Are you thinking about getting out of a relationship that isn’t serving you and are you wondering if you can let of love and still find happiness?
It’s a scary thing, letting go of someone. You have invested so much time and energy into the relationship and letting go feels like quitting. There is the intense fear that you will never find love again, and the prospect of being alone is petrifying.
But I am here to tell you that you can let go of love and still find happiness.
Eight years ago, I got divorced. I was 46 years old and I had been married for 18 years. I was so scared of my unknown future and wondered if I could find happiness. Here is my story.
1. No more thousand little cuts.
One of the first things that I discovered after my husband moved out was how much happier I was on a daily basis.
Every day of my marriage involved some kind of misery. Whether it be him having his third drink after dinner and becoming crabby or me jumping on him for leaving his clothes on the floor AGAIN, we were making each other miserable every single day.
Once I was living alone, that stopped happening. I would wake up in the morning and go through a day that wasn’t mired with a thousand little cuts. When I crawled into bed, I wasn’t angry and bitter but content with how my day had gone.
And I would get a good night’s sleep because no one was next to me snoring.
So, at the very least, know that your daily life will improve if you are no longer in a relationship that is making you unhappy.
2. No more being a pretzel.
When I was in my miserable relationship, I found myself twisting myself into someone who I wasn’t, hoping to make us happier and keep us married. These contortions made me feel inauthentic and damaged my self-esteem.
Have you ever found yourself putting up with behavior that is not okay just to keep the peace? Do you bend over backwards to do things that will make him happy? Have you given up friends in an attempt to save your relationship?
Twisting ourselves into a pretzel for someone else is not a healthy thing. In order to maintain our sense of self-worth, it is important that we do things that make us feel good about ourselves and our place in the world.
When my husband was gone, I was free to truly be myself, and man oh man, did that make me happy.
3. Living your own authentic life.
When I was married, I was a wife and a mother. My every day was filled with mundane tasks like keeping the house clean and making dinner. I defined myself as such and it kept me from living my own life.
After my divorce, all of that changed. I finally had the freedom to do everything that I had always wanted to do.
I went back to school and got certified as a life coach and I started my own life coaching business, making a difference in the world. I volunteered at the National Alliance of Mental Illness, helping people living with mental illness. I worked at a food bank and volunteered at a hospital.
Every day I woke up and my day was what I wanted it be. And as a result, I started feeling really good about myself. No longer was I the subject of daily pain or struggling with not being myself. My self-esteem went through the roof, and I started to realize that I could do whatever I set my mind to.
How good would it feel to have your life be what you want it to be every day?
4. Having grand adventures.
One of the best parts of being alone, for me, was the opportunity to have amazing new life experiences, ones that were so different from those I had had during the time I was married.
I climbed Mt Katahdin in Maine and hiked for 15 days in Peru. I take my kids to the Caribbean every year for Christmas and have five glorious, cell phone-free days with them.
I started dating and met a bunch of great guys, many of whom I am still friends with.
I sold my big house in Vermont and moved into a 200 square-foot apartment in NYC, where every day was an adventure.
I was 46 years old and I was authentically living my life again. I felt truly alive and was getting to know myself in a way that I never had before. What a gift.
5. Finding true love.
I spent six years dating after my divorce. I enjoyed almost every date (but did walk out on one) and had many amazing boyfriends. One took me hiking in Moab. I road-tripped with one to Telluride and with another to help hurricane victims in Louisiana. I capsized a sailboat with one of my favorite guys on Lake Champlain and later test drove $80,000 Audis just for fun.
But the best guy I met on Match.com was a person who became one of my closest friends and the person who introduced me to the love of my life.
I was brutally unhappy in my marriage but determined to stick it out because I didn’t want to get divorced, and when it ended, I was devastated. But if it hadn’t ended, I wouldn’t be living the glorious life that I am with a man who loves and values me, who doesn’t cause me little bits of pain every day, who I laugh and have adventures with and who knows who he is and loves who we are.
I want to assure you that if you can let go of a love that isn’t serving you, you will find love again. I can also promise you that if you stay with this person who is making you miserable, you definitely won’t.
I hope that my story has answered whether you can you let go of love and still find happiness.
I have this little game I play when standing in line at the grocery store. I look at the faces of the women in line and try to judge, based on their facial expressions, who are in an unhappy relationship and who aren’t. It’s very easy to tell, believe it or not, especially now that I look in the mirror every day and know what a happy woman looks like.
So believe that you can find happiness if you are strong enough to walk away from a relationship that isn’t serving you. I am living proof.