Mature Love

Let’s face it with the wave of reality television society obviously loves drama. We thrive on. We take it in.  We gravitate towards it. In the last 2 years I have taken on a journey to dismiss a lot of the drama in my life in the form of television and media. In addition to that in the last few years I have eliminated drama in my personal life and especially in marriage.

I think about the wonder years of college. Here I had come from this small town and I had recently been holding on to my high school sweetheart. I was so torn on keeping up this relationship but happy to start this new adult life. With limited time I ended one relationship and set out on a journey to find myself. In the midst of finding myself, I found a new relationship. In the beginning I kept telling myself to keep my options open but I fell hard and heavy with this tall glass of water who I later would end up marrying and having a family.  Oh the relationship goals I hear people speak of when I post my beautiful family is encouraging.  It encourages my husband and I to honor each other more and to be the example to ourselves and children.

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Let me dip my baby toe into the early years when we weren’t as gracious in relating to one another as we should. The drama and fights and break ups to make up were really out-of-pocket. My college years were filled with too much of it.  Our friends God bless their hearts had seen their fair share. From me moving off campus, to not being able to go down the street without a fight, goodness. Yes not anything physical but all that ratchet yelling could have made a lot of this reality television look like Elmo’s World. We were in love and I will speak for me unable to handle and know what adult love was supposed to look like. The cursing each other out, seeing or attempting to see other folks (depending on who you ask), acting a fool in public, breaking up and making up and not telling others, just exhausting to write let alone live. Back in the day it seemed like a whirlwind. It seemed normal. Everyone on campus knew we were toxic and out-of-pocket. Just a mess!

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Separating and allowing space and time and for me to honestly deal with some inner struggles led us back to each other. People think we just woke up one day and decided to give this thing called love a try. We were tested in that love several times almost ending our marriage. What turned things around from college and marriage was living and learning about myself. Finding out what worked for me. I found out my passions. I had learned to live with myself enough to not allow someone else to come into my space that wouldn’t allow me to be me. This allowance has come up several times in our current marriage. The ability to let your partner balance their lives with you is necessary. One day in our car we were at the point of divorce, he looked at me and said, “are we in or out?” He said if we are in lets stick together and make it and if we are out, lets find a way to be honorable with our children.  He looked me in my eyes and I knew he wasn’t playing.

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We at that moment lived by our mantra” us against the world.” We had stated that mantra in college but it solidified with me and him that day. That was at least 2 years into our marriage. There are no cute pictures you can take when two people have kids and are literally walking around like hateful roommates. What picture can you show when you are at the point of no return?  what picture can you show when you have enough and only doing the bare minimal?  So I always go back to the picture below.  When we were happy and made the decision to love each other forever. The time where we were so in love that nothing before that mattered and now nothing after should be to the point where we can’t work together.  We are willing to be with one another and this picture reminds me to take a mental break, wait for an answer, love despite of, and go back to the basics of what makes us, us!

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We don’t have the answers. We live each day but we know what works for us. We were friends first. We have “truth moments.” We give each safe space to be vulnerable.  We are learning to listen and talk to and not at each other. These are things that we learned in counseling the first months of our first year! I stepped out what we should be in our marriage and looked at the value of what we are able to make and hold on to when disaster hits. We are stronger together because we still want to be teammates in this thing called life.  As holidays like Valentine’s Day comes we love love or at least I who loves all holidays love these and any love related holidays, but to know that we are working through things and have matured beyond the college days is a miracle of staying the course! I want to leave a highlight with you, don’t think you have to struggle to get to this great point. If you can avoid it, please do so. Know yourself before you enter any relationship. The best thing is to work on you, get counseling before considering dating because uniting with a person can be a trigger in itself, and be clear about boundaries.  I am not glorifying bad behavior.  You can have healthy love. I am glad that we did the work to get to where we are. Nobody wants that perfect love story, but our love story is perfectly fitting for us!

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Ask Toi: Follow up To the Wife who’s Husband’s Mother paid him to leave her

So this was a suggestion from a reader to find out what happened to the couple whose mother paid the husband to leave his wife and he took the money:

If you didn’t get a chance to read the original article, get it here

The update is that they are happily divorced. They hadn’t been married that long and the mother in law was an issue throughout the relationship. The wife once she knew that he had taken the money, stayed about 6 months so she could save money to move out. She moved out and filed for divorced the same day. She is currently not dating but in school and focusing on what she wants to do. She stated that leaving was the  hardest yet best decision she could have made. She knew that her mother in law was messy but not that messy. She said that the part that hurt the most was that he took the money stating he was going to use the money for them to buy a house together.

I asked her about any red flags and she stated the following:

The mother in law definitely had a vote in what the couple did. The husband would talk to the mother in law every time an argument or disagreement was had. She also noticed that the son had been giving the mother in law large amounts of money and would be late paying bills. The mother in law was always told and then the money was borrowed back. She also noticed that the mother in law spent all of her time at the couple’s home. She would insist she needed to see her son daily. Anytime she would assert herself in her own home, the mother in law would tell the son that she was being disrespectful towards her.

I think this was by far the worst of a mother in law story I have heard to date. I have never personally experienced anything so horrible. I will say that a marriage needs to be about the husband and wife and not letting everyone in.  No one has more of a vote than the two individuals that made the covenant. Being balanced is knowing when to vent and when to learn to heal and deal with your spouse. I have always said be careful of the information that you give to others about your relationship. You will get over things quicker than the outsider. Mother in-laws should always be respected and so should wives. There should be attempts to resolve issues where both can be honored. However if a mother is disrespecting your wife you should speak up.

I am so sorry that you had to go through that but when people show you who you are its wise to believe them. I wish you much success in school and that you continue to develop into the woman you are meant to be.  It sounds like you really weren’t going to win in this situation. If divorce was for you and you’re happy I wish you much more happiness in all that you do. There is someone who is going to be on the same page of life and relationship when you get to that point of wanting to get back out and date. In the mean time, study hard and enjoy!

Ask Toi…..Marriage and Divorce Edition?

So its been a minute since I have openly answered my Ask Toi segment although I have privately given the asking party their answers.  Keep in mind that if you want to Ask Toi; please send your email to toitimeblog@gmail.com

I will answer your question and keep you completely anonymous.  Feel free to ask any question that you may want. If it’s about me or if you’re asking something about me or my family I reserve all rights not to answer.

Ask Toi: my husband wants a divorce but I want to work it out, how can I proceed?

Well there is this old saying that it takes two to tango and that is true in a marriage. It takes two people who are willing to do the work to make a marriage work.  We keep believing that this lovey dovey feeling is all we need to live on to sustain a marriage. Real life hits in marriage because you have a mirror up to you being reflected from your partner. They know all of your dark secrets. They know who you are offline and online.  They know the little things about you that make you tick or make them tick too.  However what makes folks stay? Some say its the willingness and knowing that no one is perfect and that the flaws present isn’t enough to send them packing. If your husband wants a divorce has he given you a reason? If you say yes, than you know why he wants out and you know if its workable situation. You can ask him if he’s willing to go to a few counseling sessions prior to filling. Let me help you with some advice on counseling.

When you go if he’s willing to go, keep in mind that not only will this space give you answers its going to make you mad. You will hear all kinds of things being said. It may not stop the divorce. Let me repeat that, it may not stop your husband after counseling from filing for divorce.  Your objective is to listen and pour out. Sometimes it may give you closure.  Divorce is messy at times even when its amicable. Love hurts. However if you come to the conclusion that your husband is either unwilling to go to counseling, or once in counseling still wants a divorce, you can either fight him on it or give him what he wants. As a married woman this is a personal decision that my advice can’t give you. This is a battle within yourself and with him where you go from there. What I will say is there is life after divorce. I know that you can pull through it and gather yourself and make a great life for yourself with or without a husband. Don’t let this define you but know this is going to a bumpy ride. Also know some men or women say they want a divorce to inflict pain they aren’t willing to address with their partner. Please never use divorce as a way to punish but only use it if you are ready to go through it. Also be clear in who you let in during this time. Don’t speak on everything with everyone around you. They can’t push the decision one way or another. You do not need everyone in your ear influencing you. Be clear with your husband as much as you can. Start finding ways to practice some extra self-care. Regardless of how it goes, this is a hard hit to you and your emotions. I really hope things work out for you and his best interest.

Ask Toi: My Husband is different online than he is in real life? Its draining me and I don’t know what to do, how do I handle it? He is gone for days at a time and comes home with gifts….

Well just to let my readers know the wife stated that the husband appears to be super romantic online towards her but in real life he is the polar opposite.

Now that we got that little disclaimer out the way let’s proceed. We all want to put our best foot forward online. Online is a mix of real life with touches of filters. Some of those filters only filter pics and some of them distort who we really are. This is why it’s always to reverse the situation and show nice pics but be real so that your online and your offline can meet.  Your husband wanting the world to know that he loves you online but is distant in real life, can go days without speaking is an issue. I would suggest that you bring it to him. I would take him out where you can change the atmosphere. Tell him you are glad that he paints the relationship online as beautiful. Keep that in mind because your issues isn’t in what he puts online it’s what he does toward you offline.

Down right not talking for a week, or leaving the house for days as you suggested is disrespectful. No husband can just up and leave for days talking about he’s mad. His behavior is suggestive to say the least. I have a lot of married male friends and at no time has any of them rolled out for days at a time unless that wife and them were in a separated lifestyle. This leave and go where is my question? Cause if every time it gets hard, he runs is showing you he isn’t equipped to handle this and somebody got to be clear that they still want to be married. He is making himself appear that he’s doing more in the streets if nothing else leaving without being honest about his whereabouts. Nobody should have that type of relationship in a marriage. That is the type of thing, a boyfriend does not a husband.  He either wants his cake and eat it too or wants it to appear that way. I mean that is my being nice about it but in reality no man would think he could come home bearing gifts unless this has been how its been and you have accepted it. Just because you have before the only way to let him know that he can’t would be to show him better than you can tell him. I would talk to him about it and when he rolled out again I would have met with my attorney to draw up the paperwork for a legal separation. I would present it to him (ONLY IF I PLAN TO PULL THE TRIGGER). Please don’t this on a I hope that he won’t do it. Be prepared to file if you are serious. This whole thing of playing games has to stop with you. If you one of these women that like to bark with no bite, this plan isn’t for you. You can do the whole reason with him and plead with him until you are sick AND tired of this. Like my momma would tell me, you can be sick one day. Tired the next day, but when both sick and tired comes together for real, it evokes change in you.

How much are you worth?  If you are only worth some flowers and trinkets that’s what he is going to keep giving. If you are worth more than he can give by doing the right thing, than you do the right thing for you. It may mean that the loving husband online is going to have to be without you. Expect backlash. He has created an online persona of the supportive loving husband. Your peace is worth you leaving. There is not an ounce of you that should be more concerned over what folks outside of your marriage think while you take on the impact of his real life persona. You are stressed out, and in an unloving marriage. No woman is deserving of that treatment.  I pray you protection and love as you go through this. It’s time to get a plan and work that plan!

Fizzle Chronicles

Oh love you are amazing! You give me goosebumps! You make me feel like I can do anything! Ever have that feeling? It’s amazing isn’t it?! However if you really been in love with the right one you know there are times when things can go left and quick! So how do you deal with the fizzle of love?!

What’s love got to do with it?

I think one of the many faces of love is work. We have been conditioned from society and movies that a man finds a woman and they live happily ever. So sweet! What we know is that happily ever comes from two happy, sound and whole individuals who arrive at a balance and work together. Love is amazing but without keeping it balanced will lead to this false sense of what love looks like. This can be super damaging.

Love stories vs Real Life

When I first got married I had every intention of having anything and everything say wife. Wife shirts, wife socks, cups anything. I was going to wear lingerie at least 3 days a week and make extravagant meals. Oh how television can be a real drag when real life hits! Can you do all of those things yes you can but keeping it spicy means getting spice and being realistic. I definitely didn’t meet that expectation I put on myself in our first year! However truth moment: I didn’t put any effort at all. So between being a sex kitten and sleep deprived there is a happy medium.

Celebrate the Moments

When I first got married I asked seasoned married folks what they did to survive. I got all kinds of answers but the one that stuck with me the most was celebrating moments. I talked to my husband and we decided to incorporate that in our own marriage. So we celebrate man-made holidays, our own fun and we celebrate each other’s successes and laugh and cry together at our failures. So that may mean a glass of wine for landing a new client, to celebrating each other individual success such as when I hit 1000 followers on Twitter for the blog. Every little thing is celebrated as much as possible. This keeps things light even in the dark days that come and go! The way you celebrate can be super small from a favorite treat to a great day night.

Women can plan date nights

My husband is A1 on dates. That’s always been his thing! From our first date to the most reason he knows how to plan a night for two. As I’ve gotten more secure in my own skin, I’ve stepped up to the plate. This means planning and organizing dates from the sitter to the drop off. I definitely feel like a boss when that check comes to me and I can happily pay for it! I also just like he does me make sure he knows he got to put out at the end! It’s fun! It’s fun planning and watching him enjoy a night just like he does for me!

Sex

We all know the one area that love can fizzle and that’s in the area of sex. I don’t know about you but whether married or not if I’m in a committed relationship, sex is happening. There are a millions reasons as to why sex becomes an issue. The solution is connecting outside of the bedroom so it can be lights out in the bedroom. If your partner isn’t getting what they need outside of the bedroom then the couple AND individual have to do their part to set it straight. Ladies I get it, but don’t let that man suffer in the bedroom because you and him aren’t willing to do the work outside and same for the men!

It Takes Two

Thanks to Rob Base we know a lot of things takes two and it definitely takes two to make a thing go right! Two individuals bear the responsibility in their individual and coupled success. Work needs to be done! Fizzles happen the most when you take your eyes off of the balance in life. Kids are a handful, work can be draining, and life well it can suck! However you have the power to balance yourself and balance the love you and your sweetheart have made!

Take the time to focus on the fizzle and spark it back up! You owe it to each other!!

Securing the Bag, Secure it All!

Ladies are securing bags everyday. The term securing the bag is in the context of getting your money or closing deals. I battle back and forth on using the term in the everyday life of just working since in my mind everyone is supposed to work, but again it’s my own personal thought. While your securing your bag be sure to secure your own emotions and definitely your body.  How many women worrying about securing the man, the job, the car, the section 8 payments sorry I had to go there because there are many who think that is life.  Ladies, being healthy, working out, eating right, drinking water, talking right to your kids, traveling, etc is a full-time job.  All of the things that we do to be secure in life comes at price points. What’s more pricey than you body and sexual health?  How many times does a woman have to lay down with a man thinking he is the bag.  He is not if you had a doubt.  He is not. What you secure on your own by hard work is but don’t in heat and not remember that.  Sex is great but its better in the right way.

Nothing in, Nothing Out

So back in the day the old mothers would tell you to save yourself for marriage. They meant it! Not the new way of saving yourself where you do everything but sex! If you don’t have nothing going in, won’t nothing come out. That’s a given. Now that goes for traditional virgins and born again virgins. If this non sex life is your life be sure that’s a decision you want. Don’t do it cause you are afraid of what someone will think. You’re the only one that has to combat them urges when they come. You can say what you will but you alone are in charge of that. Don’t let peer pressure to give it up or hold it move you one or the other. Sexual health is a personal decision-more on that later!

If you aren’t of that mindset then you better play by the rules of the land where you secure some birth control. The pull out method is one of the weakest methods. So don’t be found out here with a new boo telling you that it will work. Don’t even let the old boo tell you that mess either. It don’t work like you think. Many a baby has been made from that weak move.

We decided…

It’s so nice to have a partner that will agree or support your decisions. Please understand as a woman who you and you alone will have that child. All the support in the world hasn’t stopped women from having to take care of babies alone. Every woman didn’t lay down with a jerk or at least what they thought was one in the beginning. Some of these men have been Prince Charming!  Some have been husbands who have decided for whatever their reasons are, they don’t want to be apart anymore.  You the woman have to decide that if you aren’t ready to be a single mom at any given point in life, do not at that point or continue to have babies with any man.  Be careful.  This is a lifetime commitment that society has allowed men to be able to walk away from.  Note to my men this isn’t to bash you but to bring awareness.  This is the conversation that regardless of status you should be having.  Married women aren’t exempt.  My mom told me the realist message after I got engaged.  Marriage isn’t the end all be all.  You could be single at any moment.  The life you have built, can change and you better be sure that you are able and ready to take on that life by yourself should something change.

So yes go in with the we with the mindset of an I at any time am willing to bring this life on and take on all it takes on.  If you can’t say that with the partner you are with, then that’s your number one issue and your second issue is that if you say this will work, I can do this than be sure your anchor holds or you have the ability to mindset to push past any hindrances that may come.  Yes we know women are strong they can take it but the number one thing divorced women or women who partners have walked off or may have passed away say is that they never thought about this moment.  Life is beautiful but keep those moments in the back of your mind. Secure your future.  One more note, do NOT let a boyfriend or a fiance push you into any decision. This means no tubes tied, no having babies if that is not something YOU can live with.  Listen husbands don’t get a full pass. I know of many husbands who force their wives to continue in childbirth and at the end of the day those same men weren’t supportive after the baby is born.  It’s cute to have a baby with your husband until you’re in the house bare feet and pregnant with no job security, going through depression and can’t get that same husband to change one diaper.  Count up the cost.  Your mental piece is worth it.  Not to mention the physical needs…  The one thing I didn’t do was secure my own sexual health with my own husband. Gasp.  I alone should have taken my birth control, gotten my tubes tied before I did because that’s what I wanted to do and should have done.

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Don’t look for the tea.  I am good.  There’s no of my goodness what if her kids read this and think they didn’t want them.  STAWP!!!!!!! That is nowhere near the case.  However as much as I loved my boyfriend who turned my fiance who turned my husband,  it wasn’t his decision to make on the continuance of childbirth.  When my second child came it was what it was.  I was in-between decisions and careless on making a decision for birth control when my 3rd came.  She wasn’t a mistake at ALL.  None of my kids were regardless of how much the church folks was whispering.  NONE of my kids were a mistake but I failed myself in how I secured my sexual health.  I love the family that my husband and I have built. I wouldn’t change it but I can help other women be wise. That’s about real as it can get. It is what it is.  Thankful to my husband who he was the one who made me see it that way.  Yes he had his part we both get that but if we can get the younger generation to see the big picture from this, then it was all worth it.  Secure your sexual health married, divorced, seeking, not in the sex game, don’t know where things stand, whomever you may be secure everything not just the bag.

 

Ask Toi: How do you deal with someone who Deflects all the time?

Consistency and straightforwardness.  There is no other way.  You will have to find a way not to be like the person you are dealing with.  Be clear and concise.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  People who deflect are often not the type of person who opens up to faults.  It’s always someone else’s fault.  For example, the friend that complains that the utility company is always giving them a hard time but doesn’t ever want to admit that they make a thousand payment arrangements that they may not honor, or just simply doesn’t have a good payment history to begin with.

If you are in a romantic relationship this can be hard.  You address a situation with them. They make a billion excuses and you are left frustrated.  Look at the level of relationship. Are you dating?  Maybe this is a deal breaker for you.  You try to work with it unless its continual dishonesty and then you decide that this person doesn’t meet your standard.  Is it in a marriage?  Try finding ways to approach them. If none of these thing work, get a 3rd party to help.  If you, and the 3rd party can’t get them to see the error of their ways, you may want to consider some soul-searching.  It’s 2018 and I am not for breaking up families at all.  Let me say that for the folks in the back, breaking up families is not the will.  However what else isn’t the will is doing the work for two people.  This is not how relationships are supposed to work romantic or not.  So be wiser this year, work on you.  Be clear when you deal with a deflector and attempt to make some things work.  However if you know without a shadow of a doubt that you have exhausted ALL of your means, find ways to either let nature do its thing with the relationship or hit it on the head and roll.

What do I mean about nature taking its course?

If it is a friend that is always deflecting you might find that you spend less time with them. They will begin to wonder what is going on.  Have a talk and say I brought up a few issues and you dismissed them with your actions. Be clear in how they were dismissive and let them know that this is unacceptable.  If it is someone you are romantic with, if they aren’t self indulged they may notice that things aren’t what they once was.  Bring that up and remind them how their actions continue to be dismissive.  Have a plan if its someone you are romantically with.  Sometimes we sit around knowing that things should end but because we don’t want to hurt their feelings, we wait and pray and hope they will end it. Put your big girl/boy drawls on and face the music.  If is marriage you can’t be in a one-sided marriage.  I know a lot of miserable people who are in these marriages and literally cry or sad all the time.  This can’t be at this point. It’s one thing to say someone else is doing ABC, but it’s another to stay rooted just for the sake of saying you didn’t give up.  You not giving up should be in your actions.  Working all the time to be the change you want to see. Making sure you meet your partner full way to what they need and if you can say yes I have done that but…. you haven’t done all you can.  Let’s knock this I do for them but they….. If there is a they you have to own that something you have allowed may be the cause for the set up in how they treat you.  Did you let a few things slide?  Has things always been a certain way, and now you are growing and changing? There is nothing wrong with growth and change at ALL. You will need to bring up the change to your partner and if they love you they will do their work to be a better version of themselves to you.  No need for dead weight in 2018!  Don’t be the weight to your partner but don’t take deflecting excuses this year either.

Gabrielle Union’s We’re Going to Need More Wine

I am still reading this but have you ever had a moment of pause? I just had mine today. I am almost done with the book and I had to take a pause. There are a thousand and one things in this book that made me jump, cry, or just sit and pause but today’s pause I have to share.

In her chapter, “On mean women and good dogs, Gabrielle describes a boxing session she had with her trainer and life coach.  The coach asked her what 10 things made her happy.  She couldn’t think of 10 things.  The coach reminded her if she couldn’t find 10 things to make her happy what made her so sure she should have gotten married. Pause. This was my pause. I have been in this dark place.  I cried thinking of how I cried in marriage counseling with my husband snotting and having an entire fit over what he was doing, what he wasn’t doing, and why I was ready to leave him. Pause.  I was ready to leave my college sweetheart for a few reasons.  One we have an extremely long and interesting history.  It spans over 10 years almost 20 to be exact off  and on.  This alone was not a recipe to be married.  Two, I got married because I loved him but I also loved what I thought he was when we were together in college.  Pause.  This is not marital love.  This is not one of those things that you rush down the aisle for. I was miserable in my own skin.  I loved my husband, I knew we had been through HELL and back but I didn’t know who I was.  I was a 30/31-year-old women who had put all of my eggs in one basket and with this basket he was supposed to come in and do all the work.  He was supposed to make me smile with gifts. He was supposed to initiate sex while I went with the flow. He was supposed to be my happiness.  How did that work out? Not good if you can imagine. He did it for a while. He opened my life even when we met in college to the finest of things. If things was what I wanted, he got it. His love language is gifts.  He did it well. I can’t even remember what I could have wanted that he wouldn’t have worked his entire behind to get me.  However after the gifts, what did I have to give. Not a damn thing. He was supposed to do the work while I sat pretty.  I was more like pretty damn miserable and it was causing a wedge in our marriage and relationship.

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Ladies this is not how marriage starts off.  This is how marriage will end.  Had I not taken a chance to go to martial counseling the divorce would have been finalized.  Ladies, had I not gone to counseling on my own after that, I would be a miserable rut. NO man or woman is your source.  Let me repeat that for the folks way, way in the back-they are not your source.   You have to come with more than some thighs or checking account to make things work.  You have to be able to be whole before you can unite.  We had done it backwards or at least I did. I take full responsiblity for my part. I came in looking for a dream.  College sweethearts unite, marry and build a family. It sounded cliché and enough until it wasn’t.  Gabrielle is spilling the tea that every woman and man better get with as your progress through life. If Gabrielle or you or me can’t find things that make you happy, that gives you purpose how in God’s green Earth are you to survive?

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Take a point in this book and the tea I am spilling on what I did or didn’t do to get secure.  So many women and men want marriage but have done zero work on themselves.  You haven’t pulled one credit report to fix your own junk.  You realize that when you get married they marry that junk.  You can’t just let it pile up and hope it goes away because it won’t.  You work a job instead of finding a career.  You have never been out of the country or traveled with friends or even by yourself but you’re ready for marriage or just life.  Remember not everyone wants to be married. Marriage is not the end all.  So to my married friends stop selling these fast dreams.  You walk around with your piece of rock and feel and act as if you have made it.  You are the main ones like me (I was) out here stunting on your single friends like you got some badge of honor.  Your husband ain’t seen a genuine smile out of you in years.  You are miserable and you making his life just as miserable. Just stop.  Your husband or wife ain’t seen the real you since Jesus was a baby.  You hide with the lights off and you fake like everything is everything-just stop!

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Get clear.  Self love is important. You should be able to name more than 10 things that make you happy.  These are not to be thought of things that make you temporary smile.  I mean 10 genuine things that make you happy.  The things that makes you smile about yourself.  If you can’t say that, work on that before you connect with another person. Do that while you are with another person. I had to be real with myself during the months it took.  I was frustrated with the fact that I had to go to counseling but I was serious that even if he and I went our separate ways, at least I could walk out whole and happy even if that meant I had to revert to my maiden name.  Ladies and gentleman the time for this soul-searching is ever-present.  Get there and get clear.  To say it lightly, I need a glass of wine just bringing up these old emotions. Well played Gabrielle, well-played.