In August of 2016, my world spun so far off its axis; I didn’t think that I would recover.
I experienced domestic violence/emotional abuse for the first time in my life. While it wasn’t aimed directly at me, I couldn’t help but think that the kitchen sink receiving a violent punch could have been my head. My husband, at the time was so enraged with me, he put his fist through the kitchen sink. And he broke it with his bare hands.
I was traumatized. I was shaken. And I was afraid for my safety. He yelled at me to go outside, and take the pups, too. I sat on the back patio at 6 a.m. outside waiting to see his next move. My pups huddled by my side in protection. I was too afraid to cry. Instinctively, I shifted into bad-ass superwoman mode.
I told him that our marriage was over, and that I no longer trusted him. “It could have been my head, instead of a sink, and you could have killed me.”
That afternoon, I went to a prescheduled women’s business networking event. How I managed to do this is frankly beyond me. I stood up, introduced myself and said, “I experienced domestic violence for the first time today and I’m scared.” (Not your average networking event elevator speech.) By the end of the meeting, 8 women had come over to me, given me their phone numbers and told me I could stay with them for as long as necessary.
Five months later, I had had enough of my husband’s weekend absences; his hiding every text message that came through while eating dinner together; coexisting without speaking. He moved out. I began to move on.
Over the following two years, I reflected on all the failings of our relationship. I blamed myself for his cheating. I beat myself up for not being the wife we needed me to be sexually, and for pouring myself into building my business. But one day, I realized that HE was also part of the problem. He was 50% responsible, too. With that reckoning, I felt lighter, more energized, more engaged in life. And I started dating again. This time, I was armed with newly found wisdom because failure is a great teacher. I learned to:
1. Put myself first. You need to be happy being alone before you can be with someone else. In fact, it won’t work any other way. If you are co-dependent, you are constantly looking at other people to fill that immense emptiness in your life. The only one who can do that is you-regardless of what all the love songs say.
2. Be honest with yourself and the person who you are dating. If something doesn’t work, express it. Disease comes from squashing our self-worth, avoiding red flags. The red flags don’t turn into white ones. If you aren’t truthful with your feelings, they eat away at you. If you can’t be truthful and transparent with someone, it won’t work. Ever.
3. Embrace that dating is scary. Why? Because it’s the unknown. Do I know if I can trust this person-will I like them-will they be attractive-will they find me attractive? For me, I had been with the same man for over 12 years and had grown accustomed to his every move, the way he spoke, and felt. With a new person, it’s getting to know them, seeing if they fit, and if you fit into their equation as well. Most importantly, it’s a time investment. Is it worth it?
4. I was lonely — a lot. I hated my life for a long time after the divorce. I wallowed in what it could have been, versus focusing on him not being the right man for me. I’m happy to say that I’ve done a 180 degree turn, and look at men in a whole different light now. I no longer look for someone to complete me-I’m a complete package already. I’ve learned new skills, sold a thriving business, pushed myself out of comfort zones, spoken to strangers, and even flirted a bit. It was time to truly “Get My Groove Back.”
5. I cried–it’s normal. It’s healing. It’s cathartic. I suggest looking at it as a soul cleaning-cry until you can’t any longer. Once you’ve grieved, start looking into the future, as the past is in your rear-view mirror. Embrace the thrill of what will come in your life. And don’t give up—this is a process.
Lori Mendelsohn is a local resident. She purposefully connects people both personally and professionally through her company SmartFunnySingle. Her intuitive skills guide her to introductions and that has resulted in many marriages. Nothing makes her happier using her true purpose in life.
If you have dating and relationship advice, feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is currently recruiting singles who wish to date amazing clients for dating leading to long-term relationships.
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