There is a stark Contrast between my old life and where I am today.

It was just a few years ago that my world was turned upside down.  Suddenly changed forever. I did not want it to change.  I had recently retired and was looking forward to getting my marriage back on track. The business of life and work and raising children had left us unhappy strangers. I was hopeful but it was not to be. I was left.. betrayed and alone.

In retrospect, I am thankful that the decision to end the marriage was not left up to me. I was not happy but I would have carried on living our separate lives. We did not have much in common anymore, we couldn’t agree on what program to watch on TV or even what to eat for dinner. (I had become more interested in a healthy diet, where he wanted hamburgers and fries.) But it was more than that.

Living with my ex-husband left me in fear. He treated me like he owned me. I was his possession and he placed high expectations on me. Somewhere along the line I allowed him to control me. He was a skilled manipulator. He wanted to isolate me from my friends by saying things like “oh, are you going out again? I was hoping we could spend tonight together….” He used words to make me feel guilty. He enjoyed ridiculing me, teasing me and making me feel inadequate. He would often remind me how lucky I was that he was there to look after me, he constantly reminded me that I would not survive on my own.

Then suddenly, he was gone….

and I survived….

His betrayal left me shamed and in pain.

There was a time of grieving and a time of healing. It was not easy to get to where I am today. I had to discover who I was. I had to re-invent myself.

It took time but I am more confident and feel secure. I like who I am now. I was given a fresh start in life.

Then, once I was whole again,  I met a wonderful man.

We fell in love and are now living together. Our love for each other is based on a mutual respect and genuine caring. I truly want him to be happy and he treats me the same way. We accept each other as we are and do not expect the other to change. We have a lot in common and just enough differences to make life interesting. We enjoy spending time together and yet take time for our separate interests. I am filled with joy.

Real love is not based on romance, candlelight dinners and walks along the beach. In fact it is based on respect, compromise, care and trust.

I am finally looking forward to living each day and I am enjoying life like never before.

The contrast to my old life of fear and shame is startling and wonderful.