“Don’t look back”!!! is often what people will say to you when you make a massive life change and in my case I walked away from a 27 year marriage to start all over again. I do agree with the statement of not looking back, especially if it prevents you from moving forward. For myself I have been thinking lately about some of the obvious differences that are in my life now to what they were in the past. To be more specific I wanted to look backwards a little to see how far I have come in the present from just over 4 years ago.
To even consider that it has been 4 years since I drove out of the gates with my then 9 year old son is incredible. The car was full of both our clothes and not much else. With little cash in my purse I took the opportunity at the request of my ex husband to move out. It was time. All I can say is that I tried for 27 years to convince myself the marriage relationship would get better and it never really did. It was unhealthy from top to bottom. No amount of prayers or church attendance changed anything. No amount of apologising, day dreaming or wishing helped our relationship. Our relationship was tense at the best of times and always on the brink of problems.
What did my relationship look like with my ex husband:
I met him in Church as a young 17 year old girl who had no value in herself. I hated myself. I believed that I was ugly and unloved. I was always searching for love and desperate for it. As much as I was searching for love I didn’t really know what it looked like. Sadly for me I accepted less then I deserved when I said “I DO” that day in front of my family and friends.
As crazy as it sounds I had no idea what I was committing myself to for 27 years. I thought it was love. I thought it was right. I thought it was normal for two people to be fighting and having problems as we did. The arguments and problems started when we were only going out a few weeks in. Getting married didn’t change that, the arguments continued. It was messy and it was complicated.
What were we arguing about?
The bottom line was I hated myself and wanted to be loved. I thought he loved me. I thought he had all the answers to life that he was wise. I listened intently to his words as he spoke with conviction about God, The Bible, Forgiveness, Healing and Loving Yourself. Sometimes the conviction he had took him too far. Like the day we were driving from Holbrook back to Canberra which was about a 3 hour drive. He was convinced that I needed to say out loud that I was beautiful. I couldn’t get those words out of my mouth, I told him I cant say that as I don’t believe it. He then put his left hand on my knee and started to squeeze it really hard demanding I say that I was beautiful otherwise he would keep squeezing me. At first I was shocked and immediately thought why is he hurting me? He sounded so convincing that I had to do what he said and start saying out loud that I was beautiful. This went on for what felt like forever until finally he was satisfied that I had done what he had asked.
We did a lot together I went with him to lots of places and often sat for hours in peoples houses while he talked with them about his convictions. Other occasions I sat in the car for hours while he was visiting either for business reasons or personal. He lived life in his own world and I was in the background. His ideas and decisions were his. My attempts at providing input were not really considered to be valuable. My fears, doubts or concerns about our finances was unimportant. As long as God was happy with him tithing we were going to be just fine as he was convinced that giving 10% to God would mean we would never be without. It didn’t quite go that way. There was no planning or budgeting only spending. He would say to me I can earn money as fast as I can spend it so stop worrying. I worried. I lived under so much stress as debts gathered momentum, debt collectors started calling and knocking on the door. I was left to deal with that all by myself as a young mum with no help from him. It was awful.
I started to lose trust in his decisions. I felt unheard and unimportant. Money was a major area but then there was the communication. My attempts at trying to communicate with him about my feelings and concerns created tension. It created silence. It always became about me. All our difficulties were identified as being my issues. He didn’t take responsibility for his actions. The only action he took was to manipulate OR emotionally withdraw to get me to do what he wanted. This then set the scene of years of emotional abuse.
Where am I now 4 years on from leaving him:
As I got to Canberra with my then 9 year old son it was about rebuilding a new life. I had no choice but to stay here so I decided to make it work. I found myself a small two bedroom unit while on unemployment benefits. Eventually got myself an entry level job and was promoted into a new role within that company. My bank account was in my control and I had the pleasure of paying all my bills on time. Problems and troubles started to feel like a thing of the past. I was now able to live peacefully in my small unit. My safe haven.
Just over 2 and half years ago I met a lovely new man. He does what he says he will do. His genuine and very loving. His good with money and makes the right choices. He asks for my input and takes it seriously. He never wants me to feel unheard. He doesn’t cause trouble and he has respect for my family and friends. He loves to communicate. He has helped me to speak up and not be afraid. He never puts me down in front of others or in private. He supports me always. He does life with me. We walk side by side. There is never any judgement or criticism. He never ignores me. He cares about my children.
The best part about our relationship is we don’t argue.
There is nothing to argue about.
We may have had a few misunderstandings however they were resolved with no effort at all it was natural and it was beautiful. With him life is peaceful, safe and loving. We are building a life together.
The first part of my life was turmoil and now the second part is beautiful.
I cant change my past but I am certainly embracing my future. Its good to look back when you want to get a clear picture of how much you have moved forward. Let the past show you how much you can appreciate your life now.