My Cinderella Story Gone Wrong

Cinderella is one of the leading causes of divorce. If you don’t believe me, read on…

Most women grow up with Disney’s version of a storybook romance fueling their desire to fall in love, get married, have children and live happily ever after. Once we are a little older we continue on our path with movies like Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Woman and The Holiday keeping our fantasies alive. We almost have no chance; we are pumped with romance not only in movies, but in novels, magazines and of course societal pressure to get married before we become old maids. What’s a girl to do? 

We finally meet a guy that seems worthy of our love and we get married. We plan a big wedding and get lost in the excitement of it all. Unfortunately, nobody really tells you that marriage takes a lot of work and dedication, they simply congratulate you.

I was no different. I bought into the whole handsome prince taking me away on his white horse nonsense and I liked it. It’s exciting to think about actually. I met my prince and he was a good guy. I had a ball planning my wedding. I got so busy planning my wedding that I forgot to pay attention to my relationship.

Several years and a few kids into my marriage I decided I wasn’t happy because my ex wasn’t the prince I thought he was going to be. In other words, he didn’t sweep me off my feet each day, tell me how beautiful I was and how much he loved me, buy me lots of big expensive gifts, fly me all over the world showing me all that life had to offer and oh yea, he didn’t help me with all of the extensive details required in running a household and raising little kids. Most of all, he didn’t “make me happy” like the prince is supposed to do.  Or so I thought…Looking back he was a great prince and he did buy me nice things, take me away on nice vacations and buy me a very  nice home to raise out kids in.  I didn’t see it though because I was so buried in my story that I couldn’t see my reality.

I saw those princesses dancing around and singing when they thought about the man they loved and I wasn’t singing or dancing. In fact, I was kind of depressed. I built up years of resentment that made matters even worse.

What I didn’t realize until a year or two after I got divorced was that I was the one who was supposed to “make me happy.” Go figure. All those years I blamed him for not making me happy and it wasn’t even his job. This is a common misconception in relationships on both sides, actually. We so often look outside of ourselves for happiness and in reality; the only person who can make us happy is ourselves. Unfortunately, it is often after the divorce that many people learn this lesson, if ever.

The man in cases like these is often shocked and surprised by the fact that his wife is going to leave him. He thought everything was going along fine. The house was clean, dinner was on the table and he had the house, the wife, the dog and 2.3 kids. He had no idea he was even playing the role of the prince, let alone what the job requirements were. How was he supposed to do the right thing when he didn’t know what that meant? He went off to work each day, working hard to provide for his family like every young man is taught to do. He is told by the men in his life that if he worked hard to get ahead and provide for his family everything would be great.

While I was married I lost my identity and my individuality. I got so busy trying to be the perfect wife and mother that I forgot to take care of me. I forgot what I stood for and what made me who I was. I spent the last 5 years figuring out what makes me happy and becoming the responsible party for making me happy. I urge you to take time after your divorce to “find yourself.” Figure out what makes you happy. Many women lose themselves in relationships and forget what is important to them. Do some exploring and figure out what you really want in a relationship before you get into another one? There is no point in getting into another relationship and making the same mistakes you made in the first one. What’s the hurry? Take some time for yourself and get to know yourself again. I’m willing to bet that you will like the person you find. The time it takes will be worth it because it will shape your future-don’t repeat the past.

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