Ann Rouse had been with her partner for almost 18 years when they separated. Since then she says she found her healing path and found herself again.
I was always worried about what he was doing, what was going to happen tomorrow. We spent money terribly and racked up a lot of credit card debt. I was always worried about that, always worried about money and always worried about how we were going to pay our bills. Through my journey of the last few years I’ve really let go of that worry and started trusting in everything is always the way it’s supposed to be, if you open up your eyes and follow what God’s laying out for you. It will be OK one way or another. That’s a huge night and day transition for me.
It’s part of my healing because I’m moving away from being afraid of everything, afraid of how I interact with the world and what the world thinks of me, to just focusing on what’s important to me and finding out who I really am. That’s why I’ve never looked back since my since my divorce. It’s one of the best things I ever did for myself.
I used to write. I used to play the piano all the time. I used to do cross-stitch and draw and work in the yard. As the marriage progressed I just stopped all that. I just totally clamped down on everything. I didn’t want to be around the house. The yard looked like crap and I didn’t care. I didn’t even realize until I got away from it that I had pretty much shut off my whole self – my creativity and all the things I enjoyed. I was so miserable.
I did have a very wonderful relationship post-divorce although it ended badly. I thought he was the one I’d been waiting for all my life. We were both separated at the time and we were supposed to be going to a Christmas party together. He called me that day and I said ‘so are we meeting there? Are you going to pick me up?’ He said that he’d decided to take his wife. That experience lead me to this grief counseling place called Beginning Experience which was wonderful for post-divorce. They do these weekend seminars to help you get in touch with your grief and they teach you the steps of processing it. I ended up volunteering for them for two years and that’s when I found my writing again because you had to write about your experiences and share it with the group so everyone could see they weren’t the only ones going through it.
That really started me on my healing path – figuring out why I was so mad about it, why I was so upset. When I look back, I see that if he hadn’t dumped me, I would have stayed in another somewhat abusive relationship, down on myself and dependent on someone else. Through him I ended up finding myself again and finding my creativity, my inner strength and my writing. I actually wrote him a letter thanking him – is that crazy?
I think Ann’s story will resonate with many divorced women. Certainly a number of the women I’ve spoken with will identify with losing themselves during the marriage and not realizing it at the time. As I started on my healing, I realized how much I’d withdrawn socially – think I even lost my sense of humor and didn’t see it!