Letter: I Failed at Forever

Letters From Readers

I really thought my marriage would be forever. Everyone around me has long standing marriages.  My parents have been married for 45 years and they are still in love. I can’t seem to shake my feelings of being a failure.

Jolyn

Hi Jolyn,
All of us get married with the intention of being with our spouse for the rest of our lives so the loss of that dream can leave us feeling like a failure.  While it may seem like everyone, but you, is in long standing marriages, the truth is that roughly 50% of all marriages end in divorce.
Let me start with “You are not a failure.”  Your marriage did not work out but that does not make you a failure.  Remember that it takes two people to make a marriage work and two people for it to fail.  Sometimes the end of marriage has nothing to do with us whatsoever.
It takes time to grieve the loss of a marriage and reflect on how things went wrong.  Please use this period as one for reflection and growth. If need be, find a therapist to help you navigate the feelings you may be having during this time.  A good therapist will help you find out why you feel the way you do and provide you with a skill set to move into a positive emotional place.
In the meanwhile, write down five positive things about yourself and positive accomplishments you have made, not matter how small you think they may be.  Put that list on your bathroom mirror so that they are the first thing you see each morning.  Hold on to those attributes as you let go of the clutch of those negative feelings regarding the marriage.  You have so much to offer yourself and others.