Though I still struggle with feelings of loneliness and inadequacy, I've come a long way

When my husband left, I had to raise our two kids as a single mom. It was unbearable at first, but life got better as I left bitterness and regret behind. I took responsibility for my part in the failure of our marriage and learned that I could be complete without my husband. This is my story.

Was blown sideways and felt totally numb inside. Life had changed instantly. My husband told me he loved someone else and had slept with her. He had found his soulmate — and it wasn’t me.

My job description changed from stay-at-home mom to CEO of all the household responsibilities. It also meant re-entry into the workforce after seven years. Sometimes my reality was working two jobs to make ends meet while I was raising my kids. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, and my ex told me he didn’t think I would.

Our close group of friends was torn apart, and I knew people were whispering about me behind my back: “Did you hear about what happened to Linda?” My heart was shattered. I felt shame, regret, guilt, and failure — but mostly shock. This wasn’t supposed to happen to our family. We were the family that lived in a nice neighborhood, had two children, and so many friends.

What was wrong with me? Talk about feelings of incompetence and failure.

In my mind, I had become a statistic: a single, divorced mother. Even my income tax status said, "divorced". I would never have guessed this would be how I’d one day be defined.

I had to find out who Linda really was. What were my likes, dislikes, and skills? And what new skills should I learn? For a long time, I felt sad and very tired. It was hard to admit I needed anti-depressants to help me crawl out of the dark tunnel. I cried a lot and felt I should have bought stock in the tissue industry.

I wanted our family to be back the way it was... but happier and healthier, dealing with conflicts that we could have worked out. I wanted a second shot.

This single mom journey was lonely, and it hurt! I felt like I had been traded in for a newer model, and my kids were having fun with my ex’s girlfriend. My ex-husband began to climb the corporate ladder, and while he was faithful with child support and paying for the kids’ activities, he was also buying his girlfriend diamonds and taking her on trips. I had put him through his education living on a shoestring budget. I continued to struggle financially, while it seemed like he lived a life of ease.

Life was about the new normal. I had a new identity and new responsibilities. I felt I had to be Mom and Dad in our home, I had new financial challenges, to say the least, and had to learn new skills as I re-entered the workplace. There were days when I would go into a downward spiral of sheer panic. Rent was due, and my car just broke down. How on earth could I stretch my already over-extended budget? During those times, I was more aware than ever of how alone I was.

Though I still struggle with feelings of loneliness and inadequacy, I've come a long way. I've been able to embrace who I really am: a mom, a divorcée, an employee, and friend.
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