I’m on the phone with a private investigator hoping he can help me find out all of my husband’s secrets. For the first time I share every detail of what is going on in my marriage. It’s embarrassing, but I am desperate to get help.
I tell him everything. The PI is silent for a minute. Finally, he speaks.
“Do you have a support system?” the private investigator says. “You know, someone to talk to?”
It’s not exactly what you expect to hear when you make a call to a PI.
“I would really love to help you – but you just need to walk away from this. It sounds bad,” he says.
You expect a price negotiation, a proposal for his undercover plan maybe, an idea for catching your husband in all his secrets.
I’m not hearing any of that.
“Seriously you need to get out.”
What I am hearing instead is a stranger who just listened to me vomit my whole life story and now feels bad for me.
“I don’t need a support system. I need someone to help me find out my husband is lying,” I thought back then.
If you don’t know the story here, let me fill you in.
It was 2012 and I was married to a drug addict.
I didn’t know he had a problem until the very end of our relationship.
He was really good at keeping secrets.
He was also really good at stealing money to support his habit…. Which is why he got fired…
And why his former boss wanted to arrange a meeting with me.
And why I was calling a private investigator that day.
But the only truth the PI had for me was the obvious:
This relationship is totally destructive, damaging and scary.
And I need to run the fuck away. Now. Get out fast.
It wasn’t exactly the truth I was looking for, but there it was.
Right out of the Private Investigator’s mouth.
Facing the truth your relationship is terrible.
Anytime anyone walks away from a relationship, they can usually look back years later and recognize the red flags. The problems leading up to the big breaking point seem obvious. “Yeah, no duh that was terrible,” you look back and think.
But in the moment of making decision like that, things aren’t so crystal clear. Deciding to stay or go seems complicated. The lines between right and wrong are blurry.
The idea of walking away from something – no matter how destructive it currently is – feels scary. You worry this is just a bump in the road you are supposed to overcome together – and you wonder if you are making a mistake.
At least I did. Yes, even after a total stranger and private investigator listened to my story and told me to get out – I still wondered if I was making the right choice.
Calling it quits makes you feel like a failure.
Or an idiot. Or sometimes, like in my case, it makes you feel both of those things. Finding out that the relationship you once thought was wonderful was actually so destructive and horrible is a big shock.
In that moment, I felt like life had just thrown me this big massive curve ball that I didn’t see coming. And now it was hitting me right in the face. Hard. And in front of an audience.
Because now I would have to tell my friends and family exactly what was going on. I would have to tell them that I was so naive to not see something like this coming. And it was embarrassing.
What I wish I knew back then:
The unknown future is always better than the painful “now.”
Today, years later, I am a totally different person. I am legit the happiest version of myself that I have ever been in my life. I now have a new love in my life and have totally and completely healed my heart. Had I known that I was capable of those things back then, I would have went running for the hills way before it came down to calling a PI. The fear of the unknown can keep so many of us feeling stuck in our present misery. But the truth is if a current life situation is painful – anything else is better than that. Using that mindset really got me through the tough times of having to be alone.
A support system is only good if you’re ready to hear what they have to say.
Yes. Believe it or not, even after that moment I did try to work through my relationship. Shocking – I know. but the truth is sometimes you need to learn lessons the hard way. If you have a support system for what you are going through – that is absolutely fantastic. But if you aren’t ready to hear what they have to say about your unhealthy relationship – it doesn’t matter how right they are.
A bad partner will always be a bad partner.
Don’t get me wrong, bad habits die hard but can actually die. We all have unhealthy habits we bring to the relationship table. But there’s a big difference between working on a few communication skills vs. totally trying to change someone. My ex-husband was not a loving caring honest partner, and that was just the hard cold truth. I couldn’t change that about him even if I tried (and trust me – I tried for a long, long time.) You cannot change people or alter their values to align with yours.
A terrible relationship is often a sign that you feel terrible about yourself.
Ouch. Hurts to hear doesn’t it? But it’s the truth. I don’t care who tells you otherwise. If you find yourself holding onto a terrible relationship – it’s probably because you don’t believe you are capable of finding anything better. And you need to fix that mentality way way before you fix any relationship with anyone else. Case and point.
The key to moving on from a horrible relationship is repairing the relationship you have with yourself.
When I left that relationship I knew one thing for sure: I NEVER wanted to go through anything like that again. And I never did. Because I worked on myself. Once I left that relationship I spent years rebuilding my worth and restructuring my identity. I grew confidence, re-established my values and completely drastically changed my life. Now – I know exactly what I deserve. I went from rock bottom broken to a totally beautiful life that I am so grateful for.
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