Tag Archives: disappointment

Mary’s Story IV: Life and Love Have No Guarantees

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Mary’s identification with the role of a victim is only delaying real healing, causing her unnecessary suffering and possibly validating her bad choices, which will only complicate her life in the long run. Just because he, perhaps painfully, realized one day that your body does not excite him anymore or his desire is gone – does not change who you are, does not make you less attractive or make someone at fault. Inversely, the way he has come to feel now does not make him a monster. Even if Mary is right in thinking that she is well deserving of his affection, he can have another opinion and is entitled to his choice, no matter how much this pains her. After all, he can’t be required to sacrifice his life to be marooned in bed with a woman who does not make him happy for whatever quirky reason that might be.

The story, the mistakes, the promises, the “he said, she said” – none of this is important. We will need to let go of our own sob story, eventually, to get rid of it, to just drop it like an unnecessary burden.

“What will I say instead? How will I explain myself to people?” she might say. Well, when she is ready, this will become self evident. She most likely will not even talk about it from the get go; she will have other priorities. But if it comes about she will simply say with ease, “I am divorced.” No need to validate it. No narrative necessary. If the person persists and says “Oh no. What happened?” She may shrug her shoulders smile and say “Life happened” :)! This is real freedom and real victory because you are not ashamed anymore; you are not attached to the negative tag of the “divorcee” taboo. You are allowing yourself to be who you are – there is a real power in that!

Often times, it is really true that there are no guarantees in life, love, and marriage. Instead of “till death do we part” the marital vows should really say “until we are no longer happy and can’t put up with it.” This would be a far more realistic slogan. Why would a woman or a man sacrifice years of their life to raise children and support each other without such a guarantee? The only possible answer is because it meets our current goals at the time,  and we decide that we want to have a family and children with this person, hoping for the most positive outcome: A great and loving partnership for life. But no one can be 100% certain, and no one is entitled to it. What do you think ? If marriage came with this type of warning, would people would do things much differently? Not really, because from how they feel at the time of marriage, they would not be able to foresee any trouble – only their future life together will tell.

Maybe, if no “Happily Ever After” guarantee were so rosily promised in marriage vows, people would be more careful when making huge sacrifices. How often does a  woman sacrifice her career in order to build a family? If she knew that she would be left alone twenty years down the road, would she be so eager to make these sacrifices? 

Making such sacrifices almost never pays off in the long run. The other party is never quite happy enough to justify the sacrifice you have made in the first place.  The cost of giving up the opportunity of a lifetime, or of letting yourself get hopelessly out-of-shape, or losing your self-image entirely in favor of becoming only Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So, is rarely ever worth it.

If someone’s “Happily Ever After” is not guaranteed, and they do not begin their married life expecting absolutely security, perhaps they would have hedged their bets in the first place. Perhaps lived more fully in the moment, and not for some far-off reward. After all, should married couples see themselves as all that different from live-in girlfriends and boyfriends, who are only together to relish in each other and supposedly stay together solely out of pure love and free will? Certainly things get a lot more complicated in marriage, but the main reason for staying together should be the same in both cases. If we recognized the core principle of any relationship as giving and receiving love fully today without any guarantees, and commit to treasuring and treating each other better on daily basis – not taking each other for granted, as a lifelong sold-into-slavery piece of property – this approach would improve our odds in marriage!

How It All Got Started

I was a career mom, very family oriented and dedicated. Very selfless really, as far as the proportion of time I dedicated to myself, as opposed to dedicating to pleasing everyone in my family, from the smallest details to the largest challenges, in order to make their life easier, fun and amazing every day. I saw myself as a champion mom and a creative and resourceful you-can-have-it-all woman, building my happily-ever-after scenario. As far as my career was concerned, I was at the top of my game after a decade as a branding and packaging designer, a fine artist and a business entrepreneur. As far as family life was concerned, I was raising two active boys, while looking forward to having a third one and working on plans to build a big and beautiful house.

Sounds perfect… but it has all come to a screeching halt. What has gone wrong? My marriage has fallen apart. But why? How? What have I done wrong? Why was I not warned? Or was I warned and missed the memo? How could this have happened to me? Is he the worst man on earth for doing this to me? What to do next? These are the types of questions I have spent the last three years pondering from various angles with diminishing anguish. Changing my perspective brought me towards enlightenment.

The realization of our marriage being on the brink of a full catastrophe was evident after some dramatic events which escalated over a few months, with roots and signs going back years– possibly even all the way back to the day we got married, 16 years ago. It probably happens in other families and it might have similar cocktails of the negative factors such as: loss of love, disappointment in self and the spouse,  hate, shame, infidelity, middle-age crisis, jealousy, depression, feeling trapped, lonely, and a variety of other factors such as financial, health, and other life circumstances. The condition seems to be like a land mine in which one spouse has been getting ready to explode and the other one, possibly quite unaware of this taking place or seeing it from a different perspective, is slowly but surely about to step on it. Once it explodes, their world will shatter and one will be the instigator and the other will, inevitably, feel like the victim of the blast.

When I finally stepped on this land mine, I got blasted with an explosion of abusive language, demeaning me and likening me to an evil piece of trash, who, according to my husband, ruined his life. His campaign could be summed up by a slogan – I am not happy, it must be all your fault! I HATE YOU – YOU ARE A FUCKING BITCH!

Was I in shock?..  YES.. Devastated? Of course.. Lost? Very much so. It took me a while and a lot of therapy to separate my self and my self-image and self esteem from my marriage and status. This journey of rebuilding myself after 18 yeas as a separate being – reorienting my dreams, needs and wants away from my husband and our previous life patterns – felt like a rebirth. I really had to ask myself: Who am I? What do I need and want? What makes me happy? I, a woman of some ripe age, had no idea. Sad, but true. I had to start somewhere. And I decided that starting by pushing off the lowest point to climb back up was the only way to go. I was faced by the statement that I HATE YOU – YOU ARE A FUCKING BITCH was the reward I got for 16 years of dedication, love and endless energy I poured into my husband. I helped his career and life gave him children, never complained, was always positive, evened out his explosive temper, and yes took his abuse. I did it for the sake of the family, or at least my idea of one.

With all the uncertainty around me and so much confusion and hurt, fear and anger – one thing was certain: I am NOT a FUCKING BITCH! The question remained whether I should become one! After all, my other life strategy led me to a dead end. I tried to examine the meaning my husband put in to this statement and what I would associate with it, trying to understand myself and who I am.

At first came this image of an uncompromising, glorified selfish bitch with gluttonous self indulgence, no human values, and no human worth. Well, this certainly was not me. In my mind, I was quite the opposite. I was selfless. Now the real question was why? Why was I so selfless and why did I not get the recognition or the gratitude I was expecting? It took time to get to some answers and I tried various strategies, from family counseling to creative outlets, some more impulsive than others. I was taking chances.. I was making bold changes… I was going to get to the bottom of my own motivations and nature. I was going to finally look myself fearlessly in the face and deal with who I really am, not who I thought I was supposed to be for the sake of others.

I tried on the FUCKING BITCH role, then the fabulous bitch role, went through several stages and came out on the path of enlightenment as a “fabulous being” — As an someone I truly felt I was on the inside, after stripping off all the layers of pain, past hurt, unrealistic goals, fake confidence. On this road, I do not see myself as an example, but maybe as  a guide who has made it out of the dark situation and wants to share the experience with other women in similar situations and give them support and hope, if I can.  This has motivated me to start the Fiona Fab Club and friends! This is the place for the women (and men too!) to support each other in being themselves, coming out strong and in control, being labeled BITCHES if the world is not ready to deal with us and being OK with it! This is the club and the channel for us, speaking candidly to each other, accepting ourselves as we are and facing our challenges together.