Finally, I know what I want to be when I grow up. It’s crazy because I’m fifty something. What’s crazier is that I would not be in this place had I not gotten divorced.
What I never had when I was younger was a husband who supported my dreams. I didn’t have the opportunity to advance in a career because I was one of those wives who was always the martyr. I always sacrificed so he could shine.
Making sacrifices in a relationship is normal. It’s necessary. I was willing do make them. But in a one-sided relationship there is often regret and resentment.
A good relationship has give and take. A perfect relationship would allow both partners to grow in their careers and not be transferred away from each other. But there are so many variables in relationships. I don’t how any marriages survive. I applaud those that do. I sympathize with those that don’t.
I have friends that are military. They both had promising careers as officers. But the wife gave up her career to raise a family. She didn’t want to get orders to go overseas and have to leave her children and she didn’t want to get stationed at a different base than her husband. She’s happy for the most part but she’s struggled with feelings of regret. Now she has “a job”. She loves her family and as long as they stay committed to each other she will probably be happy. But there’s always a chance that they won’t stay together. He’ll still have his career. She will have to pick up the pieces and start all over.
Another couple that I am friends with have careers in the medical field. He’s a dreamy doctor and she’s a surgical nurse. But she stopped working to raise a family. That’s a hard thing to do when he’s at the hospital saving lives everyday and all those young nurses are drooling all over him. I hope they continue to have a happy marriage but odds are stacked against them. Maybe she will resent giving up her career. Maybe he’ll stray. Maybe they will break up. If they do he will still have his career and she’ll have to start her career again from scratch.
Don’t think that this is a man bashing observation. It’s not always about the wife making the sacrifices.
One of my friends has a daughter who is expecting a baby. She has a very promising career as a defense attorney. Her husband also has a law degree but because she makes more money he is choosing to be a stay at home dad. I think this is fantastic for the baby. But I also think there is a very strong chance that he will regret this decision and may have a hard time returning to his professional career once the child is grown. Regrets usually lead to resents. Giving up a career is a risky move.
I used to think that sacrificing for love and for family made the sacrifice worth it. My life was spent caring for my family first and myself second. I didn’t allow myself to have a career. I didn’t follow any dreams. I didn’t set myself up with a retirement plan. I didn’t plan on getting divorced. I didn’t plan on being on my own. But here I am.
If I could give advice to my younger self it would be don’t sacrifice your dream. Don’t rationalize sacrifices. Be true to yourself because you are responsible for your own happiness.
Marriage is a legally binding contract between two partners. It’s a business. There should be budget meetings and open communication. There must be a support system for both spouses. There needs to be a plan to grow old together. And if it doesn’t work out then you need a back up plan to grow old alone.
That sounds sad but in my case it’s totally the opposite.
My divorce was a shock that has turned into a blessing. I know what I want to be when I grow up and now there is no one to prevent me from succeeding.
I’ve made a business plan. It includes a six-month, one-year, three-year, five-year, ten-year and retirement goal. It’s diversified. I have a four-part plan that includes income from multiple avenues. I didn’t have this when I was married. My husband made all the decisions and provided me with nothing. He robbed me and he spent my youth. Well actually I guess I gave it away but now I concentrate on myself.
Everyday I wake up happy. I go to work happy. I set my own goals and my achievements are rewarding.
Looking back I imagine him standing behind me and I can see myself slamming the door in his face. I don’t feel alone. I feel better without him. I don’t use the term following my dream.
I’m running towards it.