Like many of you, my dream
from the time I was a kid was
to meet an amazing guy…
I'm Karen Finn and, like you, I've been on the precipice of a really painful decision about my marriage - a precipice that I never imagined I'd be on.
From the time I was a child I dreamed my life would be a fairy tale - not a divorce story. I dreamed that I'd meet an amazing guy, fall madly in love, and live happily ever after. But sometimes the path to that happy ending takes a few wicked turns along the way.
I thought the way to move ahead in life looked like this: do well in school, get into a great college, then an amazing graduate program, land a killer job, get married, have kids, and my reward for all of this would be to live with my love happily ever after. And it all started out that way...
I met my future husband shortly after I turned 19. He was a senior in the Chemical Engineering program and I was a freshman. To say we were smitten with each other is an understatement. He proposed 4 months after we met and I accepted without a second thought. 6 months later, we were hitched. (After he finished Naval Officer Candidate School, of course.)
We moved a lot during the first few years, and then he went out to sea. It took a toll on our marriage and we continued to grow apart over the years. As you can imagine, we were more roommates than spouses. We went to a marriage counselor, but it really didn’t help. We wanted different things and no amount of compromise on either of our parts would allow us to deny the inevitable: we fell out of love and we each wanted a different life. So, with heavy hearts but clear heads, we decided to get divorced.
For me, this was the beginning of not only my divorce story, but my journey back. Although I was educated and had a great job, I was terrified of just about everything. There was a part of me that didn’t believe I could take care of myself because I’d never lived on my own before. I felt tremendously guilty because I took my vows seriously; to me forever meant forever and I had broken that promise. I couldn’t sleep, my mind raced all night, and it led me down the path of anorexia. It was a very dark time for me.
But, luckily, I had friends and family who loved me and helped me see the light. Most of them had never been through divorce and didn’t really know how to help me, but they were always there whenever I reached out to them. I also worked with a therapist and took a divorce recovery class. Both helped me tremendously as I slowly found my way back to the land of the living. I was a newly singled woman and the rest of my life was right in front of me waiting for me to jump in and play. I really could continue creating my happily ever after instead of my life end with a tragic tale of divorce.
The biggest fear I wrestled with was how to make sure nothing like this ever happened to me again. I was older, certainly wiser, and aware that I had to be responsible for all of the choices I made in my life. I know there is no magic answer and no way to prevent love from breaking your heart again, but, I could pay better attention to what I needed and not compromise my needs for those of another.
I’m happy to say that’s just what I’ve done. Today, I’ve been happily married since 2009 and while nothing is ever 100% perfect, our love is real and alive and for that I’m ever grateful.
You can have this too.