You no longer worship at the altar of self-sacrifice

Dedication: To my friends, Elizabeth, Helen, Paul and Mary. They helped me find my way out of that marriage by reminding me of who I once was, and who I could be again.

Every story of divorce is intensely painful and personal. Mine is no different. I had been married for seventeen years and had been unhappy for many of those years. Two years into the marriage we went to a couples’ therapist. She told me I would have to “get used to it.” She told him, “One day, she’ll leave.”

Why did it take me fifteen years to leave? Because I had made a promise…a commitment…THE commitment…’til death do us part. There were no arguments, no physical abuse. The pain was neglect. It was indifference. It was self-centeredness. And then a friend’s words struck a cord deep, deep inside me…”You no longer worship at the altar of self-sacrifice.” Somehow those words, that image, broke through the drone of ”I promised” and “I can’t give up on this marriage” and “But I love him” and “Maybe someday things will be better.” Now, eight years after my divorce, there is no altar of self-sacrifice in my world and there never will be again.

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Kathryn Elizabeth