I've been thinking about doing a post like this for awhile -- ever since tryingagain did a fantasy vs. reality post for the WS. There's been a lot of talk about fear lately, so my hope is that some of us who are further along down the path can provide positive inspiration for those who are just starting, or who know they need to start but are too afraid to do so.
Fear: disappointing my family (we don't get divorced), friends distancing themselves from me because they didn't want me trying to steal their husbands, being lonely since I'd distanced myself from most of my friends due to XWH's social problems.
Reality: my family stepped up in amazing ways. I am closer to my parents and siblings than ever before. Friends are amazing -- they send their husbands to my house to help me move or lift things. I go out with several different couples -- just the 3 of us -- and it's not awkward or strange. I've reconnected with old friends and made many new friends.
Fear: money concerns. I found out I was losing my job right before D-Day. XWH and I had an agreement that I didn't have to work once that happened since I'd put him through med school and he was just about to make a doctor's salary. I visited a recruiter after D-Day and he told me I'd be lucky to make 50% of my then-current salary, given the job market. No kids, so no CS, and laws in my state are terrible -- I was basically a one-woman scholarship fund for XWH -- so no alimony, either.
Reality: I got an amazing job where I make more than triple what the recruiter said I'd make. I'll be out-earning XWH in a couple of years. I am buying my dream house in two weeks.
Fear: living alone. I went from my parents' house to college roommates to married. How would I do everything that XWS used to do, all on my own?
Reality: XWS didn't really do all that much. It's not so hard being an adult! I have become a much better cook, handylady, and manage my life really well.
Fear: dating. I'd never dated as an adult, as XWH and I got together when I was 20. How do I do it? Will men be interested in me? ARGH!!!
Reality: I'm currently taking a break from dating, but there is lots of interest out there. It's really not that tough, and the knowledge I've gained from reading about relationships has served me well -- allowing me to break things off when red flags appear and hold out for someone who truly is wonderful. Also, there is so much more out there to life than romantic relationships. I've been having so much fun!
Summary: I was a mess at D-Day. I seriously considered suicide. I found a great IC, read a lot, ran a lot, and worked on myself. I am now happier than I have been, probably ever in my life. XWH wanted to R. Of course, since he couldn't find a job in the city where he did his fellowship, that would have meant me giving up my fabulous new job as well as my support system. I asked him to sign a post-nup where he would cover the difference between whatever job I could find and the job I was giving up if I had to divorce him for future infidelity. If he didn't cheat, this wouldn't come into play. He refused, stating that it was punitive, and I should just trust him to be faithful. And so I divorced him, which was the best thing I could have done.
There is a wonderful life out there. There are people who are honest, faithful, nice, and kind. Surround yourself with them. Life is way too short to make decisions out of fear. As they always say, leap and the net will appear.