It's human nature to look at the past through rose-coloured glasses, recalling the happy memories in your past. Maybe it's the brain's way to cope with the painful memories that haunt us daily.
That's how I've been looking at my marriage recently. I've been remembering those wonderful memories where him and I were this amazing pair. After all, we fell in love for a reason.
My ex was my best friend. Completely. We were inseparable. We could talk for hours on end. We agreed on so many things: our politics, views and morals. We had similar hopes and dreams for the future. He was so smart and I adored how he looked at things in interesting and unique ways. We had similar educational backgrounds and we matched on an intellectual level. I liked how he mentally challenged me. He was tall, handsome and charming. He made me laugh like no one else ever has. I have yet to find someone who makes me laugh like he did. That meant a lot...how he could make me laugh.
He seemed to be everything I'd ever wanted in a partner: The perfect person to spend my life with.
I've been particularly low lately, thinking about those wonderful aspects of my ex and our happy memories. It's been hard. I know this is a process and some people are better able to let go of the past. But I'm not quite the same. I've felt guilty for remembering our happy times. Guilty that I still hold those memories dear, but also guilty that I left my marriage.
Fortunately, I have some wise friends in my corner. A friend of mine, who possible understands more than almost anyone, said this to me recently:
"Those happy memories from your past will always be with you. They aren't going anywhere. It's truly ok to remember the happy memories, just don't get lost."
It really got me thinking. Yes, my ex had some amazing qualities. I wouldn't have fallen in love and married him if he didn't. But amongst all those amazing qualities, were some insidious realities. The reality of his true character started seeping into our relationship. While he was charming in public, he was calling me a bitch behind closed doors. While he was funny with his friends and claimed that "I was the boss," he made sure to question everything I did. While he was tall and handsome, he was also "the smartest person in the room," and made sure I knew that.
The eggshells I walked on in that house left scars all over my body.
Piece by piece, he started to destroy me. I remember laying on the floor of our closet wanting everything to just end. Not just the marriage, but my life. I saw no way out. At that point, it didn't matter how many wonderful qualities he had and how many happy memories we had. I had to escape and start rebuilding my life on my own, without my "best friend."
The reality was that I felt like he would slowly destroy my spirit completely and one day there would be nothing left of me.
It's ok to think of the past fondly and to have those happy memories. Those will always be with you. Honestly, they'll affirm you in your decision to initially be with your ex. At the same time, it's even more important to look at the whole picture of your relationship and to not forget why that relationship is in your past.
Your past is in the past for a reason. Your life is more than the memories in your head.
Song I'm currently obsessed with that has given me some strength on this journey:
Founder of the site Divorced at 30, Alexandra is a blogger who is passionate about speaking her truth. She is on a healing journey as she enters this new chapter in her life. A mental health advocate, she is passionate about motivating others to find “the light” and attain peace.