As I sit here feeling alone and longing for my next chapter to begin, I wonder how I break those chains that bind me to my past. Those chains that keep me fastened to the pain that I thought I had overcome. The pain of heartbreak and disappointment. The pain of wondering if my future holds the love that I’ve always longed for…or is this is it for me? Will I find the love that I’ve always deserved or is the past going to haunt me forever? Will the past be the one thing that keeps me from my future? As I look at the house that we built together that’s crumbling down before me, I wonder if I will ever escape these damn chains. I sit outside our backyard looking at the corrosion that grows between the bricks that we built together. The moss and weeds have taken over covering the memories of our dreams. The once clear blue water of the pool our children played in is now a swamp of grey water. The pictures of the past with smiles and hopes of the future tainted by the reality of our present. We are not a family…we are worlds apart. I grow resentful at the thought of him moving on with the life that we dreamed of living together, turning his back on what he left behind. Yet, I know that although the pictures of his new life appear happy, they are tainted too. We once had those happy smiles and the bond of the family that we built, but now we are strangers.
I’ve been avoiding the topic of what divorce does to our children. As I unpack the pictures that I stashed away in the drawer, I look at the faces of my children as they’ve grown and see the innocence that they once had was stolen away. They will never be the same. My daughter who is struggling to find love in this world of deception and lies. My sons who fail to see that by protecting their heart, prevents them from experiencing love. The pain that I have expressed the many nights they’ve heard me cry has tainted the innocence of their first love. They lost the innocence of what love can bring. Divorce changed them and there is nothing I can do to change that. I grew up in a household of two parents that stood by each other and they will never know that kind of trust. They will forever feel the loss of stability and commitment. Not to say, they are void of finding true love, but they will always hold a guarded view of what love can truly be. That is why I stayed as long as I did. I stayed in a broken marriage to try to save them, but I didn’t save them at all. They are a product of lost dreams and broken trust. The children of divorce survive, but they carry the burden of our mistakes. I can never give that back to them and shield their innocence.
The pictures are painful reminders of dreams shattered instead of happy memories. This is the only chain that binds me to my past. I don’t wish for that relationship to be restored. I only wish it didn’t hurt my children. The only bitterness I hold seeing him move on with his new life is that I’m left picking up the pieces of the shattered glass and crumbling walls. I am carrying the burden of the past he left behind long ago.
Once I am free of these crumbling walls and the bricks that I carry on my back, I can be free of this invisible prison. Until then, I am the one that has to piece them together and mend the broken hearts of my children. If you think that moving on and leaving a marriage that is salvageable is the answer to your problems, think about the effect it will have on the ones you love the most. Your children. They are the collateral damage in your mistakes. They are the ones that will be tainted by your selfish decisions to go outside your marriage to fill a needless desire. You’re not just hurting your spouse…you’re changing the trajectory of the lives of your entire family. And for what? Is it ever worth that? The answer is always “no”. Love is worth fighting for and family is worth dying for. If you break the bond that holds your family together then you surely will be in chains the rest of your life. You’ll see the pain you caused every time you look into your child’s eyes.
Once trust is broken, it will never be the same. I wish everyone understood that before they made that selfish decision to go outside their marriage. I wish the look of pain in the faces of your family flashed before you before you decided to crawl in bed with someone else. Surely, you wouldn’t do it if you saw the disappointment and pain you would cause them.
Don’t let your family drift apart…it’s so lonely on the other side. Fight to stay connected. Do everything in your power to remember what it was that made you fall in love in the first place. Don’t focus on what they don’t do and push them farther away. Hold them close and tell them what you need to feel loved because once you drift too far away, the tide will become too strong to fight your way back to each other. Pretty soon you will be traveling in two different directions and you won’t be able to find your way back. You’ll seek attention from someone else and your bond will be gone forever. There really is no way of getting back what you once had after you’ve been betrayed. Some pretend for the sake of the kids, but without trust you have nothing. You live in fear and suspicion which makes it impossible to love again. The resentment never fades. I know… I tried for three long years and I knew I could never see past the lies and deceit that broke our bond. I couldn’t love him because love is about trust and giving yourself fully to that person. I would never be able to trust my heart to him again and that’s when I knew it was over. Perhaps I never trusted him and held him at arms length….never fully giving him the kind of love I’m capable of giving.
This time will be different. The person I love this time will get all of me. I will never be with another man I can’t fully trust because I’ve learned that love doesn’t exist without it. It is the foundation of all relationships and you must trust that person with your entire heart in order to truly experience love. If you don’t trust the person you’re with enough to tell them what you need in order to feel safe and loved, then the relationship will start to crumble.
If this resonates with you in your current relationship then do all that you can to fight for your family. If you’re like me and your trying to heal the wounds from the chains of your past, then fight for yourself and never give up on love. You deserve all the beauty it will bring.