My Road To Healing My Broken Heart | Donna Koch
Only time can heal your broken heart. Just as only time can heal his broken arms and legs. ~ Miss Piggy ~
“I don’t LOVE you anymore.”
It comes out of nowhere — just shy of sixteen years of marriage, yet I am enveloped in an overwhelming calm and knowing… I will be okay, I will survive this.
Or… my well-honed defence mechanisms kick in, ready to protect, ready to defend, ready to fight. Either way, that knowing… saves me!
It never crosses my mind my marriage won’t last forever. Isn’t that the essence of your vows? It’s more than that… my family is not small and of those married before (and after), only one has divorced.
Prior, only my ‘Granny’ qualified as a ‘divorcee’ (before I was born). Little did I know how deeply rooted my beliefs on marriage run… and how they will haunt me.
For years, I carry the torch and not only admonish silently but openly proclaim, “I’m the only one in my family to be divorced.”
I carry shame with me even when it was no longer true.
Healing Round 1 — Friends and Therapy
The thing about friends when you’re going through a break-up… one that you don’t yet believe is over — you can’t tell them everything. When their lives are intertwined with yours… and his. I hold this insane sense of loyalty to ‘not make him look bad’.
I don’t recall exactly when it happens — my eventual submission to seek professional help. Perhaps the day I ‘lose my shit’ at work, crumbling in front of my assistant… driving home across the bridge… a vision… careening off the edge, plummeting into the lake.
If I tell my therapist I don’t remember. I am told such thoughts are not unusual in the grieving process. It doesn’t occur to me to act upon these thoughts. Instead they simply give me solace.
We continue to live under the same roof for a time. A brief glimpse of hope in an evening with friends. Returning home, sharing our bed — morning brought a new (yet now familiar) reality. It’s time for him to move out.
One day you’re going to remember me and how much I loved you… then you’re going to hate yourself for letting me go. ~ Aubrey Drake Graham ~
Then the day finally comes. A call, “Can we talk?” The one I’ve been waiting for, “I’ve made a mistake, will you take me back?”
Something inside of me hesitates — “proceed with caution” and so I ask… “Have you told her, does she know you’re here?”
Do I crumble, regress to the unfathomable despair of these past few months? The moment has come, time to move on.
“Pick a date — commit to doing everything in your power to save your marriage… promise yourself you’ll stop on that date if nothing has changed.” Sage advice I followed not just in this moment but many years later when I found myself living in déjà vu.
Healing Round 2 — External Gratification
My first… celebrating my newfound freedom in Mexico. A cliche romance (encounter) — much younger than I. Allowing me to explore my sensuality, let go of my inhibitions, find beauty in unattachment.
Once a source of shame, one I’ve withheld until now. A small-town fair, drinks at the single bar, going home with — not a stranger per se. A schoolmate of my ex-husband. Running out, wandering aimlessly until morning — not my finest moment.
He stands at my door, energy palpable — not what I expected when I said yes to a business associate with an extra ticket to Elton John. A magical evening… the earlier energy, expansive and passionate. A brief yet empowering affair.
An extraordinary evening — out with a girlfriend, white line. Invited to join the table next to us — buddies from Boston, on a business trip. He and I hit it off. Dancing into the wee hours. I am adored, admired, desired, alive like never before. Hotel lobby, high heels, short dress, mussed hair, glowing… the proverbial ‘walk of shame’.
Online dating — more by a friends prodding, creating my profile — ‘a first glimpse into me through a friend’s eye’. Lots of interest, much older men with little in common…
Casual drinks with Kenny Chesney look-alike and all-around great guy; a freaky encounter with a large man, electrocuted as a child, wanting to marry me on the spot — evasive measures employed to keep him from following me home; walking the trails with a local restaurateur; a day with an ‘Iron Man’ and his dog, photographing his Iron Man quest, too much baggage (on his part).
Agreeing to a dinner date with an old friend…
Thirteen years later a shattering yet familiar message… “I still love you but I’m not in love with you”.
Healing Round 3 — Running on Repeat
It’s not love but heartbreak that blinds me.
And so it begins again… my sole intent — to single-handedly ‘save my marriage’ — no asking why no considering what I am trying to save. A blind commitment to where love once lived — only betrayal and heartbreak will follow.
In my marriage saving frenzy, I find a beacon of light, Mort Fertel’s Marriage Fitness Program. A promise to transform my marriage without his commitment. He refuses to participate. I persevere… despite the strong religious undertones.
It is all about him for 8 days. I fight to be the ‘perfect wife’, bow to the image he holds. We share the same bed… SEX. It’s all so necessary… my path to destruction — to find my way home again. No regrets, only gratitude.
Fight, flight, or…
He needs his space — I leave because it’s easier for him. I leave because… he ‘needs’ (demands) the house. I leave because it’s what he wants. I leave for the ‘farm’.
April 10 journal entry…
“Today I woke up at my sister’s farm. The first day of a new adventure along this great journey I’ve been on. I’m inexplicably calm and content, with a little melancholy. I do wonder how his night went. His text sounded lonely and I hope he calls his family soon. Perhaps this is my inner self going into protection mode, but I don’t really think so. We had a great time and I think we can be great friends — maybe even with benefits down the road — I’m only ½ joking ☺.”
An unseen force guides me… I listen and return to ‘my’ home. It’s where I need to be, for me, my pets, for healing. My wisest of decisions to come… an evolution from saving my marriage to saving myself.
Hi, I’m Donna. I’m deeply passionate about helping you achieve more than you imagine possible; to overcome limiting beliefs and creating practices aligned with who you are so you may live an extraordinary life. I invite you to explore and discover how extraordinary life can be in your 45-minute no-obligation ‘Discovery Call‘.
Full transparency… I do not collect affiliate income from any of the links provided — I share them with you solely as resources you might enjoy, learn from and grow or completely ignore.
Originally published at https://www.donnakoch.com on February 12, 2022.