Guest post by Brad Eardley, LMFT, Marriage & Family Therapist and Coach
When was your moment? When did it happen for you? When did you know that you were married to the wrong person; that the differences were irreconcilable; and that it was time to move on?
Do you remember the moment?
Certainly, it wasn’t after the first argument. Certainly, it wasn’t after the first difference of opinion. Certainly, it wasn’t after the first time someone else asked you if you had thought about divorce.
You probably suffered and struggled for a while, perhaps a long while. You’re mature enough to know that all married couples have arguments and differences of opinion. You know that it’s very common for married couples to struggle with marriage and to think about separation and divorce. So, you stuck it out, cultivated hope, and gave it everything you had. And then some.
You focused on the positive. If you have children, you focused on them. You got couples counseling. Maybe you got individual counseling. You started or recommitted to a spiritual or faith practice. You went on vacation, tried to create new, good memories. All of which are admirable.
Maybe you decided to focus on your own health and happiness by going to the gym, working out, eating better, playing a sport, or pursuing a passion or favorite hobby.
But maybe the pain was unbearable, so you avoided it by working more, working too much. Maybe you numbed it with booze or drugs. Maybe you distracted yourself with gambling or porn or an emotional or sexual affair. You did anything and everything to avoid the situation.
And none of it worked.
But you carried on nevertheless, because you took your marriage vows seriously, and you had hope that your marriage would improve.
Well…it didn’t. Maybe not at all. Maybe a bit but not enough. And at some point, you had a moment where you accepted that reality. That was your moment of truth. And in that moment, you did the next thing.
You made a decision.
You made a decision to move on. And despite knowing that moving on from your marriage was going to be painful, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, and worse, you committed to doing it. You didn’t know exactly HOW your life would be better on the other side, but you knew that it would be. You didn’t know what it would look like exactly, but you had faith that it would be better.
You trusted yourself. You believed. You committed to a better life.
And your life after separation and divorce HAS been better, perhaps in the ways you expected, but in ways you did not expect as well. You’ve gotten confirmations over time that you did the right thing. Confirmations from your friends and family, from co-workers and colleagues. Maybe you’ve gotten spiritual confirmations. If you have children, maybe they have given you confirmations. Perhaps even your ex has given you a confirmation. And every single one of those should be celebrated. Many people find it helpful to anchor those confirmations. Sear them in your memory. Seal them in your heart. Let them soothe your grief. Let them dry your tears.
You did it!
But something still isn’t right.
You may find that there is another truth that is nagging you. A truth about how you’re spending your days (or nights). A truth about your work, your job, your career.
It’s not the right fit. It’s not the right field. It’s not the right culture. It’s not the right work. And you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. And all the things you tried (see above) to fix your marriage, you have also tried to fix your career burnout. And none of them have worked.
Or maybe you are faced with the opportunity (or maybe you’re being “forced”) to work outside the home for the first time or for the first time in a long time. And you’ve been avoiding it. Avoiding it, if we’re really honest about it, by blaming your ex in some way. And as true as it may feel to make your ex the cause of your suffering, it only actually increases your suffering. It disempowers you. It makes your ex big; and it makes you small. It doesn’t help.
No matter the specifics, there is another moment of truth that is waiting for you. A moment where you realize…You are free now, but you are not done. You will hopefully live many more years. To what end? For what purpose? In the pursuit of what mission?
I can promise you that you’re here for more than just freedom from the wrong relationship. What is your dream? What is your unique contribution? What is your legacy? What mark do you want to make on this world?
I love asking my clients…
What is the best, IMPOSSIBLE outcome of your life?
Maybe you already know. Maybe you’re already en route. If so, I honor all the work that I know you must have done to get to this point. If not, I invite you to contemplate and reflect on these questions.
Now, most people find that they need support and guidance on the journey toward their dream career and dream life. And it’s for the same reason most people need support and guidance as they move on from their marriage. And let’s be honest…
If you could do it on your own, you already would have.
I know I didn’t do it on my own. Not by a long shot.
I continue to invest in my best, IMPOSSIBLE outcome by getting great coaching. And I encourage you to consider doing the same.
I LOVE the work I do in my private practice whether it’s therapy or coaching, and I’m grateful for it. And I always want to improve my technique and ability, so I choose to surround myself with people who are much further along in their journey than I am. I choose to be guided by coaches who are not only more experienced and more successful but who are also more heart-centered and more driven by their purpose to love and serve others.
So, again, I ask you…now that you are free, what is next? What is the best, IMPOSSIBLE outcome of your life?
And when your next moment of truth comes, honor it. Anchor it. In the same way you did when you knew it was time to move on from your marriage. When you accept the truth that you have a mission and purpose or that you’re simply made for more, for something better than what you have now, put your hand on your heart. Breathe. Say, “Thank you.” And take action.
I wish you all the best (and IMPOSSIBLE) 🙂
Brad Eardley is a licensed therapist in Massachusetts and a life coach with clients all over the country. He is the founder and owner of Broad Meadow Cooperative, a private therapy/coaching service in Andover, MA. He is the creator of the Dream Career Revival program, a 12-week program that helps people connect to their mission and purpose and then transition to their dream career.
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