful in every way – emotionally, physically and financially. I lost friends who felt I was wrong to leave my marriage, I incurred tremendous debt and, in the midst of my divorce, came down with adult Chicken Pox. I felt as if the plates of the earth were literally shifting under my feet and I was just trying to remain upright until the shaking stopped. All I could do was to hang on and trust in God.
It took several years but the earth finally stopped shaking and, when it did, I was still standing. My life looks incredibly different today. I’ve rebuilt my finances, my kids are happy and I have a group of friends who are incredibly supportive. By having the courage to step into the unknown I’ve discovered who I was really meant to be and have found incredible joy in allowing that woman to finally be seen.
Alison Jacobson is a life coach and motivational speaker who works with women to overcome their fear in order to transition through divorce and discover happiness and peace.