A few days ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, and an article from an entertainment site caught my eye, all because of the "catchy" headline. It read something along the lines of, "Reality TV Couple Finally Speaks Out About Their Failed Marriage." And out of nowhere, I felt my blood begin to boil.
I didn't even bother clicking on the article to find out who the couple was or what they had to say, because I simply couldn't get past the "Failed Marriage" part. For crying out loud, this is 2017, so why in the hell are we still referring to divorce as a "failed marriage"? No, seriously ... what the f**k?
I've been officially divorced for close to two years now, and it's been almost three years since I made the decision to end my marriage. Please note that I said "end." As in the marriage was just over (and had been for quite some time). As in it was time to finally break free of a situation that was not only no longer serving me, but was actually becoming a serious detriment to my emotional health and overall well-being. As in I reached a point where I loved myself enough to close that particular chapter of my life once and for all, in the hopes of writing a new story that will have a much better ending.
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No, my marriage did not fail. It ended. There's a big difference between an ending and a failure. And it's about damn time that we started recognizing this instead of shaming divorced people into thinking they've "failed" at life in some way, shape, or form.
Think about it for a minute. If you are stuck in a job that makes you dread getting out of bed every day, one where you sit at your desk and want to cry over just about everything -- and then one day, a new opportunity pops up, and you leave said crappy job and move on to one that is better suited for you -- does that mean you failed at the first one? No. No, it doesn't. It means you had the presence of mind to know that you were not in the right position, so you took the initiative to find something else and make a change. If leaving the wrong job is considered a step forward, why isn't leaving the wrong marriage?
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Or if you are midway through your career, and you suddenly realize that you've missed your calling in life and want to do something else entirely, so you start over and go back to school to pursue a new degree in a new field -- does that somehow mean that you didn't succeed in the first path you chose? Again, no. Quite the opposite, in fact. It means you had the courage to take a leap of faith and follow your passion so that you can hopefully have a life that fulfills you. Can someone please tell me how starting over in the sense of ending a marriage is really any different than that?
Again -- divorce is not a failure.
You know what is a failure? Staying in a marriage that is sucking the life out of you, to the point where you stand in front of the mirror not knowing who in the hell you are anymore because you've lost your sense of identity -- and choosing to accept that this is your reality, even if it means living a big, fat lie for God knows how many more years. Sorry, but that's a failure.
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Or how about remaining in an unhealthy relationship "for the sake of the kids" -- even though by doing so, you're teaching them all the wrong things about love, and killing any hope of showing them what a strong, committed, healthy relationship looks like? If mommy and daddy never touch and sit on opposite ends of the couch and barely have anything to say to each other anymore besides idle chitchat, what is that telling the kids? It's telling them that this is an acceptable way to treat their significant others. So the cycle has the potential of repeating itself when they grow up and get married. #Fail
And then there are those men and women who put up the whole facade of having the "perfect" marriage, but behind closed doors, one or both of them is secretly wishing things were different, they're longing to be with someone else, and/or one of them has taken it so far as to stray from the marriage and cheat on the other person. If that isn't the definition of a "failed marriage," I don't know what is.
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For the last time, divorce does not mean you failed. If anything, it means that you finally made yourself a priority and succeeded in doing what is right for you and your family. It means your life is changing, and you are growing and evolving as a person instead of walking in circles with no hope of ever moving in a straight line. And it means that you're not afraid to venture into the unknown and face whatever new challenges life might throw your way, because you have the confidence to rise above and defeat every one of them. No, you are not a failure. As far as the test of life goes, you earned yourself an A+.