This August I will be married for eleven years.
And for nine of those years I was really unsure. Unsure about wanting to be married. Unsure about how we will work some things out.
No one told me it was going to be this hard.
No one said – hey guess what? When you get married you drag all your shit into this thing and sometimes you will look around at your life and feel really unsure.
I think perhaps the euphoria of falling in love prevents us from seeing that.
And for those nine years of my marriage my unsure also made me a world class plate spinner.
I handled mostly everything. Finances. The kids. Work. Everyone’s emotional well-being.
Now I am not saying Trevor did nothing because he did. BUT lots fell on me.
And at the end of nine years I was freaking tired. LIKE real tired.
And I was pissed.
I was mad because I felt like I was alone in house full of three other people. AND my people seemed fine. They seemed happy. Which made me resent them even more.
I am not proud of this BUT I was genuinely looking for an exit plan. How do I get out of this?
This was also around the time I started counseling. I remember sitting in my counselor’s office crying telling her I wanted out. She listened attentively to me as I told her I felt trapped and that I could not do it anymore. I think I rambled for a good ten minutes before she stopped me. She looked me dead in the eye and said one simple word: STOP.
Stop filling the gaps.
Stop doing everything.
Stop being responsible for everyone else’s emotional well-being.
It was a simple answer.
BUT the truth is I did not know how to do nothing. I spent nine years doing SO the thought of doing nothing felt strange and foreign.
What if everything falls apart?
What if the dishes don’t get done?
What if the kids don’t eat a homecooked meal five days a week?
What if my husband cannot handle his own emotions? (I mean serious this is the shit I thought)
I thought if I could control everything; everything would go well. BUT the reality of trying to control everything resulted in one TIRED burnt out person who wanted out of her life.
Looking back that was a turning point for me. While I did not “stop” everything that day, I did make the decision to try. BUT stopping was a process – a peeling back one layer at a time. I had a lot of behavior to unlearn and that was not going to happen overnight.
I also had to dig deep about “why”. Why did I feel the need to control everything?
I realized that control is just fear with a fancy coat on.
We fear so we control.
I feared being vulnerable, so I controlled the people I loved the most.
And it completely backfired.
I had to take a good hard look at myself and realize that vulnerability is not the worst thing in the world. Being alone is. AND I was going to be alone if I could not sort out how to let people in. Share how I feel. AND allow them to share how they feel.
It was hard.
It was painful.
And over the last two years I have thought about getting a divorce several times. But something keeps me tethered here and it had not occurred to me until recently what that was.
It was love.
Despite all my controlling, my people loved me. LIKE a lot.
My control prevented me from seeing that. I realized you will never see love when you try to control it.
Love does not work that way.
While I still have days where I catch myself in “control”; I am better. I am resting more and can say I am genuinely enjoying my life.
I think that is what letting go does; it brings joy.
Until next time,