• Samantha Lehmann

I thought my life was over but really it had just begun


I can only imagine how hard it would be to go through a break up after a long term relationship, I like most of us have had my heart broken, there were a couple of significant ones before I started going out with my husband,

I remember it being very painful, what was wrong with me? Wasn’t I good enough? I now realise they were not the right men for me and I was good enough and there was nothing wrong with me, for whatever reasons, timing, different values, different priorities they didn’t work out and it was all for the best because it lead me to my husband Andrew.

We have been together for 21 years which is half my life, I cant believe that sometimes. Our marriage is certainly not perfect, we have our disagreements on things, we are still trying to navigate our way through being good loving parents. We get caught up in life and neglect our relationship needs but we try to work on that and have time away together or go out on dates.

What I love about our marriage is that I can count on him, he is an incredibly loyal person, he has the best sense of humour and most of all he accepts me completely and loves me for me. He is truly my best friend and I know I am blessed to have such a good man in my life. When I think about the type of men I dated before him their values were different, they were not humble or as caring as Andrew and they were definitely more selfish and immature maybe they have grown into good men and I hope they have but at the time I needed someone just like Andrew. I also think having a beautiful loving father helped me choose someone kind and special, I dated dodgy guys but I never married one.

I’ve had to witness a couple of very close friends going through a break up after a long term relationship, it’s painful to see someone you care about so much go through so much stress and upheaval it’s difficult to know what to do and how to help support them, Being there for them unconditionally is a start and to assist where you can for practical things like helping out with the kids or cooking some meals for her and her family is also good during the early days as they adjust to the changes at home.

When I started this business I knew I had to create something helpful for people going through a divorce or relationship break up. Sending someone a comforting gift box can communicate how much you care and also let them know that you are there for them.

Both men and women experience grief during the breakdown of a marriage or a long term relationship so finding something suitable for them is now made easy through The Empathy Gift Co. I have sourced some wonderful helpful books from writers who understand the pain and challenges of a breakup, great advice that really does help. I have also got some fantastic pampering products for your special people to feel confident and bring about some calm as they go through these stressful changes.

Today I interviewed a beautiful woman called Sarah, Sarah was kind enough to open up to me about her experience of going through a divorce.

Sam – How long were you together and what was great about your relationship?

Sarah We were together for 14 years, married for 10 of those. Initially our relationship was fun and free and easy, but he pushed the envelope with drinking and partying which I thought would stop once we were married. It didn't.

He was really keen to have kids and he promised me once they arrived that he'd change, but he never did. Things got progressively worse and it felt like he resented me and the kids for getting in the way of his lifestyle. He never wanted to do anything with us as a family and we just drifted apart...and I was engulfed with loneliness.

Sam – Describe some of the hard times in your relationship...

Sarah - He was out of work for about 2 years after changing jobs. I went back to work full time and felt completely overwhelmed with being a mother, being responsible for the finances and running a house. He did little to help and his party lifestyle continued. As fast as I was earning money, he was spending it and our mortgage grew and grew. I'd resigned to the fact that this was my life. I felt miserable, and trapped. At this point of our marriage there was no intimacy. We were like flat mates. We argued a lot and I cried a lot. He convinced me I was stressed because of having small children and my work. I was exhausted and very thin.

Sam – When you knew the relationship was over and you made this break, what were some of the biggest challenges?

Not long after this I discovered he was having an affair. I wasn't shattered...but relieved almost. I was scared for my kids though. I didn't want this for them. I'd seen other families go through this and it's awful. He wanted to try and stay together and work things out, but I couldn't. I knew at this point that I wasn't in love with him. I don't think I had been for quite some time.

I talked a lot to friends and family, my mum and generally people I respected and valued. They were all echoing the same sentiments.... "we'll support any decision you make, but you deserve so much better." I didn't believe it at the time, but I knew I could not spend one more day being married to this man. I'd been so giving and supportive throughout our marriage, but I was done. I knew I had the support to leave. My family surrounded me like a pack of wolves and protected me and my kids...... and I asked him for a divorce.

Sam – How did you and your kids cope with the break up and changes to the family unit?

Sarah - Initially I was scared...and a little bit excited to be completely honest. My kids though, were all over the place. They were confused, clingy and really poorly behaved. They wouldn't sleep in their own beds, were waking up through the night and mornings were a nightmare. I was overtired, as were they, and it was generally a struggle. Slowly I slipped in to mild depression. I acknowledged that I wasn't coping and got the help I needed and with medication and counselling I got through it.

The counselling really helped me understand what my kids were going through and how best to deal with it. They needed more routine and lots of cuddles and reassurance. Slowly but surely things got easier. Basically everything in my life apart from work had to go on the back burner and I had to focus on my kids.

Sam - Do you think this experience has changed you?

Sarah -This experience has changed me, definitely it has. I'm still the same person, kind, giving, fun... but I'm a lot stronger. I don't let people push me around and I make my own decisions. I love that. If I needed support earlier on I'd go to my family for advice whether it be financial/emotional or generally just to bounce ideas off them.

I have a partner now and he's a great support. He sometimes says that I'm a control freak. I'm working on that.

Sam - What advice could you offer to anyone going through a break up?

Sarah -

*Try and keep it civil. No matter how much the person has hurt or disappointed you, keep your cool.

*If kids are involved, make them your focus. Give them lots of affection and reassurance that everything is going to be ok.

*Don't tell people your business.

*Don't be in a hurry to date. Give yourself time to grieve and heal before you embark on a new romantic relationship.

*getting a divorce is not the end of the world. Just don't make the same mistakes in your next relationship. Learn.

*seek professional help ie) lawyer, mortgage broker, financial consultant, Psychologist

*surround yourself with good, positive, caring people. They're the only ones who'll be there in the end.

Looking back, I thought my life was over. I know now it was only just beginning.

Id like to thank Sarah for being so open about her marriage break up and generous with her helpful advice, I really hope that someone reading this will find some hope and comfort that they too can come out the other side of a relationship break up stronger and happier and if so be find the man of your dreams like Sarah has now.

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