There is no surprise that in the U.S., the rate of people getting married has decreased. It may be largely in part to the alimony, child custody and splitting of assets that can leave a bad taste in a person's mouth. But one should reflect on, what changes will they make to avoid divorce again? Or what is there to gain after surviving the divorce process?
BEFORE THE "I DOES"
Of course, when I got married, I had no plans of someday uttering the words, "my ex-husband". In order to understand my growth, you must first get to know who I was before getting divorced.
I was a people-pleaser growing up. Tried to avoid disappointing family and friends. Going out of my way to meet the expectations of others, even if that meant putting aside my own feelings. This habit turned me into being predictable, and it also made people take my kindness for weakness. When in reality, I just didn't like issues and would try to steer clear of drama.
Another personality trait that I had was sometimes focusing on the worst aspect of things. All those favors I did for others, most of the time was not afforded back to me when I needed help. My mother use to say, "If you help someone, do it with no expectation of getting the same back." Being young, that lesson went over my head, and because I didn't listen, I slowly became pessimistic.
Fast forward to my near death car accident, my empty life flashing before my eyes and then deciding to move out the comfort of my parent's home. Young and legal to drink, I made it my mission to build a more exciting life. While busting some moves on the dance floor of a local night club with friends, my ex-husband made his move to ask me for my number. He made a good impression, enough that I fell in love and said, "I do", (looking back now, that love was more like lust).
THE HONEYMOON PHASE
Our marriage was off to a great start. We communicated well what our marital goals would be moving forward. The vows we made were not taken lightly and even made sure to be supportive of each other. With marriage, I became an excessive planner. Time-lining my future according to the goals we set. Strategizing our financial arrangement, career targets and the starting of a family.
Unfortunately, the honeymoon phase was short lived after I caught him cheating. One of the worse weeks of my life. The marriage was only going little over a year. Failed before it could even have a chance to blossom. Wow!!!!!! What can I say! This shattered my heart. Killed my love for him. It made me depressed, sad, numb, angry and the list goes on.... Crazy enough, I was even mad at myself to think that marrying a guy I met in a club would turn into something so amazing.
There are many reasons why spouses stay. However, my religion and culture is what kept me in my marriage. The people-pleaser personality came back with a vengeance. My focus shifted from the pain to what would people think of me? What man would want a girl that couldn't keep her husband from falling into the arms of another woman? The 'what did I do wrong" question loomed over my head for months.
FOR BETTER OR FOR WORST
He made the effort to gain my trust back. There were a few months where things started to look promising. Seemed like maybe we would survive "for worse" to get to "for better". But the trust was gone. No matter how hard I forgave, I didn't forget. All I could see was the negative in the marriage. Once a cheater, always a cheater. After another year, he proved me right and started down the path of infidelity again.
This was a crucial point. I had to make a decision of what's more important, me or him. It was easy.... I choose me. If he didn't care about me, then I needed to. Leaving a marriage I vowed to stay in till death did it part was not a simple task. But to me the love died, therefore, I saw no reason to stay. So I packed up my things, left my wedding ring on the kitchen counter and walked into the unknown.
As daunting of an experience it was to walk away, there was so much that I learned about myself. Speaking my mind and not holding back how I really feel was one of the first changes that took place. Then I became so much more care free. Allowing the day to run away with me however it wants. My pessimistic habits were replaced with optimism. Taking risk did not scare me off because nothing else could hurt more than a broken heart. Most importantly, once I regained my confidence, I fell in love. Don't worry! The person I fell in love with was me. Only individual I focus on pleasing is me for the time being.
Now, I am not by far a perfect women and I have not given up on marrying again someday. But I am learning how to blossom into an improved version of myself and it feels good. A divorce is not the end, it's just the beginning to becoming the better person you are meant to be.....
Dating on the other hand is a whole other story!!!