I come from a culture where thinking about separation or divorce still implies a disaster, destroying a family unit, and negatively impacting kids. It’s indeed a crumbling of the ideal (labelled by humanity) family unit, but it’s far better than staying in an unhealthy relationship for the sake of kids.
A few years ago, when I realized I was living in a broken marriage, my heart pounded so hard that I almost felt it stopped beating. I tried to run away in the opposite direction from the realisation, which was so stark and clear. I saw my marriage ripping into pieces, and all I wanted to do was bandage it, sticky tape to avoid the leakages. It started haunting me day in day out for months as I was so scared, even to dip my tippy toe to the new waters.
My pattern of saving the world kicked in, and all I desired to do became oblivious to that awareness. I wished to save my unit, which I knew was no longer intact. Living in a broken marriage for me was like strangling myself with a furnished look facade. I broke from inside and thought to continue like this until I could no longer hold that mask. It was disintegrating into splinters, and my worry was the kids and what others would say.
The moment I disclosed that I want to come out of the relationship, it was as if the whole world wanted to fix it. Our well-meaning people, family, friends approached thinking that it could be integrated back to normal. Subtly, all of them started pressuring me to stay together as that’s what they felt was right for me.
But the truth is, no one ever knows what others want or what feels right for them. They only see from their level of perception. I was labelled naive, angry, stupid, manipulated, etc. I caved in for a few months only to realise that it’s me who’s not happy, and I can’t convince others to see from my standpoint.
Our culture has conditioned us to believe:
- No matter what, you need to stay together with your spouse until death does you apart.
- It’s damaging for kids if the parents separate.
- Sacrifice your needs to keep peace in the family.
- After you have kids, you need to live for them, and you no longer should have your own needs.
- Prioritising your needs is selfish.
- Make the marriage work for kids.
And several others that made me question myself until I could replace them with healthy beliefs:
- It would be best if you stayed together as long as the relationship helps you grow together.
- Thinking/Prioritising your needs is not selfish, but it’s self-care that brings love, joy, and happiness – and helps you spread the same.
- Sacrifice is not love; it’s ignoring your needs which creates anguish, resentment, anger, hatred, etc. in the long run.
- Freeing yourself from an unhealthy relationship is a kind and compassionate act towards you and others.
- Staying in an unhealthy relationship to please kids, parents, or others will slowly run you out of steam.
- A relationship between two adults requires mutual efforts, and if one is dragging it to make it work, it’s not a healthy relationship.
This helped me clear my conditioning, belief system that no longer served me, which supported me in stepping in my power and doing what felt right for me. It wasn’t easy at all but worth it.
I wish you all the love.