Is your New Year’s resolution to leave your husband? Well you’re in the right place!
This how-to guide is in reference to my first marriage. My second marriage — which I’m currently in and forever shall remain because my husband is fucking amazing — has nothing to do with this post.
Step #1. Realize your husband is an asshole who will never change. This may take years to figure out because women have this romantic notion in their head that they can change a man — thanks to fairy-tales like Beauty and the Beast. And your husband may not be a complete asshole which makes leaving harder because he has other good qualities that blind you to his big asshole qualities that aren’t really worth putting up with — which was my situation.
Step #2. If you want to end your marriage and your husband isn’t an asshole and is a really nice guy, then that means you’re the asshole. So own it. Sometimes it takes years to realize you’re the asshole because human beings have egos and have a tendency to be assholes.
Step #3. Make a plan. If you have kids this is essential. To be serious for a moment, I was in a bad place. No college education to speak of. A spotty work history. No money. Two kids. BUT I had family. An amazing immediate and extended family to take me in and help me get on my feet. If you don’t have a supportive family then you need to take advantage of additional resources and websites such as singlemom.com.
Step #4. Get. A. Lawyer. And consult a lawyer before you leave him (unless you’re in a domestic violence situation — in that case you need to leave ASAP). I did not do this. I wanted to avoid coming across as a bulldog — as a mean ex-wife. I wanted to be nice. After all, I was breaking the mans heart. I didn’t want a scary lawyer to come in and make my soon-to-be-ex-husband feel bad. Bull-shit. If you have the financial resources — get that lawyer. My family offered to pay for one, but I wanted to play nice and that really did me a disservice. I went forward with a “do-it-yourself” divorce. DO NOT DO THIS. I essentially had no knowledge of my rights, no knowledge of child support requirements, how to split assets and debts, etc. I was basically stupid and stubborn — which is what got me into the dead-end marriage in the first place.
Step #5. After your plan is in place — where you’re going to live, making sure you have access to money, acquiring a lawyer, etc. — leave. Split. Get out (Unless of course you have the ability to throw his shit out of the house first.) Yes, it’s hard. You’ll cry your eyes out even though your husband was an asshole — because leaving your comfort zone is never fun. Willfully venturing into the unknown is terrifying. But it’s brave. And if your marriage is truly a shitty one, and if children are involved — then it is essential that you leave. Don’t let your little ones grow up around an unhappy, tumultuous relationship. Your daughters and sons need to see you be strong — to see you take the independent step out into the world — to stand up for yourself — to know women deserve respect.
Step #6. Get back on your feet — financially. And yes, this could take years. It took me five years because I had to go to college. If you already have a solid education and work background, then this will be much easier for you. Again, there are many resources for this. Use them. I was lucky enough to receive a Pell Grant that covered almost all my educational expenses — including full-time childcare for my daughter.
Step #7. Get back on your feet — emotionally. If you want to be a good parent, if you want to move on in the relationship department — you have to do a lot of soul-searching. Your husband may have been an asshole, but you also contributed some negativity to the marriage. What was that? What qualities about yourself can you change — improve on? And if you were the asshole in the relationship then you REALLY need to do some soul-searching. And the soul-searching can take years. But it’s essential that you re-discover your identity as a single woman. Because a failed marriage changes a person — but it’s usually for the better.
Now go on and git yerself divorced! And Happy New Year!