“Divorce is not a tragedy. A few months ago, I would have felt horrible saying that out loud. Filled with guilt and tears, feeling like I couldn’t hold my family together. Today, though, I know it is the best thing I have ever done for my family.
I was with my husband for 13 years. I’m 30, which means our relationship began when I was only 17. At the time, we were madly in love. However, there were so many drastic changes from when I was 17. By the time we hit 30, neither of us was the same person. Things took a drastic turn when we began having kids. We had two boys back to back, and I suffered from severe postpartum depression with each of them. Honestly, I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I felt lost, confused, and just very, very sad. When my postpartum depression was finally gone, three years later at age 27, I became a whole new person. I never wanted to feel like that again and knew I needed to make changes in my life.
I started taking care of my health, changing my eating habits, working out more, etc. That completely changed the dynamic in my house because we could no longer recognize each other or even agree on anything. We were just no longer a match and couldn’t get along.
However, like most people do, we kept holding it together for our kids and because, well, we were married and made that commitment.
One day, though, we just sat down and had a talk about how unhappy we both were. We decided that staying together wasn’t any good for us nor our children. We decided to split ways and our divorce was official just two months later.
When my ex-husband moved out, I was sad at first, but then felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. I’m sure he felt the same. The energy in our home had become so toxic I would get anxiety just from walking in the front door. As you can imagine, that meant I was always on edge and very snappy with him and with my children.
Once we divorced and no longer had that terrible looming energy, we both became more patient with our kids. The snappiness was gone because we weren’t as stressed.
Our divorce also came with a 50/50 parenting time split. I’m not going to lie, this was terrifying at first. I cried over it many nights and almost backed out of the divorce because of it. However, now that I do not get to spend as much time with my kids, I appreciate every single moment I have with them. I miss them so much throughout the week. When they are around all I want to do is play with them and hug them. I’m also able to take care of the chores while they are with their dad, so when they are home my entire focus is on them. Also, I no longer rush bedtime so I can have some me-time because now I get me time throughout the week.
Although divorce was terrifying at first, and it took many years to finally come to the decision, it ended up being the best thing I did for my family.
In a marriage that works, these things aren’t issues. Unfortunately, my marriage just wasn’t working and the issues that came with it were worse than splitting up.
Now that we are not together, our kids are even in a better mood because they no longer have to feel constant tension in their own home.
All of this is to say that if you have been considering leaving an unhappy marriage but are too afraid of damaging your family, sit back and really think about it. Think about the positives that can come from you regaining your happiness and what that can do for your children. Kids don’t need parents who are perfect, they need parents who are happy.
Divorce is not a tragedy. A tragedy is staying in an unhappy marriage and teaching your kids the wrong things about love.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jessica Castaneda of Chicago, IL. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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