WHAT”S HER STORY?…..Stuck in a marriage where you’ve nothing to say, and even if you did, would your partner hear you?  This weeks What’s her story is from one of our Maroochydore members Bernadette Knight, here she explains how she made the decision to be true to herself, and build a new life….without her husband.

Even though I’ve only lived on the coast about 8 months, I’ve finally come home.  I cannot explain why the coast makes me feel this way, it just does. I suppose if I am honest, partly because of the lifestyle and partly because it’s been a place of healing for me.

There’s a poem or saying that’s become my mantra for the past 2 years and even though I know the poem is a huge overstatement of my experience, it stays in my mind.  That poem has saved me from making the wrong decisions to go back to my former life.

I was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an employee, a friend and well, many things for many different people. Somewhere over the past few years, I lost me, I lost who I was, and with that I lost my self-worth.  I survived a separation, and have just recently felt that I’m strong enough to move forward in my new life.  It’s a work in progress albeit a slow one, but I am happy to report that I am now learning to find myself and to love myself again.

My marriage was not a marriage full of physical violence or mental abuse, It was for the most part, a loving relationship that lasted over 20 years.

I spent a long time agonising over my decision to finally walk away from a marriage that was no longer giving me what’s needed for my soul to be nurtured.   If you know nothing about me at all, know this, I don’t like to admit defeat and in fact, as I’m slowly learning about myself, I struggle to accept anything less than 100% in most areas of my life. I’m my own worst critic, I’m learning that I’m not perfect and nor do I need to be. I’m allowed to make mistakes, I’m allowed to say no and I’m allowed to keep part of me…. for me.

I waged a war in my head and continually felt like I had failed as a wife and mother to keep the marriage intact. Firstly, I realised that you cannot make someone want to be with you. Secondly, I realised that you get to a point in the relationship where you can only give so much of yourself before you feel that it’s slowly destroying your soul. When you don’t feel the same level of love and respect in return to save your own sanity, you need to walk away.

My marriage had become a cycle of repetition. The everyday question of ‘How was your day?’ felt like an empty question that really didn’t require an answer. I needed to feel that my day mattered to someone and was not just a conversation to fill the quiet void once you get home from work at night. I needed to believe that my opinion regarding everyday relationship and household decisions mattered. My husband could no longer hold a conversation with me in a way that made me feel like he was actually listening to what I had to say. I realised when I asked him if he was listening to me, (and the usual answer was ‘Yes of course’), he couldn’t tell me what I’d said. He tried, but I think he just picked out key words to save himself from hearing all that I needed to get off my chest. Isn’t that what we refer to as selective hearing? ,I felt that everything I had to say fell on deaf ears, and so, I stopped talking. The day I stopped talking was the point of no return for me.

I finally realised that what mattered to me daily, become inconsequential to him, and I do not doubt for a second that he was feeling the same way. I was no longer his focal point and he was no longer mine. I’d lost the ability to hold and maintain a two-way conversation with my husband. I failed as a wife to keep him interested, as did he as a husband. And so after asking so many times, “do we need to see a therapist?” it dawned on me that we were only saying what we thought the other wanted to hear, and not being true to ourselves. We put 23 years into our relationship but we were no longer on the same page. We felt disconnected from each other and had no idea how to reconnect, It took a while for us to come to the conclusion that we weren’t supposed to.  For a long time my mind was filled with doubt and questions of ‘How can I fix this’? The truth is it couldn’t be fixed, and wasn’t meant to be.

We are both good people, we are still friends, we maintain a level of respect for each other and the choices we each make. But we are no longer together as a married couple and I am at a point now where I have accepted that and I am learning how to live my new life. A life where, if I make a decision, whether good or bad, I have to own it. This whole experience led me to the Sunshine Coast. My job relocation came at a time where I needed to make that change in my personal life and it happened for a reason. That reason was so I could start to heal and start to live again. And I am winning that battle in my head.

 Life is short. Spend it with people who make you laugh and feel loved.