“Where do you see yourself in five years?” This is a question we often ask ourselves, as we set goals for ourselves or are about to embark on a new path in life. This was not the question I asked myself five years ago, when I walked out on my marriage with my five month old son. What a challenging time in my life that was, and the road since has not necessarily been an easy one, but it has brought me to a great place.
The day that ended up being my last day with my husband was not planned that way. There was another explosive fight in the morning that changed the course of my day and my life. My friend called, and I ended up for the first time, sharing with her some of what had been going on within my marriage. I had not shared what my marriage really was, and to most of the world around me, they would have thought I was a new wife, a new mom, who always had a smile on her face. It was a facade, a brave face. My friend suggested I pack a bag to stay the night to get my head together. I took her up on this offer and as I was packing, it turns out I was packing for more than a night; I filled a huge suitcase with as much as I could get in it. I called a taxi and with my little man strapped in my baby carrier we set off.
The days that followed where challenging. I left with an empty bank account, huge unsecured debt and I was on maternity leave. I constantly wondered if I was doing the right thing. Two weeks after I left I moved in to a small one bedroom plus den in a nice neighbourhood. With support from family and friends, piece by piece I started furnishing our new home and building my new life.
I saw a counsellor who helped me through the year that followed. It was she who made me realize that my relationship was not only tumultuous and unhealthy but abusive. I was on a path of healing and growth. Time, self discovery and support from friends and family were helpful catalysts on my journey. I read countless books on divorce, parenting after divorce and spirituality.
For 3 years I was in a legal battle that added further stress, both financially and emotionally. I would have liked to have done this amicably without lawyers and judges but given the level of animosity there was between us, it was not a realistic option. I did not have the financially means to continue to pay the retainers, so given I had secure employment, my lawyer allowed me set up a payment plan. Several months ago, I paid off my legal debt.
Another aspect that is hard, is leaving the traditional idea of family behind. I hoped that one day I would meet another man and have a second chance at love. Although my son brings me so much happiness, and I feel that the joy he brings me grows exponentially, I wanted to meet someone to share my life with. As a single person, you often hear that you will meet someone when you are not looking or when you least expect it. Having spent the better part of my adult years in either wrong relationships, dating, or single it can be quite discouraging and hard to accept that when the time is right, the right person will come along. Then suddenly it does happen, when you least expect it, the unexpected happens. For me, it was a spur of the moment trip to the park that my son suggested, and it was there I met my current love. I feel so fortunate that this man has come in to my life that I sometimes catch myself wondering if it is for real.
In five years my life has changed so significantly it is hard to believe what my life was back then. Had I stayed in my marriage, my son’s spirit and my own would have been squashed and our lives would be very different than they are today. I just have to see how happy my son is every day to know that leaving my marriage was the best decision, not just for him but for me. I am the happiest I have ever been, and life just keeps getting better and better. The journey was long and hard but it is in these challenging journeys that we build strength of character. I am the same woman but stronger, softer, wiser and most of all happier.