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This is a guest submission (the first since 2011) from Michaela from WorkerBeeMarketing.com

I should have known there was a problem in my marriage when I allowed myself to come this close to having an affair with a co-worker; a co-worker who wouldn’t have been given a chance in hell if I’d been single (sad but true). Hell, I should have known there was a problem when I questioned whether I should get married three days before my wedding.

It was only six short weeks after my father died, and I was preparing to walk down the aisle. All the while, still in the throes of grief and exhaustion. Even after my wedding, I figured it was just my sadness talking (instead of my intuition).

It wasn’t…

Fast Forward 9 Years

Fast Forward

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt there was a problem when I was afraid to give up the security of my second job because my husband finally had a job after years of unemployment. Throughout our relationship, I worked my ass off and right at the end, I worked a second job.

I convinced myself I was okay with it because it gave me financial peace of mind (and vision insurance, she says as she adjusts her glasses one more time). Deep down, I was pissed off, but I also knew I could only trust myself and the choices I made.

How do I tell you the story of this particular grind without sounding like a shrew from hell? Is it possible to talk about it without making myself look blameless? Probably not. If both of us had done everything we should have, my marriage might not have been such a fucking grind in the first place.

Were we even in the same marriage?

Listening to my husband discuss our marriage, I hear about deep, abiding love. I hear words that describe devotion and commitment. He still likes to tell me about how he always loved me, will always love me, and there is no one else for him. I just roll my eyes and wonder who the hell he’s talking about.

I don’t remember feeling any of that – not in the nine years of our marriage or the 12 years of our relationship. And as for his feelings now, talk is cheap.

When I think back on our marriage, I remember struggles and stress. I remember poverty and isolation. I remember never sleeping through the night – crying babies, anxious toddlers, and my own stress. I can see all the times I looked at a stack of bills and wondered how in the hell I was going to pay them, feed us, and maybe save a few dollars. Were we even in the same marriage together?

I finally figured out what I needed to do

Had we been on the same page, maybe we could have survived the grind together. In February 2011, I could not take one more fucking minute of my fucking grind. On a Friday afternoon, I left husband and children behind, traveling 200 miles with the radio blasting, desperate to forget my anger and unhappiness.

I sped down the highway to see my best friend, the only person who might be able to understand how I felt. She referred to her ex-husband as “the idiot” and her current husband as “bless his heart.” (It’s a southern thing, y’all.)

I thought she might talk some sense into me. I wondered if she could help me see my life and my marriage from another perspective and tell me to get over it. I assumed she would see my worries, fears, and stress as whining and complaining. I was wrong.

I talked (and she listened) over margaritas and queso. I continued talking as I collapsed on her couch in an exhausted heap that night. I knew I was safe with her and resentment, anger, fear, stress, and worry poured out of me.

How could he let his wife work two jobs while he worked none? Why had I continued to clean the house, cook the meals, and run the errands for so long while he stayed at home? The worst part (to me) was that once he saw the writing on the wall – before I did – he changed his ways. He became the stay-at-home parent and spouse I’d begged for over the years.

But it was too late.

I didn’t care anymore. One month of help and work couldn’t make up for the years of neglect.

Finally, I looked up at her and said the one thing I hadn’t said yet. “I don’t want to be married anymore.” The words went out into the universe and I felt two things – relaxed and terrified. She didn’t say anything for a long moment and then, “I’ve been wondering when you’d figure that out.”

I Don’t Want To Be Married Anymore – Life Changing Words.

split

The first step to ending a grind is to admit you don’t want to be a part of it anymore.

Whether the grind is a relationship or a job, you will keep at it forever unless you admit you’re in a miserable suck of a situation and that you don’t want to stay there. Some people thrive on their own misery – hating every moment of their marriage or job – and never do a damn thing about it. I’m not built that way.

Once I admitted to myself that I was done, my own inherent traits kicked in. I’m a goal-oriented person and dogged in my determination when I want something. Action, I needed action. But I was also terrified once I realized I would have to “break up” with my husband. What was I, in junior high?

I drove back home, mentally making plans for a future without him while also dreading that I would break his heart. I didn’t hate him – I just couldn’t stay married; I couldn’t live this grind for 50 fucking years.

For the record, we’d tried for years to fix our marriage. This wasn’t a whim encouraged by too much tequila and regret. I lived a daily grind that was supposed to be a marriage built on love and teamwork, and I could not, would not, take one more minute of it.

As you can imagine, no matter how gentle I was in breaking the news, it didn’t go over well. There was resistance, pleading, anger, and every emotion in between. There was even violence. I could not be swayed. I was a rock standing strong against the pounding of waves. I felt the truth of what I needed the moment I admitted it out loud. I did not want to be married to him anymore. The worse he reacted, the more my resolve strengthened.

Six months to the day, my wish was granted. Was it easy? Hell no. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Things happened to both of us that should never have happened. Poor choices were made, the consequences of which still play out to this day, three years later. I saw a side of him that changed my feelings for him completely. He’s the father of my children, but I don’t have to like him.

Ending The Grind Has To Suck Before It Gets Better

Before you think that ending a grind is all fun and sunshine, think again. I spent many a lonely night on my couch, after my boys were in bed, wondering if I’d made the right decision. I cried out of loneliness, from a different kind of stress that I didn’t feel think I could handle.

Single parenting is hard. I was poorer than I’d been in years. My days consisted of a job that had become increasingly stressful, and my nights were filled with two little boys who needed me to be strong as they readjusted to a new life. I could not fail at this new life, but I was afraid that I would.

About a year after the divorce was final, I hit a point of equilibrium. I’d figured out how to function in my new life, and function well. I’d learned that there was a lot I could do on my own, that I could manage a family of three better than I ever managed a family of four. I gained confidence in myself as a parent, a professional, and a woman. I had a new motto in life: Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and leap.

I ended one grind in 2011 and as of May 30, 2014, I ended my professional grind. I would never have had the strength and courage to leave a comfortable and well-paying (albeit stressful) job and branch out on my own as a freelancer if I hadn’t survived 2011. I know what I’m capable of because I walked through one fire and survived. Anything is possible now.

 

About Micheala:

After years of the job grind, I’m finally doing what I love (digital marketing) for those that need it – small businesses with limited time and resources. I’m the worker bee at Worker Bee Digital Marketing. When I’m not tweeting, blogging, facebooking (is that a word?), and reading cool stuff, I’m running after two little boys who keep life interesting.

Join me on the journey! Or just stop by and say hi!

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