Recently, CN member Tall One reached out and asked me if I could run more “Gain a Life” stories. We’re heavy on the triage for newbies, but there are also folks further out rocking new lives. Let’s recognize them on Tuesdays (aka the Day the Pain Stops… I don’t know what Tuesday it is, but your Tuesday is out there.)
He offered to go first. If you’d like to be featured, shoot me an email.
Without further ado, some words of Gain a Life encouragement from Tall One.
Hello, I’m Tall One and I’m a Chump.
I never wanted to be a chump (who does), but I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m actually quite proud of this identity. I thought I’d share why I’m proud in case you are newly chumped, walking through the hell of divorce or on the fence about leaving your partner due to their affair.
We’re here for the same reason, so I’ll spare you the gore from my traumatic walk through hell. In short, through the course of my 24-year relationship, there were several D-days, large and small. Each time I pulled us back together, I felt victorious, but looking back it was merely trauma bonding and serious co-dependence.
The final affair shook me to my core and while my XW did ask for the divorce, the affair finally flung me far enough out of her orbit I became ready to separate.
I surrounded myself with a core team and they worked to shore me up through the divorce process. Little-by-little I moved on, I bought a house. I worked on really connecting with my kids who sometimes got the short stick since I was distracted by the disconnect within my marriage.
I began to date. It took a while to get the hang of dating, some of it painful, but I learned about me. I learned it’s ok to break people’s hearts when it doesn’t feel right to me. I realized that it isn’t my responsibility to save people’s happiness. I realized that most dating relationships are supposed to fail.
I kept going to therapy. I kept working on my heart. I made rules, boundaries and lines of demarcation. I’ve learned to express my expectations.
One Sunday a few years ago, I felt the strike of lightning when this woman stepped from her car and I knew instantly we belonged together. I have never felt so loved and understood. We are to be married this fall.
Getting here hurt. It was painful. There were real losses; tangible and emotional. I lost life-long friends and retirement savings, I lost what I once thought my life would become.
The thing is, all this pain, loss and grief changed me for the better. I really like who I have become. I am a healthier person. I’ve always been a happy person, but I walk around with a deeper joy.
No one likes painful change, but the gift of grief and pain can be the metamorphosis to a better spirit. For decades I was reluctant and refused to change in the manner my heart needed. My XW’s choices became a gift.
I wouldn’t be here if I tried to save that marriage. I wouldn’t be here if I fought the pain. I had to accept the process. I wouldn’t be so centered, so glowing if I didn’t learn about my pitfalls and my strengths. The same love that got me into that mess, got me out and got me here.
Come join me in Meh. — Tall One