How Marriage Changes Over The Years and How Our Language Doesn’t Always Help Us Define Then Roles We Inhabit in Our Lives

So, I’ve written several posts about my marriage and its current state.

In yesterday’s post, I was ready to cast off my marriage. My husband knows how I feel about our marriage. He has known for a while, since June 2022, that the marriage itself will not last. We’ve laid our cards on the table regarding how we both feel and what has happened to us and to each other individually over the years to know that the marriage is irrepairable. 

When I say I want the marriage over, it’s not a revelation I’m just coming to.

But something shifted in me yesterday.

I went downstairs after I was done journaling and then writing my blog post. I was writing and synthesizing my experiences for 6 hours yesterday. I thought I had it all worked out. I was going to cast off both my husband and my marriage.

He convinced me otherwise.

We talked, again.

Sometimes it seems like we talk so much and say change is coming and we end up in the same place in about 6-8 weeks: angry at one another and me expressing my frustrations with him and him saying he’ll change and then he changes a little and we are right back to where we are.

Yesterday was different.

I told him that I thought we should do things separately now, and live our lives separately while we continue to live in the same house as we pay down debt and get things in order for when we do divorce and separate our lives.

This wasn’t news to him about the impending divorce of a legal marriage between two people. We know we will move on from one another. 

But something was different. Yesterday he expressed how he was feeling and asked for what he wanted. 

He was fighting for me.

He’s a very emotionally unavailable man. He doesn’t express his emotions hardly ever. He pushes his feelings down and doesn’t deal with them or express them. 

I tried to push him away and cast him out of my life because sometimes it’s just too much and in moments of anger and rage, all I can see is my anger and rage. I don’t often see the friendship we have or the love that we do have for one another. The mutual respect and admiration we have for one another that has evolved over the years.

He does see that more clearly than I can see it sometimes.

There’s an 11 year age gap between us, in case you haven’t read my other posts. That age gap matters here. He has more life experience than me, and his wisdom benefitted us both yesterday when I was ready to throw it all away because all I could see was my anger and rage, and his wisdom won me over. 

He said, “I know the marriage is over. I used to hope it would come back, but I know it’s over and that one day you will leave and probably move out of the country. But that doesn’t mean we have to lose each other as friends. We’ve become one another’s best friend. I like doing activities with you now, and I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want that. I don’t want to live in this house with you and not speak to one another.”

He’s never fought for me like that or spoken quite that emphatically before. 

I think my age, even though I often identify as an old soul, holds me back in our friendship and relationship, and I can’t always see what he sees because I haven’t lived as long as he has lived. I don’t have the gift of that much perspective in life to see what REALLY matters at the end of the day. He can see beyond his anger at me in a way I can’t always see things.

I’m grateful that he brought it to my attention yesterday. He talked me off of the cliff of throwing everything we’ve built over the years and our friendship out of my life. At the end of the day I apologized to him for treating him like crap and for wanting to just chuck him out of my life like that. I apologized for being so mean and thanked him for his perspective. 

Being in recovery and going through it together is an emotional roller coaster at times. Sometimes there are moments of great anger. Other times there are moments where you feel like you’re getting so much better, making so much progress and you’re never going backwards in time to your old ways again. Sometimes there are hiccups and you bounce back to your old life and ways of behaving that used to serve you but you don’t stay there as long as you used to because it doesn’t serve you or control you anymore. 

So, he asked me if we could keep trying. When he stated he didn’t want to lose me, I could see that I mattered to him in a way I hadn’t seen before. He’d never expressed his feelings to me of not wanting to lose me. I didn’t believe I mattered or our friendship mattered that much to him. I didn’t realize how much he enjoyed our time that we do spend together as friends.

We enjoy each other more now and we spend more time together. We’ve settled into being companions and each other’s best friend. We both know the marriage we had isn’t coming back. 

I was watching Brenè Brown’s Atlas of the Heart show on HBOMax. I’ve seen it before, but I wanted to go back and rewatch it. There are multi-language speakers in the audience of her show that talk about how language affects the words of emotion and how the English language lacks words for emotions. Like, when I say my husband and I love each other, it’s a different kind of love than we had when we first met and when we got married 10 years ago in April 2012. The love we have for one another now has evolved to a friendship-type of love, but it goes deeper than that. It’s not romantic love anymore. It goes deeper than friendship-love, yet all we have to describe it is the word love in the English language. There are other languages that have many words in their vocabulary to describe the different kinds of love. But English is pretty limited. One word like love can have so many different meanings. Without the right language, how do we communicate our emotions properly?

I think I get confused in my own marriage about love. The word marriage, or union or partner. That is confusing to me too. Another example is marriage or wife or husband. The language around those words has changed in meaning over the years. The original Minimalists, Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus both have life partners that they refer to as their wives or spouses, yet, they always say they aren’t legally married to their chosen life partners. They always use the words wife or spouse to refer to their partners because it’s easier than saying my fiancé or my girlfriend. 

It changes the way I think about the word wife, husband, partner, friend and marriage. My husband and I were the same way as Josh and Ryan and their partners/spouse/wives. We’ve been legally “married” for 10 years, but we’ve been truly “married”, or together as partners, for 18 years and have never been apart for more than a few months of separation in 2010. We called one another boyfriend and girlfriend, then fiancé, then exes, then friends, then fiancé again, then spouses, but now what? Married but friends? The words we have available to us don’t really help to define what we’ve become to one another. Even when we do divorce, we COULD still live together and have it be like we are still married. So, what would be the point in divorcing?It’s so odd. We are more than surface-level friends, but not lovers. We are best friends, but our love for one another goes deeper than that. I guess you could call us companions. Yet none of those words really describe our situation, our “marriage” or present situation, as to whatever the word “marriage” is defined as these days. There must be another word for two people who deeply admire each other but aren’t romantically involved anymore. What’s the word for that? It makes it hard to define, and sometimes can be really confusing when you’re the one struggling to come up with words to make sense of what your relationship has evolved into now and you don’t have the right words to express it because there isn’t a word to help you label your situation and say, “ok, this is what I have with this person now.”

The words may not matter in every situation, but when you’re looking for answers and trying to express how you feel and what’s coming up for you, words DO matter. The right words matter when you’re communicating how you feel to another person.

So, we told one another how we both felt as best we could. We agreed to keep going on as “best friends”. We are going to keep figuring things out and spending time together. As much as I want to cast the fighting and the old marriage out of my life, I can’t cast out my feelings for my best friend.

If you read my post about Monster and dogs and how they love you unconditionally and how I haven’t found that in people yet, I was wrong. I did find that in a person. I found it with my husband. No matter what, this man accepts me for who I am, purple hair and all. He accepts I’m shy and quiet and he’s never tried to change me at my core. Same is true for me with him. He drives me crazy, but I’ve never tried to change the person he is at his core. I may not love his need to hold onto everything he owns, but I’ve also never given him an ultimatum to get rid of his stuff or just disrespected his wishes and gotten rid of his stuff that I see little value in. I accept him for who he is, stuff and all. 

Sometimes my anger and rage and the age difference we have gets in the way. Yesterday his wisdom saved us. He got me to see past my anger and rage and he showed me I mattered to him and that he didn’t want to see what our relationship has evolved into end. While we don’t have words to describe exactly where our relationship is right now, it is still a relationship even though it’s not the proper definition of the word. 

I laid down my anger and rage yesterday. We went out for a hike. We came back laughing, happy and regulated. Nature always helps us out. Movement helps soothe us, align us and reset and re-sync us. We go from dysregulated and dysfunctional and move back to happy and best friends. 

Recovery has been filled with highs and lows. Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy with rage and other times it leaves me feeling crazy with happiness and high on life.

And so, I’ll let it be. Whatever it is that we have now vs. what we had in the past and how it’s evolved and though I don’t have the right words for it, I’ll just let whatever “it’ is be.

Sarathlete

The Choices We Make, Jacob Marley, The Power of Reflection and Choosing What’s Next

Christmas is coming. With Christmas, comes classic stories like Charles Dickens’ famous story of A Christmas Carol. These stories have powerful lessons. You can compare your life and what’s happening to you or what has happened to you with other stories and see how they measure up. Since stories writers write are drawn from their own human experience, they are generally relatable to our own lives.

It’s like being a world where no one understands you or accepts you. Then you find your tribe. All of the sudden you fit in and you’re surrounded by people who have things in common with you and it magically feels like they get you. They get your story because they’ve lived a similar version of your story in another time and place.

Jacob Marley was Scrooge’s deceased friend and former business partner who walked through life caring about nothing nor no one else but money. Marley’s ghost visits Scrooge on Christmas Eve night, and he is burdened by so many chains and weight of treasure and money. Marley tells Scrooge that he has a chance to change and not end up like him, carrying the things he thought he cared about through the afterlife. Scrooge gets a second chance at life, and it’s a chance Marley didn’t get. Scrooge sees Marley, reflects on his past and present and sees into the future and changes his ways. 

Side cultural note: If you’re in Chicago, check out The Goodman’s A Christmas Carol for a traditional experience. If you’re looking for a more modern version of the same story, I highly recommend checking out Q Brother’s Christmas Carol at Chicago Shakespeare at Navy Pier. Had to say that because I’ve seen both many times and truly enjoyed both experiences!

Back to my story, I’ve been writing for two days now, very heavily in journal after a fight my husband and I had on Friday 11/4/22. Since that time, I’ve been writing and posting a blog post when I’m done journaling. You’ll see that’s why yesterday’s blog post was posted so late. Today’s post is within the normal time of when I post. I even got an extra hour of writing in with today’s daylight savings time.

I’m not so sure that’s a good thing though because when I write in my journal, I spend a lot of time getting out my anger at my husband. This is in part because I have no one else to talk to except my dogs or myself. I don’t have any close friends. My family has abandoned me, and I am over fighting with them to people please them and get them back in my life. I don’t have the desire anymore to get them back if they don’t want to be here. Slowly over the years, I’ve seen a lot of loss of the people who used to be close to me. I’ve also seen a change in me. I stopped wanting to fight for these people who didn’t support or love me and who really only cared about me when it served them best to do so.

I’m down to one last person that I’ve been fighting for and with since the beginning of our time together: 18 years I’ve been fighting for the marriage I’m currently in. 

The fighting no longer serves me. 

My parents told me that my actions have consequences, and sentenced me to a life with him that has been very difficult to get out of and detach from. It’s been 18 years of struggling to fit in with his family who never could accept me for who I am, and me fighting for this marriage and to strive to keep it alive.

Today, I finally got some clarity. 

I don’t want to keep fighting.

When I started this blog, my husband told me my writing was fluffy.

Fluffy. 

Fluff pieces.

His statement about my writing was accurate. It was very fluffy. It was fun and light-hearted and full of hope. 

His statement made me think that fluffy was cute and excessive and no one really wants to read fluffy, hopeful blog posts. Drama and sad stories are what people want to see. No one wants to read feel-good pieces when there’s no dramatic story attached.

So, 10 years after I started sarathlete.com, I can’t say my writing is fluffy anymore. 

I’ve changed. I’ve hardened. I’ve become bitter. I’m tired. I’m haggard from life. I’m angry, bitter and resentful. 

I’m done fighting for a marriage and with a man who refuses to change. 

I love my husband, the person. I always will. He will always be my best friend. But he cannot give me what I want the most: change. He isn’t capable of it. It’s not fair of me to keep expecting him to live up to his word when he’s never been capable of it from the beginning.

So, that’s not so fluffy.

I miss being fluffy. I miss being that hopeful girl knew there was a brighter future ahead if she kept on moving and searching for it.

She’s still there, somewhere. But she hasn’t been showing so brightly to world because life ran her and her plucky good attitude over. She got so exhausted from fighting and people pleasing. In 2015, she ended up in the hospital from trying to please people and in 2022 she wound up in 12 step and recovery and seeking emotional sobriety from the chaos, sickness and insanity of other people who’d been there in one of two or both miserable parts of her life: family of origin and in-laws.

This is the last fight I’m having, and I finally came to the conclusion that if my husband really wanted to change his ways, he’d already have done so. He will never change. He will never be like me. It’s not fair of me to expect him to change, or keep waiting around and trying to hold him to his word. All it does is make me angrier and more resentful of him.

I’ve started to notice over the last few years that my marriage just irritates me. The person I’m married to can’t give me what I want him to give me, and the fights we haver are always the same: me asking what I need and him resisting because it always involves him changing his ways. The truth is that we wouldn’t be having a fight if he was capable of giving me the changes I would like to see in the marriage. 

The marriage is starting to feel like a burden. Kind of like Jacob Marley carrying around those chains of the money he had to in real life and now is burdened in his afterlife.

If I Marley, I wouldn’t want that for my best friend just like Marley didn’t want it for Scrooge. I don’t want to keep feeling hardened on life, bitter, resentful, angry, sad, pissed off, about my life or at my husband. I don’t want to keep fighting with my husband and I don’t want to fight in general because it’s unproductive and becoming such a burden not seeing change.

And so I get to choose. Unlike what my parents said in hate and haste when they booted me out of their lives because I chose to start dating at 23 years of age, they warned me that there are always consequences to my actions. They were 100% right. What they failed to mention is that you can always reverse those changes. At 23, I didn’t have the life experience to know what reflection and perspective really was the way I do at 41 years old. That’s an extra 18 years of life I’ve lived to reflect on.

I wish my parents hadn’t made making decisions feel like a punishment. They implied you are stuck with the choices you make for the rest of your life. What a sad thing to believe: that you are STUCK with the choices you make at 23 for the rest of your life. 

They said that, in part, because that was true for them. They were stuck with one another. They didn’t believe in divorce. They aren’t close. They don’t have hardly anything in common. The way they see the world-they really are stuck with one another based on their beliefs.

I don’t agree with them. I think, for most things, we have a choice and we can make new changes or go in different directions than the original decisions we made at one time. “You can always go another way,” so says the flexible, creative mind, body and spirit.

I don’t have to keep fighting for change. My husband was my last fight from my past life.

When I was in college, I got a break from “fighting”. There was no one to people please except for myself. I found friends in the ballroom dance club and people who were just like me and accepted me for me. I was so happy, and I get to be happy again for more than 4 years of my life.

I have to stop expecting change from someone who can’t give it to me. I have to walk away from that and in a new direction so I can live my life without the weight of chains of past decisions hanging on my body from mistakes I’ve made in the past. I don’t want that for myself. I don’t wish the bitterness and anger on my husband either.

So, I put down the axe to stop chopping at the tree. I let it go. I release the need to fight, and I walk away. It’s so easy. I have a choice. I chose to matter to myself. My life matters to me because I MATTER! And I’ve always had the choice to make-the choice to let go of the bars that keep me stuck. There’s no door barring my way. I can let go of the bars and just walk around them. I have to decide it’s finally time to put the story to rest and intentionally walk away. There’s no malice or hate behind my decision. I just can’t keep fighting anymore.

I want to return to fluffy. I’ll never be completely fluffy because I’ve lived a LOT more than I had 10 years ago when I first started sarathlete.com. But I’m grateful for the woman who I’ve become. The experiences I’ve had have shaped the woman who I’ve become – the woman who knows she has a choice to stay and keep fighting or just simply (not easily) walk away and stop the fighting because it doesn’t serve anyone. Fighting just creates more pain. Why keep fighting if it makes your life miserable?

You have a choice just like I have a choice. I choose peace. I choose myself over the pain. I choose a better life for myself. I choose to lay down my sword and walk away from this fight because it’s really over this time. No more expectations from this man or this marriage. I know it’s over because it has no power over me anymore. Whatever addiction I had to fighting I had with this man in this marriage is just gone. I can see clearly now that I have to change because he cannot. And that’s ok too. It has to be ok because that’s what happened with my life.

But I get to choose to change and move forward and leave the fighting and anger behind and I get a second chance, just like Scrooge got from Marley’s warning.

Sarathlete

How To Know When It’s Time To Stop Fighting and When You’re NOT Addicted Anymore, And A Little Bit About Unconditional Love

This is such a simple answer. Not an easy answer by any means. But simple.

I recognized today that I didn’t want to fight anymore. 

For what, exactly? 

My marriage.

It’s over. It’s no longer worth the pain, chaos, sickness, stress and insanity it causes me in my life. 

A similar question gets asked of either addicts or people who work in addiction treatment and recovery. How do you know when you’re not addicted anymore?

The answer is simple: when the substance has no control over you anymore. That substance could be drugs or alcohol, or sugar or foods or the “substance” could be replacement behaviors like exercising too much, emotional eating, anorexia and other eating disorders. You know as the addict when the “substance” no longer has control of or over you. Because you just don’t need or want it anymore.

Same thing with fighting with someone and knowing when the fight is over. You don’t want to fight anymore.

My husband and I had another fight last night. This one was over money.

I dread fights with my husband. I resent how much I have had to change and how he has been able to stay the same. However, now I’m starting to see that I have changed and that he is staying the same. I also know he doesn’t have to change. It’s his choice to stay the way he is. 

What I want and who I am has changed. What I know to be true about the world, like wrote in yesterday’s post is true: I matter. I have a choice. I can choose to stop fighting. I don’t want to keep fighting anymore. I’m done. 

I describe my life as a tale of two suitcases. There’s the life with my family of origin that includes my mother, father and my paternal grandmother. There is four years of college where I was so happy. Then there’s another 18 years of more misery. Two suitcases that represent time: 36 years of time where I was unhappy with a brief blip of four years, a vacation or break if you will where I was extremely happy. Now I know I get more than four years of happiness, but back then, I didn’t know that. 

For a long time I thought life was happening to me, that I didn’t matter and that I had no choice in the matter. I was taught early on that I was stuck with the decisions I made in life. Now, I know that’s not true. I can reverse any decision. I’ve worked so hard to reverse many bad decisions I’ve made in my life. I know I can reverse this one too. It won’t be easy, but the decision is a simple one to make. It’s yes or no. It’s stay married and miserable or divorce, get space and there’s happiness on the other side of that.

Today I spent 8.5 hours writing in my journal. That’s 29 pages of writing for me. I finally realized that I was done fighting. I don’t want to fight anymore. I had the same thing happen to me with my relationship with my parents, food, emotional eating, eating at night, my relationship with my in-laws and on and on: I just didn’t want to keep going that direction and those people or things no longer had any control or power over me anymore. I was done. 

Yesterday was a really tough day. I had to take my oldest dog, Monster, to the vet. She has the beginnings of cataracts. Her patellas are loose. She has stage 1 of a heart murmur. Basically, it’s the beginning of the end. I love this dog so much. She is twelve years old and has been with me through so much tragedy and loss. It was hard to hear her diagnosis. When I got home I was irritated from the vet visit, and I just started crying. I started to realize that I loved this dog so much, my Monster. 

This year we had to re-home one of our dogs because she risked the safety of our family pack. It was really hard to take her back to the shelter we’d adopted her from as a puppy. It had to be done. There was no pretty option.

My mother let me go and rejected me back in 2004, then again in 2011, then again for the final time 2020. She even came to eventually accept my marriage and then she rejected both of us. 

I found out my grandmother had to be moved into an assisted living facility in August of 2021 and I found out from her friend in April of 2022. I went to visit her. My grandmother lost her memory, and she had no idea who I was and didn’t remember me. She didn’t know me.

I’ve cried and been sad over re-homing my dog, losing my mother and my grandmother. However, none of these events was singularly as hard as learning the state of my oldest dog and that she would be sick and is aging and will leave us eventually. Not Monster. It was one of the hardest things for me to accept. 

Today, I started to realize why I lost my cookies over Monster, but no other dog or family member or this marriage has had the same impact on me and my emotions.

I love Monster and my other two dogs as well. They love me back. They love me unconditionally. They accept me for who I am, flaws, purple hair, introversion, all of it. I don’t have to explain myself to any of my dogs. They love me and trust me. There’s no fighting among them with one another or with myself or my husband (that’s why we had to give the one dog back to the shelter-detrimental fighting that put us and the rest of our pack, a/k/a family, at risk). 

I cried so hard about Monster last night because I realized how much I loved her and how much she accepted me and loved me back for just me being me.

People are complicated. That’s what my husband said as I was crying and petting Monster. I told him I couldn’t understand why I didn’t struggle when we had to give Bonnie back to the shelter, when my grandmother was mentally gone and when I finally accepted that my mother had abandoned us for the final time and I was just done with her chaos. I was sad about those things, but I didn’t have the same reaction to those events as I did with my 12 year old dog. 

Monster is happy and still with me. I’m so grateful for that. I’m grateful for her and the love that I do get from my pets. Most times I struggle with fitting in with people and get picked at and rejected, and it’s hard to take. My dogs, though? They love me unconditionally, and I need that in my life. I’m tired of fighting for all of it. The fight is over. I don’t have to fight this hard for the love of my animals. Why should I keep trying with a person who legally vowed to love me and causes me so much misery and pain?

I believe there are people out there like me and for me to meet who will love me unconditionally and accept me for me. I met some of them in college. That’s how I know there are others out there. Humans, at that. Not just dogs. Thank goodness for the gentle giants and peaceful, unconditional love that comes from my dogs when sometimes I feel like I have no one else who loves me or understands me or does accept me for me.

Sarathlete

Losing My Patience With The People Around Me While I’m In Recovery and They’re Not and Dealing With Change

Sometimes recovery can feel overwhelming. There are so many changes to make in the life of someone in recovery, myself included. There’s a physical shift, a mental shift, relationship shift, mindset shift, behavior changes. So. Many. Changes. While change is amazing, sometimes it can be overwhelming. With all of these changes in my life, sometimes I feel resentful as to why I have to change and the people around me left over in my old life don’t have to change. My husband. My parents. My grandmother. My in-laws. Why did they all get to stay the same, and I had to be the one to change?

Maybe this is one of my faults since I identify as having a striver mentality. I always like to dig deep and know why things are the way they are. This is both a strength and a weakness, this striver mentality.

One of the things you’ll begin to see in recovery is that you have to change, but the people around you don’t have to change. If they aren’t sick to begin with or don’t identify as being sick, then maybe they don’t need to change. But what if them not changing holds you back? Should they have to change? Should you always be the one changing? These are really tough questions to answer. I put them out there for you to ponder on and for more of a discussion rather than me seeking a direct answer and that is because the answer will be different for everyone.

Recovery is a personal journey. It doesn’t look the same way for any one person. Everyone’s recovery is unique no matter how many commonalities there may be in two different peoples’ stories. 

These questions and frustrations come up for me constantly and so does the resentment that comes up for me as a I ponder these questions. Last year I had a back injury. Yesterday, I chopped back two years worth of growth on our landscaping on the front and one of the sides of our house. It didn’t get done last year because I couldn’t have held the weight of the pruners and shears without intense pain running down my lower back and right side of my leg. Yesterday, I was fine. Sure, I was stiff afterwards, but overall I have been ok today. I’m tired and feeling a little run down, but I also did 5 hours of yard work between cutting down landscaping to raking leaves to the curb. These are things I didn’t get done last year, and, as a result, they didn’t get done. I’ve had to overcome many challenges to build myself back up to the woman I am right now. It’s been a lot of physical challenges, mental challenges, lots of tears, anger, pain, you name it. You’d think my spouse would’ve been there for me last year and taken care of it, right? Nope. I live in this world of if I don’t do it, nothing gets done. I have to change, but he gets to stay the same. This creates a lot of resentment. Yesterday, the resentment of having to cut down two years of overgrowth was too much, and today I cracked and got angry with my husband. 

This frustration of mine runs deep. We’ve always had this argument. In a way, I wish he would make changes, but I also know I can’t make him change. So, now, being the one who has changed, I can see that waiting for him to change is fruitless. My anger at him is fruitless. What’s the point in even getting mad at a person who will likely never change? That’s where me changing and him not doing any work makes a difference for the person in recovery. I see things differently now, from a new lens. I also see him for who he is and not for who I wish he was. Yet, I’m human and I still get mad. I will say that with recovery tools and skills, I don’t get as mad as I used to and I don’t let the anger fester. If I’m mad at him, I usually tell him within 24 hours. These are huge changes for a woman who would let things fester for months and not say anything. 

So, I told my husband, “I’m mad at you for letting this go last year and not bothering to take care of it. Why didn’t you take care of it?” He tells me I’m asking a rhetorical question that he can’t answer. He’s right. It is a passive aggressive question. Another question in our household is, “What did you gain from fighting me for so long on XYZ thing?” It’s not a direct question that has a direct answer. It’s a very passive aggressive question. I’m not really looking for an answer unless it starts with, “I was wrong. I’m sorry.” I’m looking for an apology, but at the same time, he’s hurt me so much and so many times that an apology won’t work anymore. I want more. I want him to change. And if he doesn’t, then what? Because he’s not likely going to change. 

The answer is that I’ll have to change yet again. This involves leaving him behind, and choosing not to keep struggling with him by my side. That’s likely the only solution. It’s not a step I’m ready to make yet, but it is a necessary one for both of us. Like I said, the changes I’ve had to make in my life while I’ve been in recovery have been life altering and great. Whenever I think I’m done changing, or that I get to finally stop changing, I find out that I have to make another change because if I don’t, everything will stay the same. 

The people around you likely aren’t going to change. You’ll be the one who has to create the change you want to see in the world. Remember, like I need to remember, you are responsible for your own true happiness. Nothing external and no person can make you truly happy. Sometimes the answer is the one we don’t want to hear, no matter how much someone has hurt us or how much pain we’ve been through. Sometimes the only way out is through. For me, getting to the end of my marriage and being on my own will be the solution to happiness: me own my own not waiting for another person to change.