I got divorced after about 18 years together. It was extremely painful. I was on my own for the first time in my life. I had to learn who I was, what I liked, everything. I literally started over. No furniture, no dishes, nothing but a few of the things I took with me. I got everything I could through garage sales, thrift stores, giveaways, and a few gifts.
The night I moved out, I bawled my eyes out the entire 20-minute drive to my aunt’s. I lived in her basement for a few months until the divorce was final and I could close on a house. I spent that time mostly working and sleeping. I would come home after work and go right to my room, and generally I would go to sleep around 7 or 8. I spent the next year grieving the loss of what I had planned for myself, hating men and meeting a lot of men (through work as well as dates) who reinforced all the negative traits in the men I’d known before, and starting a life that centered around me.
I never wanted to go back, but it was still hard to get over. I accepted the fact that I wouldn’t have any more children, and I mourned that loss. It took a long time to realize my new identity and to be comfortable with my plans on my terms.
It’s more than three years later, and sometimes when I wake up, I still think it’s him in bed with me. I don’t miss him, but it’s like the ghost of my former life is there with me in that twilight time between sleeping and waking. I’m not sure what house I’m in or what day it is. Then I wake and remember my boyfriend’s face and what my home looks like and I’m in the present again.
Your life with him will always be a part of you, and years from now you will sometimes feel pain or anger or sadness when you think about how it should have been if he’d treated you fairly. But you’ll get past this sooner than you think, and you’ll be a stronger, better you.