Breaking up a relationship is never easy. But I don’t think people talk much about the amount of emotions that you go through during a break up. Add the weight of a marriage with a child and watch yourself feel all sorts of strange and contradictory feelings within 10 minutes.
You will go from having an anxiety attack to feeling at peace and excited. In this post I will share some of my own feelings when it comes to break ups and divorce.
Throw it back to when I was a kid growing up in a family where marriage was never a thing. I was raised but my grandma, whose had a few kids from 2 different dads but was never married.
Then there is my mum, who did get married but divorced her husband to be with my dad, who was married at the time to another woman….and never actually divorced her, but that’s another story. I know right…but try and keep up.
Like I said, marriage was never a thing I had even considered. It just decided that the institution was flawed and a basically a scam to be avoided at all costs. It is expensive, useless and just a headache. Harsh huh? But I mean, read the previous paragraph and you will see where I am coming from.
My mum and nan were 2 very strong independent women, and the few men figures I had at the time were basically irrelevant to building my character. I just didn’t thing they were even necessary.
Very feminist of me from a very young age to think like that right? But I was also very resentful of how non existing my relationship with my dad was. And that for sure became a very blurred draft of how I perceived my own relationships with men in general.
I did believe in love though, that one person that will make you sigh at the thought of them just standing there, those emo songs that made you cry like you were in some 80’s music videos and had your heart completely broken.
I believed that with my entire soul, and I wanted that so bad. The good and the bad of falling in love. The butterflies and the tears, the disagreements, the kisses, the travelling the world together, all of it. I just wasn’t very keen on the whole marriage thing.
After a few failed relationships and one failed engagement, I moved to Dubai and had the best time of my life. I had a few crazy 8 months where I was literally wild. I had no interest in being in a relationship and was loving the lifestyle and the freedom I was experiencing for the very first time.
But then BAM! I was in a relationship and things progressed pretty fast. No need for details, but we got married and had a daughter. I know right, me…married. I was shocked too! But at the same time, it felt right and I wanted to see where that would take me.
I never realised how my own experiences growing up with regards to how I was exposed to relationships in my family would affect my own relationships. It is not just something you would think about. But let me tell you something. It makes a whole difference.
Here I am married with a child. Now you add the heaviness that comes with getting married. I remember my friends asking: “So, how does it feel? Is it different? Is it scary? Do you feel different?” and I remember thinking to myself, no…it feels the same. What do you mean?
Boy was I wrong. Within a few days I had a new name and a new title. I was someone’s Mrs.. People could finally spell my surname without me having to repeat it 37 times. Name and surname. Nice, easy and simple. Not the long extended Brazilian Royalty version. Name and surname. I was lowkey proud. Felt so mature and grown up. I was actually loving that.
Now back to the somehow non ideal relationships I was exposed to growing up. Those ones that made me solely believe that marriage was a scam and totally unnecessary.
Here I am married and now I feel this huge responsibility of not repeating the cycle. I feel like, on top of working on this relationship for my own sake, I have to just make it work, regardless, so I don’t have that marriage failure shadow following me forever. I just could not let it happen. And that was a very bad mistake.
I don’t believe I was consciously holding on to an already struggling marriage because of those experiences. But now that I am virtually on the other side I know that those thoughts would randomly cross my mind. My desperate need to make it work. To find solutions for all the emotional disconnection. I just had to. It became a mission.
I don’t believe that that was all bad to be honest. I think that we do have to fight for what we believe. Marriage is hard work. It will crack here and there and need some patching. But I think that I pushed to far.
I remember completely destroying my most important boundaries so that I could give it another chance. I neglected my own needs and wants because that little voice of that little girl was in my head telling me to push through and keep going.
At time I felt like my whole family was hovering over my head watching and waiting for me to fail. Crazy right? They don’t want me to fail, obviously they don’t want me to fail. But it was just…expected? Because that’s how it always was.
Fast forward to a few years later and I am finally done. I am at that point trying to rebuild those boundaries I broke to accommodate the possible success of that relationship. I felt like I broke them for nothing. I definitely didn’t break them for my sake, and now I am left to rebuild it on my own.
There is a lot of learning and acceptance that comes from an end. I realised that boundaries are there for a reason. Why would you destroy something that you purposely put there to protect you? It is dumb, don’t do it.
I accept that it did not work, regardless of the fight. And I did fight, a lot. I am tired, exhausted. But there is more fighting to do. But that is another topic. I also need to fight for my daughter’s wellbeing.
Some days you feel defeated and this wave of guilty comes crashing over you. It numbs your, it makes you feel like you are drowning. You need to allow yourself to feel all the feelings. Let it pass through you so you can pick yourself up and get on with the practicalities of the end.
It can be overwhelming to manage all the new information, the stress, the guilt while also shielding your child from that negativity. I know a lot of people go through it and it isn’t too traumatic. But chances are that it will get ugly at some point and if it does, you will need strength.
What I take from this is, be kind to yourself. I know is cliché but it is the absolute truth. Allow yourself to break over and over, then rebuild. I saw this quote and I swear I am going to tattoo it on me one day. It goes: “Burn it all to the F***** ground. Rebuild!” And that hit me.
This quote just hit me like a tone of bricks. You know when I mentioned the patching? I think that there is just so much patching you can do. At some point you just need to let it all collapse and start it all over from scratch.
You can interpret this quote as you wish. Maybe you will rebuild it with the same person, maybe you need to let it collapse and walk away for good. You will know when it happens. I do know now.
I am finally walking away. I am taking my power back and dealing with the consequences of it. Breaking up feels like grief. You will go through all the stages of grief and it is quite interesting. I felt denial, anger, relief, resentment, pain…the pain.
I still have a lot of guilt, especially when I think of my daughter. I keep wondering where did it go so wrong? Is she gonna resent me forever? Does she know what is happening? Is she ready for the changes? Is she going hate me? Is this going to damage our relationship? I scares me to not know these answers. But again, I am going with my gut here. And my gut keep pushing me forward with my decision.
But then I remember I am doing this for sake. I know, judge me. But if I am unhappy she will become unhappy. How many stories of kids that beg for their unhappy parents to divorce and when they do, they feel relieved and happier?
I just have to hope and pray she will be ok. It is just one of those things we do as parents. Sometimes we have to make decisions that may affect the kids, but we just have to hope for the best. And hope we won’t scar them forever and that there is some good that will come out of it.
I would like to think that I am teaching her to stand up for what she believes, even if it hurts other people or herself. Keep your boundaries. Don’t sacrifice your own happiness for other’s sake.
I am a mum but I am not perfect, nor I am trying to be. I make lots of mistakes and I am still learning. There isn’t a magic recipe on how to parent or how to manage your relationships but we are all trying the best we can.
Find your support system. The ones that will have your back during those random waves of anger, sadness and guilt. Those ones that will hold space so you can break in a million pieces again and again. Keep them close to you. It helps and you will need them.
Turn the page. It is time for the next chapter. Stop resisting the change. It is unknow and it can be terrifying, but how exciting it is? Rewrite your own story a many times as you want. There is no rules. It is your life, you make the rules of how to live it. And if it doesn’t suit you anymore, make new rules, break them!
We get one turn each in this life and we have to make the best we possibly can out of it, even if it means starting again over and over and over.