Too Many Years of Unproductive Therapy
Early unhappy years in my marriage laid a foundation of irritation, frustration and distrust. My thinking ran on these tracks:
I can’t depend on this guy.
I can’t go on like this.
Therapy will help.
After a few halfhearted attempts to humor me, my husband bailed.
Although he was not having it, I pressed onward with individual therapy.
So Many More Thoughts…
We have children.
We have to make this marriage work.
I can’t get divorced like my parents did.
It’s all his fault.
He’s so selfish.
He won’t try.
All he cares about is sex.
He’s got to change.
It’s his family’s fault he’s the way he is.
He’s got to get more in touch with his feelings.
Women are from Venus, men are from Mars.
I will unlock his heart.
If I Knew Then What I Know Now…
If I only knew a tiny percentage then of what I know now, I could have recognized my role in all the dysfunction.
I was totally clueless about how good I was a creating my own misery.
Fueled by indignant self-righteousness, and with encouragement from the therapists, I gladly catalogued my litany of complaints. Week after week after week.
Oh, I could tell a good story. Even a funny story. I took pride in amusing them.
Their wry smiles matched my own. They “got” me.
And where did that actually get me?
A bank account short tens of thousands of dollars.
And I was still no closer to learning how to create the marriage I so desperately wanted.
I Needed Skills and Tools to Create the Life I Wanted.
I paid big bucks for friendly, sympathetic ears.
No one taught me any useful frameworks for thinking about my life, my marriage, my complaints and dissatisfaction.
I was no better prepared to make a marriage, or save our marriage, after years of therapy than I was on day one.
I never developed any sense of my own agency or the extent to which my misguided thinking was contaminating our relationship.
I Unwittingly Gave Him All My Power to Create the Life I Wanted
And I never even realized it.
I Was Positive That If He Behaved Better I would Be Happy
I was no closer to understanding my ability to intentionally create the marriage of my dreams.
Or that I needed to take responsibility for my own happiness. All day. Every day.
Or how to meet my own needs. Wait a minute!
Meet my OWN needs?
Whaaaat? Is that even a thing?
Our Situation Must Be Hopeless If Therapy Can’t Fix It
I thought I hired the best therapists.
Now I understand just how traditional therapy was unsuited to maximizing our chances of survival.
I sincerely wonder if I learned the skill set I now possess, would a divorce be the outcome of our years together?
If I had found a relationship coach who taught me what I teach now, at the very least, I’m sure I would have been a very different wife.
I know for sure I would have shown up as a much better woman.
Divorce: After 20 Years of Marriage, the Lid Blew.
Our struggling marriage came to an end. And I was so relieved.
I believed better off alone and lonely rather than married and lonely.
The loneliness of my bitter marriage was the worst loneliness of all.
There, I was trapped forever without hope of ever experiencing true love. That was totally unacceptable.
After divorce, at least there would be some hope of meeting a man who would be able to understand and love me.
I still had so much to learn…
What’s one thing you’ve learned since your first marriage ended that you will not do in your second marriage?
What’s one thing you value and will continue to do?
Curious to learn more about my stepfamily journey? Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 4, Part 5.
Marriage is challenge at every stage. Want to talk about it?
Contact me right here.