Divorce Featured

How I ended my 17-year relationship

"Tears were rushing down my face as I started to tell him how much I love him, and that I wanted to have more babies ... but not with him."

To be completely honest, I wasn’t sober when it finally happened.

It was at the end of  Erin’s birthday party that I organized in 2015, after all our friends left.

I remember the day of the party … I went through the motions of everything, but I so badly wanted to be anywhere else except there.

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By this time in our relationship, Erin and I were at a vast disconnect and oceans apart. We couldn’t see eye-to-eye on anything and could barely hold a conversation without getting into an argument. A stark contrast to how we started out.

We were no longer  functioning as a couple. We were roommates, family members, two people that deeply cared about each other, business partners, parents … but definitely not together.

Truthfully, our relationship was over a long time ago, but I don’t think either one of us knew how to, or even wanted to, let go.

At the end of the day, we still very much loved each other. But as many couples in long-term relationships will tell you … love isn’t everything.

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(pictured: a note Erin wrote to me and left on my keyboard)

There were a few times prior to this that I tried to leave, but Erin always reeled me back in. I wanted things to work out and I wanted to be with him, so it wasn’t too difficult to get me to stay. But this time … things were different.

All our friends had left the party and Erin and I ventured out to the hot tub.

As I said, this was at the end of the party and both of us had been consuming alcohol. I started to talk to Erin and suddenly, no longer could hold back my truth.

Tears were rushing down my face and I was heavily sobbing as I proceeded to tell him how much I love him, and that I wanted to have more babies … but not with him.

As soon as the words left my mouth, there was no holding back. I don’t remember everything that was said that night … but EVERYTHING was said that night. I didn’t have the ability to hold back and I didn’t.

We went to bed that evening, woke up the next morning and re-hashed the entire conversation completely sober.

And just as Erin had done many times in the past … he asked me for more time. And just as I had done  many times in the past, I said, “of course, Erin.”

Even with the knowing of the words that had left my mouth, which came straight from the heart, I was still in denial that things were over.

We both went back to our routines and continued life “as-is” for about 2 more months …

… but clearly, I was miserable.

I can’t 100 percent speak for Erin, but if I had to make a very educated guess, I would say he was as well.

In my quest for guidance, I attended a spiritual fair in early June. I’m very much into energy work and I thought maybe I could get a reiki session to clear away some of the clutter in my head … or anything else to that effect.

To make the long story short, I ended up talking to a perfect stranger and sharing my story with her. She looked at me and said “What are you doing? You’re like one-foot-in and one- foot-out of your marriage.”

She said many other things … but that statement right there was the slap-in-the-face that I needed to hear and feel from a stranger.

It truly was over.

I walked outside and cried and cried and cried. How was I going to tell Erin? How was I going to be on my own after being with him for 17 years? Last time I lived alone, I was in college. Last time I was single, I was in high school. Can I cover my own bills? What are my own bills? Where would I live? Am I ready to be a single mom?

My stomach filled up with nausea as I realized I had no answers to any of these questions.

Unfortunately for me, I was one of those wive’s who let my husband handle all the finances. Big mistake and should I ever get married again … that will never happen.

I was now a mother and an entrepreneur … and very much dependent on Erin for many things.

But I knew what needed to be done and this time, there would be no going back …

I decided to give myself a week before saying anything. I needed to figure out what I would say to him, how I would say it and I needed to do research. I research everything … so this situation was no exception.

I googled ways of telling your spouse you want to leave. Most articles I found all had the same advice …

Don’t stall and don’t use the word “separate.” They said if you want a divorce, then say so because you don’t want to give the other person false hope. There was more to it, but this is all I retained.

But in all honesty, when it came to it, I couldn’t muster the word divorce or separate. Was I still in denial? Or was it that I just couldn’t bare the thought of a divorce. I don’t know …

From my experience, I can tell you that everyone’s situation is unique. Use whatever words you feel fit your situation.

During the week leading up to “D-Day” of me telling Erin, I was full of mixed emotions …

I had clarity but I was anxious. I was sad, but I felt confident.

At nights as I lay awake listening to him breathe, I held his hand in my hand knowing that this was going to be the last moment in time I would get to do that.

He knew I was holding his hand, but there was no reciprocation.

It was over.

Six days went by and it was time for me to call it …

We sat down in our kitchen … and I just blurted it out.

“I don’t think we should be together anymore.”

His first words were about Aris (our young daughter). She was his main concern, as I hope she always will be …

I told him that I thought it would be a good idea if we moved into the same apartment complex so that we could have access to her between the two of us easily.

He nodded his head.

“I don’t agree with your decision, Gelie, but I know that if this is what you’re choosing then it’s best for us both,” he said.

He knows me well. He knows I’m highly intuitive and there is no sense in fighting me when I’ve made up my mind.

It was over.

There were no tears and there wasn’t much to say. Now, we just had to figure out logistics.

… So exactly how does one end a 17-year relationship?

With love, compassion, forgiveness and a knowing that at one point you shared an incredible moment in time together. You did the best you could. You exhausted every possible option of holding things together and given the choice, you would do it all again just for the experience.

I didn’t marry the wrong guy … and I most certainly married Erin for all the right reasons.

But sometimes even great things come to an end.

I will always love Erin, no matter how many deep oceans are between us. We will always be family even when the divorce is finalized.

He gave me the gift of love, the gift of hope, the gift of forgiveness, the gift of freedom to explore my entrepreneurial self and the gift of our beautiful daughter.

Not a moment with him was wasted.


The blog is still unfolding … if you’re interested in more of my raw truth, make sure to subscribe to the blog.

 

19 comments

    1. I talk about some of it in previous posts … but I haven’t really yet gone deep into the actual details. Not sure if/how I will, the blog is still unfolding 🙂

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  1. Similar situation here, although I recently ended a 25-year marriage. Things are still settling into a new normal and will be for some time, but I know in my heart that it was the right thing to do. You said it simply: love isn’t everything, and it’s not always enough. Best wishes on your new future!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lynn … and you too! I’m just over a year out from the separation and just now starting to feel “alive” again. Still a journey ahead of me …

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  2. Gelie girl, I’ve been divorced twice. Maybe it’s a strong woman thing, I don’t know. I do know it hurts like hell for a little while… well maybe a long while. Because you feel like a failure, and marriage’s aren’t supposed to end in divorce, and bla bla bla. But you will get through it and you will be stronger and happier for it. I’m proud of you my friend.. It’s been fun to experience your journey with Networking Phoenix since the days of Ladies Who Launch! Be true to yourself, you’re going to be fine. Aris will be fine. Hugs! xoxoxox

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  3. Kudos to you for being true to yourself. I know too many people who stay for the kids but are not happy. I applaud you! You’ll be ok and more importantly, happy!

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  4. Gelie, your instincts are true…and your priorities are in place. Great growth and movement lie ahead for both you and Erin, which means Aris will benefit as well. You have my admiration and best wishes!

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  5. Gelie when in met you two years ago at Avnet Tech Games I was recently divorced myself, we discussed it briefly and you seemed strangely interested or maybe sympathetic….now it makes sense. It sucks for our little girls but no regrets here, hope you feel the same on your end! Stay strong!

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  6. In 2003 my wife of 29 years and I parted ways – no pivotal moment or event, just a 10 year slide into two people living together and going through the motions more out of habit than anything else. Fortunately, as hard as it was, ours was a civil, non-acrimonious parting, with no lawyers or nasty courtroom scenes, just a sadness of loss. Our daughters were out of the house, with the youngest still in college, but they both had seen it coming probably far earlier than either of us wanted to admit.

    The single most important thing I can suggest to you is to find a good divorce support group (the Franciscan Renewal Center on Lincoln used to have an awesome one). No matter how much you feel like you’ve got a handle on everything, believe me you will go through a range of emotions that threaten your very sanity. For me, that support group was the lifeline that pulled me back from a very dark abyss, helped me process everything that had happened and begin the journey back. One of the most important aspects of a support group is that you have a range of people at all stages in the process. Some will be in far worse shape than you, and others who are nearing the end offer hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    I wish you all the best on your journey.

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    1. Nick – thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. I appreciate the advice and understand exactly what you mean. Thank you for your well wishes!

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