I’ve been putting off writing this post for so long. It’s been whirring around in my head for ages about how to put this on paper or if I even should. But how can I start my Starting Again series if I don’t tell you the reason I’ve had to start again. It’s taken me a long time to work out how to write about my breakup without saying too much about what actually happened but being able to talk about how I felt. It’s been long enough now. 8 months in fact. I’ve had notes in my iPhone for ages, so it’s a Monday night and after a couple of coronas I feel like I’m ready to put it all down.
As I said in my Resolutions post, 2018 was a hard year for me. I spent the first half of the year waiting to see if the man I’d married 5 ½ years ago still wanted to be with me and the second half getting over the fact he didn’t. The break up was long and drawn out. It extended over months and months. In actuality the whole thing started back in late 2017 but didn’t finally end till June 2018. That’s not to say it didn’t still hurt but I had a long time to deal with what was coming and even longer to prepare for what it really meant practically speaking.
In February he moved out. For space. To think. At my suggestion to be honest. I thought space and time without worrying about me and my feelings would be good. We agreed a month and yet three went by. I lived this kind of half-life. Not married and yet not single. Of course, I didn’t tell anyone except close friends. In fact, I continued to lie in my village that he was away on business. Maintained a façade that all was well and that he was just working a lot. Those few months were probably the hardest. Harder than after the breakup because I just didn’t know where I stood. I tried to keep my blog and social media going. Trying my hardest to post pretty pictures and witty captions when in actuality I was terrified about what was going on. Valentines and my Birthday passed by with no proper gifts and no celebration with him and as May and our wedding anniversary approached, I forced a decision. I was tired of waiting. And he ended it.
I cried. A lot. Partly because I was of course so sad it had ended but also because I knew how hard everything that was to come would be. I understood the enormity of what this meant for me and for my immediate future.
Then he changed his mind. Decided we were worth fighting for and he moved back in. And whilst being realistic that it still might not work, I was optimistic and happy. We booked a trip away. We made an effort to try and do more together, to talk, to stay off our phones; the usual promises we all make. But weeks later he ended it again. I won’t tell you how, but let’s just say series 6 episode 7 of Sex & The City is a close suggestion.
I didn’t cry. I’d already done this once and by now I was exhausted from months of tears and stress and to be honest I was just glad I had a decision and a direction to move forward in.
The biggest thing I felt afterwards was fear. Fear about being 37 and having to start again. Its why I wanted to write this series because I know I’m not alone in this feeling. No one ever really talks about how frightening this can be. Being divorced isn’t something I ever wanted on my life list. Despite the fact I felt some excitement at starting out on my own and the thought of being able to go on dates again, have a first kiss again, all these were outweighed by an overwhelming fear that preyed so badly it kept me awake at night. That fear hasn’t gone completely but I did lessen it some in two ways
- Don't think too hard or too far
I’ll be honest the main way I dealt with the fear and the whole thing really was not to think to hard or too long about it. Its not that I live in denial, I’ve fully accepted what’s happened but I just don’t sit and think too deeply about what it all means because that way just leads to spiralling thoughts and that terrifying fear again. I try my hardest not to dwell on the why’s and the past and instead try and look forward and plan what’s to come.
- A Practical mind
The second way has been to approach everything with a practical mind. As I was the financial dependent in the marriage, I made sure I was clued up and fully educated on what would happen if we broke up and how things would work. The more you know, the less you will worry about it.
TO TELL OR NOT TO TELL
Because I kept what was happening a secret for so long, I found it hard to start telling people when we had actually ended. I was ashamed actually. And embarrassed. Ashamed that it failed, that I couldn’t make it work and I didn’t want people to look at me with a look of pity or for me to get emotional or upset in front of people. It meant I actually avoided people. I stopped popping into the theatre because I didn’t want people to know we were having problems. However, whereas to some I was extremely tight lipped in fact purposely deceptive, in other cases, the truth tumbled out of my mouth like verbal diarrhoea. Telling a PR at a press event all about my break up because we were talking moving houses or blurting out “I’ve just broken up with my husband” when a blogger friend told me they were engaged. It was like one extreme to another.
The truth is you tell people when you are ready. Its nobody’s business but yours but once you start telling people, as hard as that moment is because it will make everything real and truly happening, it will help you move on.
I think lots of my followers on social think I’m so strong and that I’ve coped so well with this breakup as I’m always full of witty remarks and #debsondating banter on my Instagram stories but the truth is I had some awful days. Of course, I’ve cried. For weeks after the break up I would spontaneously burst into tears over the silliest things, spotting our wedding china in a cupboard or hearing a certain song. It’s totally normal and you shouldn’t feel bad for crying. It doesn’t mean your weak, it just means your human. But eventually the tears have to stop. You can’t keep crying over the same thing. That’s my vow for 2019. I won’t shed tears over the same things, there’s no point.
This is the one you have to keep under control. This is the emotion that will make you do way more stupid things than being sad or upset. Of course, I was angry. Not that he ended it. I agreed with the reasons to be honest but the way things dragged out and the dishonesty that later came to light, hell yeah, I was livid. But I chose to channel this anger to my friends or family, not at him. To begin with I wouldn’t bad mouth him too much to my folks. I didn’t want them to hate him you see. I couldn’t bear that he was the bad guy so I defended him and his decisions, a lot! Then I stopped. He’d made himself the bad guy and it wasn’t my job to protect him anymore. So, I make sure if I want to vent or rant, I ring my folks or see my friends. It’s the best way to get it out of your system.
LETTING GO OF A LIFE
The biggest thing is you have to do is to let go of the life you thought you were going to have. I thought I’d have a life in a village, with an amazing house, dogs, maybe a kid one day and properly settling down. That’s not what my future looks like now. That’s not to say I won’t ever have those things and its also not to say that the future that’s waiting for me isn’t equally as brilliant and exciting. I wasn’t happy. I hadn’t been for a while and now I can look forward to a future where hopefully I will be much happier, but to do that you have to let go of the imagined life you planned.
ACCEPT YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE MOURNING
There is a moment when you realise, you’re not the only one that has to let go of a possible future. My parents especially were broken hearted and they didn’t have the same amount of time to adjust to it all like I did. I tried my hardest to be sensitive to the fact that they also were upset. There were so many why’s and trying to understand the reasons so they could come to terms with it and in the end, I said it needed to stop. The why’s didn’t matter. It had happened and all I wanted to do was start to move forward. They respected that and honestly have been incredible, always there to listen and to talk to and I couldn’t have done this without them.
STAY OFF SOCIAL
I’d vowed to myself that I wouldn’t air my dirty laundry in public. That I wouldn’t start slagging off my ex on Facebook or bad mouthing him. I’ve seen it before and it’s not how I wanted to be nor did I think it would make me feel any better. In fact, I waited two months before I put anything on my own social media and even then, I didn’t detail what had happened or mention him, but kept it about me and my new chapter with the two dogs. When I’ve come to write this Starting Again Series, I’m also trying to be careful to keep things about the facts and my feelings and not overshare (at least I hope so) as you have to be so aware of what you put online. Once its on there you can’t take it back.
My advice, do the same. Don’t sling mud on Facebook or social media, be the bigger person
BEING THE BIGGER PERSON
I’ve tried to be this. I’ve failed a couple of times. The odd angry text sent or name called but divorce is hard man. It’s confusing and difficult and it would be a whole lot more so if I was arguing every minute of the day with my ex. So, take the high ground. As hard as it is. Be the bigger person because that way you can hold your head high and be proud of yourself.
TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY
The hardest thing to deal with for me was that not everyone knew the truth. There’s a large proportion of his friends and family that don’t know what happened, how he messed me around months, how exactly he broke up with me and in the end after further revelations why I’m able to apply for a divorce. They only know the story he’s told them and I’ve had to accept this. Its just something I’ll have to live with. At the end of the day the people that matter to me know the whole story and that’s the most important thing. Some stuff you just have to let go.
TALK AND TALK AND TALK
I feel like all I’ve talked about last year was me and my break up. Even I’m bored of talking about it to be honest, but my friends and family have been amazing. You have to talk about it, it’s the only way you can work through feelings or thoughts and its way better to get it out of your own head. For me I have this, to be able to write about it which is so cathartic and helpful and I’m so grateful for that too.
LEARNING TO BE OK ON YOUR OWN
Friends and family are an amazing support and they will be there as much as they can but everyone has their own life. Your plight isn’t on their mind every day like it yours. They can’t check in on you every day and they can’t be there every minute. Eventually you realise you are on your own. Not in a bad way, you’re not ALONE you just have to learn to be ok just you. For me it wasn’t that hard living on my own. I’d lived in the house pretty much by myself for the entire time we’ve had it so in that respect nothing changed. But I struggled at weekends where days would go by with no one to talk to or just watch tv with. I have a post coming all about things I did to get over my break up so I’ll talk about this more in that post but it is something I wish I could be better at, being happy being just me. But I’m getting there.
Once you’ve got past the initial breakup, especially if there is a divorce involved, but even with a separation there are some difficult choices and conversations ahead. Conversations about money and houses and belongings, decisions about you and your life and what you're going to do. Its something I'll talk about more here on the blog. It won’t be easy, but you have to push through all of this to be able to move forward. Getting through this and making choices about your future is the only way you’ll be able to start again. And you will.