Being the Leaver

You know what I’ve noticed?  There are a lot of self-help quotes for people who have been left.  There are a lot of supportive words for people who didn’t want the divorce, but were forced to do it anyway.  There are a lot of resources and means of coping passed around circles of friends and groups on Facebook, but you know what there isn’t much of?

There isn’t much support for the leaver; kind words of enouragement for the leaver;  help and hugs for the leaver.

I’ve been both  the left and the leaver and I can say, without hesitation, for me, being the leaver was so much harder than being left.  Perhaps it was my specific situation, the fact that we have two beautiful children, the fact that–on the surface– our life was perfect, the fact that we had 4 walls and a roof (albeit, a leaky one) was more than so many like us had.  For all intents and purposes, we had it all.

So, when I am in my bed alone at night, unable to sleep, I try to find words to encourage me.  I am often left in worse shape than I went in.  They usually read:

“Who do you turn to when the only person in the world that can stop you from crying is exactly the one making you cry?”

“I was the one who loved you enough though you gave me a thousand reasons not to.”

“I’m trying to forget you, but I am also waiting for you to come back.”

“If you start to miss me, remember, I didn’t walk away, you let me go.”

Perfect.  Let’s add to the anxiety and constant self-doubt about whether or not I made the right choice by spinkling in an abundance of guilt.  When I see those quotes, I see him.  I see him because I know how deeply my leaving hurt him.  I know when he reads those things, I am the bad guy.

It doesn’t matter how many good reasons you have NOT to be with someone. Not being with your someone, the one you were supposed to live happily ever after with, the one you were supposed to live out your dreams with, still hurts.  Gosh, it hurts.

It’s hard to feel like I wasn’t good enough to change for, like he was incapable of being the man we needed.  Didn’t you love me enough to put the bottle away?  Wasn’t I pretty enough or loved enough to keep you from screaming at me?  Weren’t we enough to spend time with?  Why weren’t we enough?  I struggle with that a lot.

I left because I wasn’t good enough for him.  I never would have been.  I could never make  him happy.  It wasn’t my job to make him happy.  I did’t leave for anyone else.  I wonder what that’s like, to be able to leave someone because you’ve found someone else.  I wonder if that alleviates all the symptoms I have now.  I’d like to think  that my sleepless nights simply mean that I loved him with my whole heart.

I think the leaver often gets painted as the bad guy when that isn’t always the case.  Sometimes it takes a stronger person to leave a situation that’s toxic for all parties involved, especially small children.  So, as many times as I have wanted to text and beg forgiveness and go back, I can’t.  I won’t.  Not because I don’t love him, but because I love my kids more.  Because I have value and worth that he will never see.  He makes that apparent whenever the cycle of abuse continues to play out over text messages.

Maybe that’s what I’ll start–positive and encouraging quotes for the leaver.

Yes.  I left because I wasn’t good enough for him, but I am good enough for my kids and myself.

5 thoughts on “Being the Leaver

  1. Small children and children in general add to the stress of marriage. Some people have a really difficult time adapting to the changes that are required to raise children. It’s too bad there isn’t an assessment of some sort before a couple has children. If you define toxic as abuse, yes there should be a lot of support for those that decide to protect themselves as well as their children from abuse by divorcing. However, there is no provision for the children in family law, so ultimately you’re protecting your ability to be the mother they need, but the divorcee still can abuse the children until caught by law enforcement.


    1. I think every abusive (be it emotional or physical) relationship is toxic, that said, I don’t think every toxic relationship is abusive. I am hopeful that the dissolution of the marriage will result in two happier, healthier adults that are able to co-parent effectively. That’s best case scenario. I am still sad often, but I can’t make anyone change and I have to accept that is not my flaw. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are enough! I am four years out, still watching the ex refuse to get help so that he can even effectively co-parent. Now not only was I not enough, but even my hope that his love for our kids was stronger than his hate for me…is not coming true. You left a toxic situation- your kids will thrive having a strong and happy mother.

    Liked by 1 person

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