I often read articles and blog posts about other women who have gone through a divorce or who were left by their spouse for someone else. I'm always so surprised that amid the outpouring of support from family and friends, someone will always ask, "Why did you give up on your marriage?"
Moving forward after being cheated on is a common challenge faced by many. That question, the one about giving up, is one I have encountered a few times. Although the question arises unnecessarily, I confidently answer with a resounding "No, I did not give up!" While I have never felt obligated to explain my decision to anyone, I find the question intriguing and have taken it upon myself to answer it.
Nothing about my decision to move on with my life and focus my time and energy on myself and my children instead of my failing marriage was casual or quick. I fought like hell to save my marriage! Late-night discussions, couples counseling, and reminiscing about better times with my ex made me feel like I was auditioning to keep my role as his wife. I did and said what I could to convince him that he'd be better off staying with me instead of leaving me to be with her. I was ashamed of myself for acting that way, but I didn't know what else to do.
After fighting for us for so long, I realized I had to start fighting for myself instead – save myself from the emotional pain, anger, and sadness I was feeling. Save the woman and mother torn to pieces trying to fight for something so desperately, something that was quickly becoming out of reach. I decided to stop fighting for our marriage when I realized I was fighting alone; he no longer wanted to save the relationship, and I felt abandoned on the battlefield. My response is clear and unwavering when asked why I gave up on my marriage. I could not salvage the relationship or rescue my partner from their struggles. I could not turn back the clock and make things better between us. Instead, I chose to save myself. I chose to be the best mom and woman I could be by walking away from the battlefield and toward a life I had wanted for so long.
None of this has been about giving up but rather about choosing to live my life fully and surviving the most emotionally wrenching time in my life. It's been about getting up in the morning feeling whole again, it's been about hugging my children and being present with them, and it's been about becoming financially secure. It's also been about making meaningful relationships with others and feeling uplifted by them. It's been about gaining confidence and learning to trust myself. More importantly, it's been about finally making new plans for my future and creating the life I've always wanted for myself and my children.
I look back at that time in my life, and although I know I suffered a great deal, I am now grateful to be where I am and to have decided to be my own knight in shining armor.