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When I left my husband of almost 20 years, it was the scariest thing I had ever done. Moving from a full household of people and pets to my own place by myself at first felt awful. It didn’t help that I moved out in January and the heat didn’t work in my new place for the first week. I laid alone every night on my mattress on the floor (hadn’t bought a bed yet) in my cold, cold apartment and wondered if I had made a terrible mistake. Because change is scary.
I didn’t make a mistake. I had known in my gut for many years that he wasn’t the right person for me — I just didn’t believe I could do better. But it was the BEST decision I ever made. I spend a good chunk of time focused on me. I decorated the way I liked. I ate the foods I loved that he hated. I poured energy into my friendships and built a wonderful, supportive social network. I took on some extra work and paid off all my debt. I spent a lot of time reconnecting with what makes me happy, because I had completely suppressed my own instincts and desires for someone else. Do I feel like getting up early or sleeping in? Do I want to have people over or enjoy some alone-time? I had to literally ask myself these things and check in with myself, until I got to a place where I felt like I knew ME again.
Give yourself the gift of you. If you describe the majority of your relationship as “rocky” you are not in a good relationship. And you are setting a terrible example for your daughter, teaching her that it’s better to be miserable than single. Let me put it a different way — do you want her growing up and settling for the kind of relationship you’re in right now? If not, then you need to show her that it is acceptable and doable to leave.
Leaving feels scary because you think you’ll be alone forever. But on the flip side, if you don’t leave you’ll never be free to meet someone you really ARE happy with. Several years after leaving my ex I met my now-fiance. I never have bad gut feelings about him. I never describe our relationship as rocky. I never doubt that we should be together and I trust him completely. I am thrilled to be marrying him and I never would have had that if I didn’t take the risk of moving into that cold lonely apartment years ago.