Today, you might not be able to imagine how to be happy outside of your marriage. You don’t know how you’ll live without your husband’s love, money, support, or presence in your home. Whether you were blindsided by an unexpected separation or you chose to leave your marriage, know that you won’t always feel the way you do right now. You will be happy again. You will get your life – and your self – back.
“I’ve been married to same man for 30 years, and he has manipulated and controlled me to the point that I have no self-esteem or confidence,” says Mary on How Do You Help an Unhappy Husband? “I have isolated myself from family and friends for 20 years. I have no job and no money, and I feel he set me up like this. My husband has been unhappy for years, and recently blamed me for our financial ruin. I’m 57 with no money, no job, no family, friends or confidence. I’m miserable and exhausted from this….the contempt just grows and grows. So does the rage and the hate.”
Mary reminds me of the wife in a fiction book called The Gatecrasher. This wife, Phillipa, was in exactly the same type of marriage. Phillipa’s husband insulted her, destroyed her self-esteem, belittled her, and blamed her for everything bad in their lives. She thought she’d never recover from his abuse or be able to live happily without her husband. Guess what? It was a happy ending! Phillipa discovered that she can be happy without her husband’s version of love or his piles of money.
Phillipa’s story isn’t just a story in a book. Many women tell their own version same story. They felt stuck and trapped in unhappy or even abusive marriages. They didn’t know how they could ever be happy without their husbands. And they hit rock bottom financially, emotionally, professionally and socially. Many of these women thought they’d never recover.
But they did recover. They healed. They found the strength and courage they needed to start over, become financially independent, and live without their husband’s love or money.
And if millions of women can do it, so can you.
5 Steps to Being Happy Without Your Husband
This is just a start – a general list of ideas that can put you on the road to finding freedom and breaking free from an unhappy marriage. You’ll need more specific help and support if you’re serious about being happy without your husband. You need to contact a lawyer, or a divorce counselor, or a social worker.
But first, you need to…
1. Tell your family and friends the truth
The unhealthiest, most destructive husbands are the guys that isolate you from your friends and family. The more isolated you are, the more power he has over you – until you have nobody to turn to. That is, you THINK you have nobody to turn to – but you do! You don’t need your husband’s twisted love or money, you can be happy without a husband, and you CAN stand on your own two feet.
“I finally told my sister some of the things that are going on in my marriage,” says Elizabeth on Did Your Husband Have a Long Affair? How to Recover. “My husband thinks I’m the bad guy now even though he’s the one who cheated. He took life insurance out on me and dropped my medical coverage. I told him, if you can’t help take care of me while I am living, you are not going to benefit on my insurance when I’m gone. We have decided to go our separate ways. I should not have hid how my husband treated me from my family and friends all these years.”
2. Focus on the resources and support you have
Mary said she has no money, no job, and no support. That may be true – but what does she have? A brain. A mouth. Two feet. She has what she needs to get money, to get a job, to get support, and to start being happy without her husband. To start over without your husband – and be happy – all you need is what you already have: your body, your brain, and your spirit. Yes, it’s hard to start over. Yes, it’s scary and what will people think? Yes, finding a job in this economy will be a pain in the a$$. Yes, life isn’t fair…and yes you wish things were different!
But this is your life, and you have the power to change it. You have the power to be happy without your husband’s money or “love.”
3. Identify two obstacles holding you back
Women often say they can’t leave their husbands or pursue their dreams because they aren’t financially independent. In How Do You Leave Your Husband When You Have No Money?, I list a few tips for accumulating money and learning how to be independent. I’m not saying it’s easy – but I am saying it’s worth the pain and effort. It takes time and effort to rebuild yourself financially, but it’s better than being unhappy with a husband who treats you like garbage.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s what social services is for, what friends and family are for, and what neighbors are for! Eat that humble pie, for it will make you stronger and self-sufficient. Then one day, you will be able to help another woman who is scared she’ll never be happy without HER husband’s money or love. What goes around comes around, my friend.
4. Find women who know how to be happy without a husband’s love
The hardest thing may be to speak up and ask for the help you need. It’s also the best, smartest, and most courageous thing you could do for yourself! Being honest hurts and is even embarrassing. It hurts to tell the truth…but the truth will set you free. Talk to other women, women who understand what happens when a marriage unravels. Find women who understand how hard it is, how painful, sad and even shameful. Sharing your burden will ease your pain and lighten the load.
“You sound like you would like to leave but you’re torn by your responsibilities to yourself, your children and even your feelings for your deadbeat husband,” says Jessie on When You Live With a Moody Husband – Loving What Is. “Take it from me (45 years married), he won’t change. If you are ready to be on your own again, you need to call a hotline for abused women. They can help you leave and be happy without your husband’s money or love without endangering yourself or your children.”
5. Make time to be still and quiet
Starting your life over, learning how to be happy without your husband, moving your kids and maintaining your sanity…it’s not possible alone! But your faith makes it possible.
Make time every morning to get still and quiet. Spend time with God. Let your thoughts flutter and fly until they calm down. Watch the flurry of fear and doubt. Wait for it to settle. Then, when all is calm in your mind and heart, pay attention to the presence in you. That is God. You might feel like praying for strength and courage, safety and comfort. You might just sit in His presence and allow peace to descend. However you choose to spend time with God, do it with all your heart. The more time you spend with Him, the more peace and love you will feel deep in your spirit.
What do you think? Feel free to share your story below. Writing is a great way to work through your feelings and gain clarity on your thoughts. You may also find a few gems you didn’t even know were hidden in your mind and heart!
In peace and passion,