Relationships, Family and Truth.

I always thought that the hardest thing in my life would be losing my Dad.

It wasn’t.

That was hard, really hard and his death had a profound effect on me, but the hardest thing I have ever had to do was something I never imagined happening and that was to make the decision to separate from my husband.

My soul couldn’t take any more of being stuck in a perpetual loop with the same issues on repeat. Although, the real issue was in never finding a solution.

I confided in a couple of select friends who all offered opposing opinions which added to my confusion and I deliberated on making a decision for two years.

“What about the children?” they’d say.

What about the children?

Family means everything to me, yet here I was delaying this decision making process because I was fearful of hurting my children and the repercussions this may have.

Is it utterly selfish to put your needs over the needs of your children?

There is no right answer to this one, only what is in your heart, what is true for you.

What I know is that the longer you hold onto something that no longer fills you up, serves you, grows you or makes you happy, the more exhausted and depleted you become.

Would my children blame me? Would they ever forgive me?

I paid close attention and observed my children.

Which changed the question.

What am I teaching my children?

I came to understand the true impact of what I would be teaching them if I stayed.
That it was OK to tolerate and put up with situations and events in life that leave us feeling contracted or unhappy.

That, in my book is not empowering nor is it an aspiring message I want to pass on to my children.

Let me make this clear, I wasn’t in an abusive marriage. Far from it.

We simply came to the end of our shared path.

Depleted and utterly exhausted I finally made my decision even if it didn’t make sense logically. I found the courage to speak my truth and to share what was in my heart, regardless of other people’s opinions and reactions. It no longer mattered what anyone else thought of me, what really matters is what I thought of myself.

2010-08-30 16.34.30

But, just because a relationship doesn’t last, doesn’t mean it didn’t work.

This was the man I chose to be the father of my children, a generous, quick-witted, easy going man I have loved and lived with for 29 years, my best years. I hope that in itself means something.

We did our best and have reaped innumerable happy memories to treasure and appreciate.

And so the healing process begins. Its early days, I’m healing well.

I learned so much from holding on and even more in letting go.

As this new season of our lives begins, I’ve found comfort in the words of Marianne Williamson

Relationships are eternal. The ‘separation’ is another chapter in the relationship. Often letting go of the old form of the relationship becomes a lesson in pure love, much deeper than any would have learned had the couple stayed together.”

Just because our relationship didn’t last, doesn’t mean we completely stop loving each other, it means far more than that, it means we can now stop hurting each other.

And what about the children?

It isn’t marriage that matters so much to a child’s wellbeing.

What matters most is the quality of the relationship they have with their parents who love them and are united in raising them. I’ve come to accept that parents do not need to live under the same roof to achieve this.

Of many books I read during my wavering decision to separate I highly recommend reading:

Committed: A Love Story – Elizabeth Gilbert
Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay – Mira Kirshenbaum

Posted in A Year for my Soul, Acceptance, Connections, Relationships, Soul.

5 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Alison, it’s so cathartic and also so helpful to others. I clearly remember the moment, when, after what seemed like years of struggling (and one of my inner voices shouting “your son needs a father” ) realising that if I couldn’t be true to myself, then I was not being the best and most honest guide for my son. I had never told Jacob a fib. Not even a little white lie. Not even when he was a toddler and people told me not to tell him I was going away for a couple of days. It was a matter for my heart. I wanted him to know that one person in the world would always, always tell him the truth, no matter how gritty. I had to show him more of me, as a woman as well as a mother. I wanted him to know life isn’t made up of perfectly rounded, sweet smelling scenarios: and also, that the end of a marriage isn’t the end of life. I couldn’t live with giving HIM the responsibility (without my even asking his permission) of carrying the ‘reason’ for his father and I limping on.

    Years later, Jacob said to me that this was the toughest and also the most amazing time of his life. He decided to be a writer. Against all school and family expectations (he was then in the top 4% of young mathematicians in the UK) he changed stream, and wrote and wrote and wrote… and is still writing. He got to learn how to support his mum, understand that peoples’ emotions are their business and not to take responsibility for other people’s sh!! Freed of expectations, he chose local school as opposed to public: made friends that have endured and generally, loved growing into and being himself. I echoed the new found space, and found me, too! That is another story, and not one for a space shared about my son, but it’s all good.

    Love on your journey, Alison.

  2. I love this Alison, I could have written it 🙂 it applies to my story so perfectly too. I know separating was the best thing for my children, me and in fact my ex.

    I don’t ever say our marriage failed, it lasted exactly as long as it was supposed to, We were better parents (people) apart.

    I have another part to my story, that might not apply to yours Alison, after seventeen years divorced …. we’re seeing each other again 🙂

    Thanks for writing this and expressing it so well x

  3. What a truly honest and inspirational blog! Having just gone through some significant relationship changes myself the words you have written really resonate. I have discovered that it is OK to rewrite a relationship and even if it appears unconventional to all around, if it works for the people involved that is all that matters.
    With metta xx

  4. Thanks for sharing Allison. What has opened up for Bernie in all this, you didn’t say? I imagine you didn’t leave, not only for the children but for him? How is he? Is he also flourishing now?

  5. Thank you for sharing so openly Allison. I believe this article will help many women, including me, no matter what decision is ultimately made. ?

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