Relationships are complicated. Sometimes it is so glaringly obvious that you shouldn’t be with your partner, while other times there are so many pros and cons that it becomes confusing which choice is going to ultimately make your life the best it can be. We get caught up in the “what ifs” and drive ourselves insane trying to decide what to do. It is times like this where we need to take a moment to consider, Is love really enough?
For those of you who have never read my blog before, I’m a two-time divorceé. The first man I married was my first love, whom I started dating at 17, married at 20. It was a toxic, emotionally abusive relationship, but I was madly in love and couldn’t bring myself to see that life would be better without him. Fear prevented me from filing for divorce or leaving because I didn’t believe I could ever fall in love again or find someone who would understand me. It took him finally filing for divorce after almost 6 years of marriage, for me to realize how unhealthy the relationship was and how much happier I was on my own. The immense love I had for my first husband was not worth the emotional abuse, the depression that accompanied it, and the eggshells I had to walk on in order to maintain the marriage.
My second marriage was to a man who had become my best friend. I jumped into the relationship when I wasn’t emotionally ready for it and never felt 100% comfortable in it. We were together for 5 years total; the marriage only lasted a year. Throughout the entire relationship I questioned it constantly, went over the pros and cons on a regular basis, and never felt secure in my decision to be with him. Something always felt off and I was always trying to figure out what it was. After I filed for divorce and moved out, it was as if the cloud I was living in lifted. I understood that if you are constantly questioning and having to decide whether or not this person is right for you, chances are… they’re NOT. If I would have used my brain, rather than my heart and would have listened to the people around me, I could have avoided another marital mistake.
I tell you my story, so that you can see how love and emotional pain can cause us to stay in relationships that may not be right for us. Maybe you’re afraid of being judged for getting a divorce. Maybe you have kids and don’t want the label that comes with a “Baby Daddy” or you’re afraid of how things will be for your children if you separate. Or maybe you are like me during my first marriage and are scared to leave someone you genuinely love, for fear that life outside of that relationship will be worse. No matter what reason is keeping you in a marriage that doesn’t feel right, let me tell you, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to trust your intuition. If you’re unhappy and the relationship is unhealthy, then who gives a shit what people say about it? YOUR opinion is what matters. YOUR happiness is what should be most important to you. If you don’t put yourself first, no one else will. The labels don’t matter and the kids are better off with parents who are not together, rather than always hearing fighting and never feeling secure in their family.
This may sound like I am advocating for divorce, that is not my goal. In my life, divorce was exactly what needed to happen for me to come to the place I am today. If it weren’t for getting divorced I wouldn’t have learned how to properly love myself, discover what makes me the happiest, cultivate a healthy relationship or have a happy child. Divorce was right for me in both cases, but that doesn’t mean it is right for you. It is not something that should be an easy out because you are going through a rough patch. Marriage has a lot of ups and downs and takes a lot of work in order to be successful. Divorce is not something I suggest unless you have done a lot of soul searching, weighed the pros and cons, gone to counseling, and feel comfortable in the thought that you have tried everything possible to make the marriage work first (unless any form of abuse is involved. In that case, LEAVE!!!)
I encourage you to ask yourself these questions as you consider if you are better off on your own:
- Am I being abused emotionally, mentally, physically, or sexually? If yes, then please, please leave!
- Is this an equal partnership? Are my spouse and myself contributing the same amount of effort and resources into the relationship, or is one person constantly carrying the weight on their own?
- Do I feel respected in this relationship? Do I feel respect towards my spouse?
- Is my child being negatively impacted by this relationship? Your happiness does impact their happiness!
- Do I feel safe in this marriage?
- Do the pros outweigh the cons?
- Am I questioning the marriage regularly? What is my intuition saying to me about this marriage? Don’t ignore that nagging feeling that something is off, because it is probably there for a reason.
- Does this relationship cause me immense stress or do I feel mostly content when we are together?
- Do I feel that I have given everything I can to repair what is wrong in the relationship?
- How do my friends and family feel about my spouse? This is a big one! When I was married the first time I rarely got to spend time with my friends or family, and when I did, they had a lot of negative feelings about my husband. Love is blind and although it is really hard to hear it, sometimes others can see what is wrong, when we are too in love to notice.
- Lastly, Is Love Really Enough?
Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that they are right for you. Just because they love you, doesn’t mean that everything will work out. Love doesn’t cover all wounds, love doesn’t fix the problems, and most of all, love is NOT worth suffering through years of misery for. I was afraid I would never love again and maybe you are too, but I can promise you that the most important love you can receive, is the love you have for yourself. It is possible to fall in love over and over again with people and find someone who is perfect for you, but if you don’t put yourself first and truly learn what it means to have self-love, it doesn’t matter.
No matter what you decide for your marriage and your future, I wish you peace and happiness!