I Thought I Needed a Divorce

You need someone who loves you better.

This is what I heard, every day in meditation.

We were going through a rough patch.  We had been together over 10 years and we had been through a rough patch before, after our second son was born.  Neither baby slept.  We barely slept.  He worked two jobs (one unpaid).  My job was more stressful than usual.  Doctors found a tumor in his spine.  It hurt the most when he slept.  And we barely slept.  In moments of clarity, I knew we would look back on that time as one of the hardest times and wonder how we made it through.  I knew we would make it through.

This time I was the one doctoring.  I was the one with mysterious conditions.  I was the one with two cancer scares.  I didn’t know if we would make it through.

What is wrong?  How do I get better?

You need someone who loves you better.

Uh, okay.  So what does that mean?  Does that mean I tell him to leave today?  Does that mean I leave today?  Does that mean I get a boyfriend on the side?  What does that mean?

Silence.

I know that I know what is best for my family.  I have tested this theory over and over, with big decisions and little decisions.  Should we really move?  Yes.  Should I really spend the money on the organic apple sauce?  Yes.

Should I really get a divorce?

Silence.

How could leaving my marriage possibly be the best for my family, best for me?  The stress and heartache of divorce and dating, how could that bring me greater fulfillment?  How???

You need someone who loves you better.

I felt sadder.  I felt angrier.

I continued to sit.

For another six months.

I felt so broken and confused.  Beautiful life, doctor after doctor.  What do I do?

You need someone who loves you better.

And?

It’s you.

Me?

It’s you.

It’s me.

And this is where my journey really began.

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5 thoughts on “I Thought I Needed a Divorce

  1. S says:

    Thanks for posting. I needed to see this and the delayed fireworks post as well. My wife asked me to look at them and I am glad I did. When I first saw the title I got pissed because I thought it was going to be negative but then I read the post and I am glad I did.

  2. Hannah Wall says:

    Ashleigh,

    I read your book, and our stories are similar in so many ways! My husband and I tried swinging, then polyamory. Then one day, he told me he didn’t love me anymore and wanted to leave me. He’s changed his mind on that point several times, so it still feels like I have some power to decide what our future holds. I started reading old journals and realized that there were red flags from the very beginning, and that I hadn’t been happy with him since the NRE phase. Even before we got married, I had been so hesitant, but so afraid to listen to my inner knowing. We’re separated now, and most of the time I think we’re doing the right thing. I think he’s a vulnerable narcissist, and I don’t want to model that relationship to my son. I want him to have at least one functional, happy man in his life. When I read a little about your book and saw that you stayed with your husband, I was like, “oh God, what did she do that I didn’t do?” I’m curious about what changed in your marriage- I know that he started hugging you and the boys more, returning your “I love you’s” and that you felt you had become unmuted. I know that he was willing to fight for you. I guess I’m wondering, was that all? Was that enough? Did your circumstances change drastically or just your mindset? I’m at this crossroads right now where I can imagine things changing enough with my husband to MAYBE get to “okay.” If he were willing to change a whole lot, and if I were willing to have my favorite parts of myself be politely tolerated. Part of me wants to settle for okay because of my son. Even just selfishly- the thought of loosing half of my time with him really hurts. But I don’t know if I can be okay settling for “okay” anymore. I don’t want to live out my life feeling stuck and desperate. I know that you can’t tell me what to do, and that our situations and our husbands are very different. But there are enough similarities that I feel I have to know- are things in your marriage just “good?” Or did it transform into the truest, most beautiful life you can imagine for yourself? Would you have stayed if it weren’t for your kids? I won’t be offended if you don’t want to answer all of these questions. I think really I was just hoping for more details about how your marriage changed so that I could say, “There! right there. That’s what’s different between her situation and my situation. That’s why she could fix things and I couldn’t. That’s why her husband is worth staying with and mine isn’t.” I don’t know exactly what I’m wanting to know here, but any wisdom you have for me would be much appreciated. Also, I just moved to Philly from Texas last year!

    • Keri says:

      Hi Hannah, I read and read The Empowered Wife by Laura Doyle many times over the last 3 years and in the last year actually started following the intimacy skills. I have changed so much and all the things I thought my husband needed to change have paled in comparison with what he does for me. A lot was mindset, making myself happy and looking for the things he does right. In response to a happier me he is changing too. You can change the culture of your marriage, don’t give up hope.

    • Ashleigh says:

      I am so sorry I’m just seeing this now, Hannah! I think everyone is different and staying married should not be the goal––becoming more of who you truly are and treating yourself with love and tenderness and respect should be the goal. Then your partner will have to step up or you will both have to move on. Again, focus on you. Get happy with you. And then you will see how things play out. It takes time.

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