Standing On My Own Two Feet

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The last six months of our marriage were hell. We did nothing but fight and there were weeks on end that we didn’t even speak with each other or even sleep in the same bed.

I had been seeing a therapist and trying to work out our marriage issues, but it’s hard to do that by yourself. So I decided to work on myself and find out if I really wanted to stay married. The short answer was no, I did not. But I was too afraid to leave.

After months of seeing the therapist and working on myself esteem and confidence, I decided to take the final step and end the marriage. But to be honest, it had been over long before that hot summer day.

We sat at the edge of the bed, each of us with our hands crossed between our legs. Not touching each other or looking at each other, but the feelings of my anger and his desperation were palpable.

You’re not really leaving for good, right?, he asked without looking at me.

Yes, I am. I’m done. I’m done trying, begging, pleading. I’m done being miserable. I can’t take it any more.

He straightened up and said, You can’t leave until I make the decision. I’ll go stay at my parent’s house for awhile. You’ll get over this.

But I couldn’t wait any longer. No, you’ve already done that, and then you came back acting like nothing was wrong. I asked you to go to counseling with me, you won’t. I’ve asked you to stop drinking, you say you don’t have a problem. I ask you to help me with dinner and laundry since I’m working full time and going to school full time and you tell me that’s why you got married. I am sick and tired of this and I am way past sick and tired of being miserable all the time.

And you know what else? I am over the fact that I bow down to you and do everything you say and I get nothing in return. We’ve been together 8 years and nothing has changed. I thought it would, I hoped it would, but it hasn’t. It’s only gotten worse.

He stood up and I could see the anger in his eyes, but knew that he was trying to remain calm. I knew he was going to lie to me, to himself. I knew he was going to try to negotiate and compromise with me.

Before he had a chance to say anything, before I allowed him to change my mind yet again, I stood up. No. No more talking. I’m done talking. I will not take orders from you anymore and I will not let you tell me what to think…what to do, how to do it.

I picked up my bag and looked at him. He was crying, the last thing I actually expected from him. Please, don’t go. I will try. I promise.

I kissed him on the cheek, cupped his face in my hands, looked him in the eyes and said goodbye. And when I said it, I meant goodbye forever.

Throughout our entire relationship, that was the first time I stood up to him; stood up for myself. I had never spoken to him like that without fear of being screamed at, or worse.

Although it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life, it was also one of the best things I’ve ever done. I took myself back from him. I started to stand on my own two very wobbly legs. And I haven’t looked back since.

And so it goes…


  1. I am so glad you had the courage to break the pattern, to stand up for yourself, and to rebuild your life into the beautiful one it is today.
  2. Kimberly says:
    I love the line: I took myself back from him. Excellent writing! And such truth in that statement.
  3. Lady Estrogen says:
    Wow! I got shivers.
    Wish you SO MUCH for a happier future ;)

    PS. "That's why I got married?" ARE YOU SERIOUS?
  4. You are amazing for doing this and for sharing the memory with us. Also, the tag "random rememberences"? Not so random; this sounds like quite the definining moment!!
  5. Thank you for sharing this! Leaving my ex husband was the hardest thing I have ever done...amazing to think how far we have come from those unhappy days.
  6. blueviolet says:
    And now I'm standing on my two feet and applauding you!

    It was the first time you stood up to him, and I think he reacted so differently because he knew without a doubt you were done.
  7. The mad woman behind the blog says:
    Wow, what strength and courage you showed in that moment. Thank you for sharing this story.
    You must have known how beautiful your life could become...and SEE! It has!
  8. WTH am I Doing? says:
    That is such a tough thing to do...even without such a dysfunctional husband. I never realize how exhausting it is to be in a bad relationship until I have the courage to walk away from it. That feeling? After you've made the decision and walked away? Is amazing.
  9. The Empress says:
    You had to do this, and you inside, that voice, knew it.

    You were fighting for yourself, that's how you were able to leave.

    I applaud you.
  10. The Flying Chalupa says:
    Wow, Natalie! We're all stronger than we think we are. And look at the turn life took for you once you made the decision to leave! Bravo.
  11. You are so brave and so strong to have been able to leave!
  12. Wow. Just wow. I had no idea. I really didn't know that you'd gone through something like this.

    I am so glad you found the courage to stand up to him and to do what's right for you. And thank you for sharing your amazing story with the rest of us. You are so inspiring my friend.
  13. purseblogger says:
    Wow! Such a powerful post. Good for you girl!
  14. Dolli-Mama says:
    Holy Cow! That is not what I expected when I started reading this post. You are brave and strong and a good mother. It takes strength and courage to leave. You are awesome and inspiring. Thank you for sharing this with us.
  15. So, so proud of you, Natalie. Thank you for sharing such an important part of you with us.
  16. As hard as that was?
    Haven't the rewards of being you been awesome.
    New you. New life.
    New family.
  17. Leaving my ex was the best decision I ever made.

    Stay strong!
  18. Crystal says:
    whew! What a powerful post. you have such a strength in how you voice yourself. You must be a very strong woman.
  19. Just Another Mom of 2 says:
    Wow, what an amazing experience- and YOU are amazing for having the conviction and strength to do what was right. Beautiful.
  20. What an inpsirational story! I'm sure there are women out there reading this today who will finally stand up to their abusive spouse. Thanks for your encouragement!
  21. When you post these things, Natalie, I just KNOW you are helping so many young (or not young) ladies out in making decisions that are right for them, not for some dude.

    And I would think it helps you to write about it, too. And look what you've got NOW!
  22. You are such a strong person...I don't even think you realize how strong. So proud of you!
  23. MrsJenB says:
    Wow. That's incredible, that you had the strength to do such a thing. You're amazing.
  24. Great post! And I can relate. It's hard but we're better for it. Good for you.
  25. Wow
  26. Namzola says:
    This was quite a post for the first time visiting your blog. Guess I'm hooked now. And congrats on the Clever Girls gig.
  27. Saying goodbye is never easy, but sometimes it is mandatory!

    Thank you for having the courage to share this with us.
  28. theworkinghousewife says:
    Good for you - for standing up for yourself, and for writing this.. maybe you'll give someone else the strength to make the decision that is best for them. :)
  29. Sluiter Nation says:
    Natalie, this is so very brave. I think I love you even more...if that is possible. Your strength is going to pass on to so many other people. So proud of you for sharing.