I am getting “advice” from people–rules about how I should pursue my happiness. Things like giving my husband another chance. Or how soon I can date. Or how I will feel “better” if I wait until my divorce is final to think about another guy. How I need to be careful. And so on.

But…there were a handful of people who said the things that bounced around in my head and helped me tremendously.

“It’s okay to be divorced.”

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At the time me sister said this to me, I didn’t believe this was true for me. It’s true for others but my southern girl brain said “You can’t leave; he doesn’t hit you or cheat on you.” I could fix it if only I was better, made him happier, did more. My sister saying this one sentence reminded me that I would tell her to leave, that she doesn’t have to be perfect or miserable for a guy, that I wouldn’t judge her–that I don’t judge her for being divorced.

“You can’t work on your marriage alone.” & “It takes two people to work on a marriage.”

I found myself constantly trying to get “his” stuff done at the expense of “my” stuff. I thought I was trying to make him happy. I was miserable, exhausted, and frustrated. He continued to ask for more. Someone told me I was placating him. I tried to argue compromise but I wasn’t getting anything out of it.

“He denied you.” & “He disregards you.”

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I’ve had so many people tell me things like “relationships go through ups and downs” or “you learn to….[insert ways to cope with an unhappy relationship here]” so when more than one person finally said, hey, I see what’s happening and it’s not okay, I was…relieved to know someone could finally see and that I am worth better.

“Your happiness is as important as his.”

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How did I forget this? My bestie said this to me and I was stunned into silence. He waited for me. He said it again. He said you know that right. Yes, I do. I forgot. He will not let me forget again anytime soon.

And my bestie says the things that make him my bestie. “You do what feels right for you and tell everybody else to f*** off. This is the single best piece of advice I’ve received. It may be the only advice I give anyone else.

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