Linda: The following are two letters I received from a woman I will call Lucia. She read a blog I posted that touched her, and she wanted me to warn other women to not waste years in a relationship that is draining their very life energy. She had stayed away too long, but a time came when enough was enough and she was able to break free.
Lucia’s first letter: “As I sit here with tears pouring down from my puffy eyes, snot is running from my nose. As much as I hate to admit it, but after reading your article, “I know what I should do, so why don’t I do it? I do know what I need to do, yet there is a part of me that is questioning if I have the strength to leave. My story is very similar to the story of Maya in your blog. The truth of my husband Stan’s affair was revealed ten months ago, and he still will not even admit that it was an affair.”
“I discovered the long-term affair and have been an emotional basket case ever since. He says he will end the affair because he wants to stay married. But since he shows no remorse for the hurt he’s caused me, my trust is so low that I doubt that he’s stopped seeing the other woman.”
“Stan and I do have fun sometimes, but I can see that we are more and more becoming like the couple in your story. We too are like rats in a maze. Truthfully, I think he emotionally left me some time ago. Then on top of all his selfish ways, to have an affair is such a blow. He’s unhappy too, and afraid to admit defeat. If we separate, we would have to share all the money and possessions we’ve acquired in our years together. Life can really suck sometimes.”
“Years ago, I tried to leave, but I got sucked back in. I have had to clamp down my emotions for years to be able to stay in this marriage. I know I have fallen out of love with him yet haven’t left. The only choice I see given that I’m not leaving is to improve my situation by being kinder, loving, and more generous to myself.”
In a follow-up letter from Lucia a few months later :
“I have been doing my work as you call it, and I now know that I can walk away from the life my husband and I have built. I have come to the point where I can no longer take the emotional rollercoaster that my life has been.”
“There was an incident recently that pushed me to the point where I could let go of the marriage. The last straw was that my husband slept through my fortieth birthday. I went to my friend’s house as she was having a birthday party for her dog. I spent my fortieth feeling less important than my friend’s dog. When I came home, and I expressed my sadness about Stan not honoring my birthday, but he did nothing to make this up to me.
I said, “I’m tired of waiting around for something to happen in this relationship.” Stan just sat there with his phone reading his Facebook newsfeed. When I told him that I was in a lot of pain, he once again said “Let’s just break up.” I said, “Thank you! thank you so much for finally making a decision.” In the past, when he would say let’s break up, that was the way he used to shut me up, but this time it was different. I said “Yes, let’s do that” and I have moved out. Of course, I am scared of stepping into the unknown, but I’m proud of myself. I have friends who will give me emotional support. And I am crystal clear that I am not going back.”
Lucia took years to get to the point where she could find the strength to do what she knew she needed to do. She paid close attention to the prices she was paying for being in a relationship with a partner that had no intention of changing so that she could thrive in their partnership.
She used the inspiration that she found in reading self-help literature, the support of her friends, and a fierce commitment to grow stronger and more courageous to make a huge change in her life. I am touched that she wrote to me with the intention of saving some others who are in soul-deadening partnerships some heartache. It is her wish that her story can inspire others not to wait too long.