I can’t help but to notice the amount of women in relationships who are feeling stuck, depressed, and constricted. I remember a time when I felt the same way. My first marriage was the most depressing time of my life.
I recall thinking to myself, “Here I am with two beautiful children and a husband who doesn’t even know me.” I felt my husband did not take the time to put away his own selfish needs and desires and get to know the real me.
When we first started dating, it was fun. We were young, in college and carefree. We didn’t have “real” bills to pay and we didn’t see the need to sit down and truly assess the relationship we had. It was more about going out, drinking, partying, watching movies, going to Indian casino resorts and making fun of people we felt were weird or different from us. We were simple college kids “in love.”
When I got pregnant (while in college), our relationship shifted. We would suddenly have a real responsibility and an emotional decision to make. Do we have the child, do we stay together, how will we pay for things, how do I get health insurance? etc…. I, on one hand, was enthusiastic while he was scared out of his mind. There was even a moment when I did not feel he was all that in to me. I felt he wanted to explore more of the dating world and not necessarily with me.
The problem was, I wasn’t real with myself. I put the burden on him. I asked him to make a decision if he wanted to be with me or if he wanted to breakup. Of course, he chose me BUT in hindsight, I think he was doing what he believed to be the right thing to do. We eventual married and 6-years later, we had another child.
By the time I had my second child, I was feeling lost, stuck and depressed in my relationship. I noticed we did not have many things in common and I secretly wanted out. Instead of me being honest with my husband and myself, I once again put the burden on him. I made sure he felt guilty and responsible for the failure of our marriage.
When our divorce was finalized, I felt free, liberated and ready to embark on life. I let go of the anger, the disappointment and the fears that I held onto. I stop placing blame and started to accept the role I played in our relationship. Instead of maintaining and replaying negative thoughts, I started to invest in my children’s happiness. What they wanted most was not to feel like they had to choose between their mother and father.
It was my job to remain positive, flexible and committed to my children’s happiness. I had to be conscience of how my behaviors, thoughts and actions were affecting the relationship between my children and their father. It took some time, approximately one to two years, but I fixed what I helped to destroy. Today, my children, my ex-husband and I have a healthy relationship. We are able to communicate with each other even when we do not agree with one another. Our children witness two mature adults with kids in common. When they visit with their father, they feel connected and love. They feel supported by him. They no longer harbor guilty feelings and they know they are not the reason for our divorce. It has been a long journey, but the experience was worth it. It has made me a better mother, a better wife, a better friend and a better marriage counselor. Today, I enjoy helping others overcome their fear and transform their pain into possibility. Helping other couples find freedom is the best part of being a therapist. When I went through my journey, I sought the help of a mental health therapist. Sometimes all it takes is the help of a licensed professional counselor or psychotherapist.