I think of all of the things I learned after my divorce, leaving the past in the past was one of the few that really had the most impact on my life and my future.
I could have spent days, months, even years reliving all of the bad things that happened or rehashing things in my mind that I could have done differently. Maybe if I had been more understanding or maybe more forgiving, I could have saved my marriage. But I didn't. I couldn't. I knew at the end of the day, even if I had done all of those things, my marriage still would have come to an end.
The days and weeks leading up to the end of my marriage were mostly uneventful. My life with my ex had become mundane and we barely spoke, when we did we almost always fought. I tried so hard those last few months to try and save what little we had left. I finally had to give up. I had fought the good fight but I couldn't think of any reason to keep fighting anymore. The kids weren't reason enough and if he wasn't going to fight to save us, why should I.
For a few months after we separated, I did go over all of the things in my head. Had I really listened? Was it really the best thing for me and kids? How are my kids going to deal with this? How was I supposed to do this on my own? After those first few months, which were mostly dealing with separating our lives, I realized that this was what was best for all of us. My kids were going to be happier in the long run because they weren't constantly living in a battlefield. I would be a better mother and eventually, hopefully I would be a better wife too.
Once I realized that the past had to be left in the past a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I suddenly could breathe again. Although I did worry about what the future held for each of us, I was excited to live my life again. I knew that co-parenting 3 kids would be difficult, but I was strong enough for all of us to make it through.
Had I not let go of the past and moved on, I would be in the exact same place as my now ex-husband is. Every so often during conversations about the kids he will bring it up. When we have an argument he will definitely bring it up. I never rehash anything unless he has a go at me and brings up parts of our marriage (especially when they aren't true, but unfortunately he still believes it) that I feel I need to defend myself to. He is not truly happy yet, but he will be when he learns to let it go. It really and truly is freeing.
My life is here and now and I have let go of most of my past. I have baggage to carry but it is no longer bringing me down. I no longer feel anything but empathy towards my ex. I can't be angry with him anymore, it just drains me of life and I refuse to give him that anymore. He took all he can from me and I am stronger for it, even thankful.
A few months after my separation, I met my now husband and although our relationship evolved very quickly, it has been everything my first marriage wasn't. He was divorced as well and I think that really did make a difference as we both knew what we didn't want and also what we absolutely had to have to make this marriage work. If I was still living in the past, I wouldn't have met one of the best parts of my future and that was worth leaving it all behind for.
Have you left the past in the past? What was the turning point for you?