“When people have different information,

they make different choices.”

Monday, March 1, 2021

Do I Stay? Or Do I Go?

 I have experienced two separations. One where I stayed in the state my soon-to-be-ex and I were raising our children and surrounded by his family. And the other where I relocated out of state with my children near my family.

I think decisions, such as to stay married or get divorced and to live close or relocate often require deep reflection and guidance. When I made the decision to separate for the second time and the decision to relocate, I had been in weekly therapy for a year. And in frequent contact with my family, a few close friends and church members, and church leaders (my bishop, and the stake president). Even with a few faculty members at my university, who were helping me stay on track for graduating with my degrees.  

The guidance I received at the time was telling me it was time to start over. But that starting over needed to be divorce and in a place where I could thrive as a single mom. I questioned, prayed, and pleaded about everything for 4 months before I moved. Although it's hard for me to say, the relationship with my soon-to-be-ex and his family was unhealthy for me in many ways. To be fair, maybe the relationship with me was also unhealthy for them. I believe moving away, has improved my mental health and self-esteem. It will allow me to heal in ways I can only imagine. In ways, I would not have been able to fulfill if I stayed rooted closely to my old life. My first separation did not achieve change or a fresh start.

And I’ve started that by being conscious of the food I eat, losing weight, saying yes to putting myself first in order to be a healthier and happier mom for my kids. Also, my youngest with special needs is receiving more resources than we had in our old town. This means we would need to move to find more resources anyways. The home I have now is safer than our old home and it allows me to provide him with a sensory space. Something I could only dream about in our old home that had no yard. I also had 6 months with just the kids and me to get settled, before my children's father moved into the area.

Last Edited: March 1, 2021

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Grief Is Part of The Process

   In a forum I am apart of, a member of the group expressed how sad she felt as she began her journey through divorce. She asked if it was normal to cry and grieve so much? This is my written response to the question of grief during a divorce.

    It takes time. Grief and sorrow are normal in divorce. You’re losing something you never thought you’d lose. I have been married to one man. And in that marriage, I have been separated twice. The first time for 6 months. The second time, 9 months and counting.

    I was a mess during my first separation. I cried so much because I was overwhelmed by it all. How was I going to take care of my children without a steady income? Previously, I had been a stay-at-home mom for 8 years. And at the time, I was doing daycare work from home for 2 years. How would I finish my education? I had to take a year off of college. How would I afford my home without him? I got a single mom I had become close friends with that I did daycare for to move in. So I was being paid daycare and half of the rent. 

    But this tested and broke our friendship within months of living together. Each of us was a single mom and our priorities were to our children. She has 1 with special needs and I have 3, but 1 with special needs. We were not a family unit. And we had different wants and needs for our individual families. She was a single mom from the beginning.

    I realized I was looking for a partner. To some degree, I chose to be single when I decided to leave an unhealthy marriage. But I never went into it choosing to be alone. I chose to have a partner from the beginning and was consumed by my grief at the loss of one. When their father would leave for the night, my children cried. When they were asleep I let my tears fall.

    If this was right how could it make me feel this bad? However, everyone who knew our story told me to leave him. We reconciled for a year because the option of staying and the one for leaving felt bad. It all hurt. I had the roommate move out, so my spouse and I could try once more to save our marriage. Again. And financially, I didn't know how to stay a single mom when the roommate and I stopped becoming friends and it wasn't taking care of everything.

     Then there was an element of shame for me. I was embarrassed that I had failed at being married,  at the partner I had chosen, and for trying and staying so long in a relationship that wasn't a temple marriage. Or healthy.  I felt strongly if I returned to my family I didn't want to go back to my mom's family ward. Everyone remembers me as the teen convert who loved the gospel and wanted nothing more than to be a wife and mother. I couldn't return there as a failure, especially as there were a couple who suggested not getting married young. I lived outside of Utah at the time.

     I felt like they would judge me and say I told you so. I had to battle that with the words of my therapist. She says it's not because you got married young. Plenty of LDS couples marry young and stay together. Age wasn't the issue. Your spouse's behaviors and poor decisions over the years were.

    By my second separation, I understood the words a previous therapist said to me when he asked what hurts more? Is it staying or going? I realized at 11.5 years - my marriage was not going to get better. No amount of therapy had changed it over the years. The bad outweighed the happy moments. Even took away future goals we once had.

    I was losing the things I wanted. I didn't have a temple marriage. My return missionary and his immediate family left the church. I had no one to attend church with and to sit next to in the pew. He wasn't there for me to lay my head on his shoulder and to hold hands with during the service. To occasionally look at our children. Or to look at each other and smile. 

The things I didn't even know I would miss until he stopped attending during my 3rd pregnancy and I made excuses of him working. He did work a lot of Sundays, but he skipped them too. And happy decisions like baptisms because bittersweet choices that we were once easy. He returned long enough to baptize our eldest then became inactive again. I feel that's a confusing message for my kids. This unhappiness began to spread in so many areas of our life and relationship I knew this isn't what I wanted for my children and me. I simply wanted us to be happy. 

I realized the decision was between the known and unknown. I was scared of the unknown and unhappy with the known. I was battling fear. I had to take a leap of faith, in my case that all of this was necessary and allowed to happen to move my life where it needed to be in order to grow into something more.

I've been separated for 9 months with the kids full time and dad getting visitations. We don't have anything finalized yet as we just started mediation this month. And I can say I am surprisingly and honestly starting to do better. I didn't have any answers when I left and moved back home.

The part, I often forget when I find myself lost in my grief  Is my heavenly father has been helping me step-by-step.  He helped make every little piece that got me to this point fall into place.  Some of those pieces even fell into place before I had enough strength and faith to leave.  

For example, the therapist that I have is the therapist I found when I reconciled with my soon-to-be-ex. She walked me through that year of reconciliation, my decision to separate a second time, my plans to relocate out of state, and now 9 months into my new life as a single mom in a new state. He knew I needed her. Someone who wouldn't give up on me as I tried to save my marriage again. Someone who would help me work through my fears until I could make a decision.

Last Edited: February 21, 2021

Sunday, January 17, 2021

How I Feel During Sad Days

 On my low days during my second separation, I will have moments where I hyper-focus on the fact that I am separated and getting a divorce. And how both situations leave me without a partner. On those bad days, I wish desperately my marriage to my children’s father could have been better. So I wouldn’t have to go through this.

Other times, I wish this chapter of my life was already closed. And I can instantly be somewhere in the future, where I have a new partner who will help me raise and take care of my kids. A partner to hold me on sad days and listen to my feelings. In my opinion, something I desired but missed out on in my first marriage. I think these can be normal feelings and part of the grieving process for some individuals. 

For me, the important part is to work through those feelings and not dwell too long in that doubtful space.  My doubtful space is where I am constantly asking God why? Why this trial? How long must I endure it? I tend to feel lost and disconnected from my religious convictions if I stay in that headspace too long.

Last Edited: January 17, 2021

Sunday, January 10, 2021

How Do I Feel About Marriage?

  For those of you who are just following my story, I am in the process of divorce and ending 12 years of marriage. Although, I have some scars and fears from this experience, I know I still have those desires and dreams of marriage and family.  

Right now, I'm not in that space for a new relationship or marriage. But I would be open to the possibility, if and when that opportunity should come. This is after my divorce is complete and I've had some time to heal. 

It also helped to hear a story from a divorced woman. She said, "she never thought she wanted to be married again after all the horrible things she went through. But then she dated a nice man that made her realize she did want to remarry one day." 

It reminds me that when I am healed I need to leave my heart open. I can't let the fear of being hurt make me judge every new guy and situation by the past. It wouldn't be fair to them. Or me.

Last Edited: January 10, 2021

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