I was responsible for me, my actions, my happiness.
I didn’t think I could do it. I had been in my relationship for 14 years since I was 19 years young. I had spent my entire adult life with this one person. I honestly didn’t think I could break his heart as well as my own. All that destruction. Would it be worth it? Was there really a better life for both of us?
Let me explain, my relationship wasn’t bad. There was a lot of love and a lot of respect and a lot of laughter. Sounds pretty good right? And it was. There was a lot of good. But…we weren’t happy. We had become just friends. The intimacy had gone and the older we got the more we grew apart- the differences in what we wanted from life and how we wanted to live it became more evident. I realise on one hand that I was lucky that I didn’t have an abusive relationship or had endured something really unpleasant, but the love we still had certainly didn’t make it any easier to let go of.
I remember sitting on a picnic blanket under a tree, next to a stream with a friend, absolutely bawling my eyes out feeling completely lost, broken, stuck. I loved my husband dearly, and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, but I was so unhappy. I had had this feeling lurking for four years. At first I tried to ignore it, but it just got stronger and stronger until I could bear it no more. No more nights of sitting downstairs at 3am on the sofa, endless tears streaming down my face, unable to sleep because harrowing thoughts wouldn’t give me any respite.
If I had been content with just companionship for the rest of my life I would have gladly stayed, but I wanted more out of life. For myself and for him. We were still young. We deserved better. And so it was time to face the music. We talked. I had counselling. We had counselling. Ultimately, the parts that needed to change were unable to and so we came to the gruelling decision to separate.
This is what I wish I had known…
You are responsible for you.
I was so worried about hurting my husband. (My thoughts around my children will make a whole other blog!) But- he was fine!!! I’m sure there was pain (communication wasn’t a strong point) but he moved on quickly and I think there was much relief on his part too. BUT, despite all this, he was not my responsibility. I was responsible for me, my actions, my happiness.
I could cope!
There were so many practical things that I could list that I had worried about. Maintaining the house. Remembering the bins!!! Technical stuff. Running the house, looking after the kids and all the routines that come with that, single parenting, working. Yes, at times it felt like spinning plates and some massive juggling act, but I could do it. Creating routines at the start really helped with that.
There is ALWAYS a way.
Your relationship has ended for a reason, whether that was your decision, or a decision placed upon you. Now it is time to decide what you want this next chapter to look like and whatever that may be, there WILL be a way to make it happen. I wanted to take the mortgage on, in my own name. On a low wage as a single parent I had to jump through many hoops to prove that I could do it. After 10 months, I got it- it was a very proud moment.
Healing takes time.
When you come out of a long term relationship, there are so many influences, decisions and events that happen it can be quite overwhelming. However you will move forward with your life, because there is no other choice, and with that comes healing. This is different for everyone and there is no wrong or right amount of time. It might be two weeks, two months two years, or longer. The road might be bumpy and very up and down. There is no normal. But, it does get easier and you will be okay.
It is time for self-discovery!
What a perfect time to re-discover who you are and what you want from life. This is a window of opportunity to create a whole new life for you. If I’d have known how much personal growth I would do when I became single and started getting back to who I was, I may not have been so scared of starting the journey. This part has been fun. I have done things I would never have done whilst still in my relationship. I am a stronger, more quietly confident person. I know myself better. I am no longer someone’s wife or someone’s mum. I am a mum for sure, but I am also Zoe Knight, coach, motivator and speaker. To find out more about this self-discovery, read my blog How To Find Yourself Again After A Relationship.
Support is there in many forms
When you are having your darkest moments, someone will be there for you. Accept it. I remember sitting on my sofa sobbing my heart out….somehow my friend knew from my response to a message and just turned up. I was so grateful. I would not have called out for help at that point, but I was in most need of it. It is not the time for being brave and putting on a front. If you are struggling then ask for help. I have a tendency not to ask, but I remember one time I could barely breathe and was starting to hyperventilate, I had got myself in to such a state. I called my mum. Just having someone on the end of the phone to talk to was enough to calm me down and get me out from that place. If you really feel that you have no one you would want to call, there are many public numbers you could try for support. Check them out here.
Friendships will end, but new ones will flourish
You might be lucky, but for many people I have spoken with and in my own experience, the saying ‘you find out who your real friends are’ could not be more true. Sadly, some may end. Some may just slowly drift apart. However, you will make some fantastic new friends that appear from the most surprising places. Some friendships really will flourish, and though it is sad to lose others, and can feel quite brutal and as though you are taking another blow, actually, all is as it is meant to be. If they cannot be there for you when you really need them, are they worthy of your time and friendship anyway? Be open to new friendships. You never know where they might lead you.
Emotions are okay.
It is okay to feel emotional. Truly. We as humans feel a whole range of emotions and they help us to grow. They help us to understand who we are, what is important to us, how we cope. Sometimes they rise up at the strangest times, years down the line shouting ‘surprise’!!! You might be singing away in the car and a song comes on that takes you straight back to a particular memory and you are instantly sad. That is okay. I remember over 2 and half years after my husband and I had separated, I came to apply for our divorce. I was in a great place in my life. I was building my coaching business, I had processed the relationship and we were in a good place, I had a wonderful new relationship and was excited for where that was heading. I was looking forward to looking forward! But when I filled in that form, my goodness, the tears came. It is understandable I suppose. It is the finality of a huge part of my life. But it did take me by surprise and it did knock me for a couple of days. This is absolutely okay to feel these feelings. The trick is to not stay there too long. Allow them, accept them for what they are and allow them to pass. They should flow, e-motion is just energy in motion and when we keep holding on to them, or when we keep them out, that is when we can cause problems.
If you are ready to embrace your next chapter and you want to prioritise yourself and prioritise joy and want some help with getting started on that journey then get in touch with me. I love to help people who are ready to navigate their next direction with fun and enthusiasm.
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