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Road Map to Independence
Things to do in a bad marriage…
After 25 years as a housewife and a mother, I was lost. My marriage was going downhill, and I had to figure out how to save my kids and myself. Eight years later, I’m penning these tips in the hope that they may help someone.
1.Accept the problem and take charge. Realise that you are alone and be willing to do the hard work to change you and thus the situation.
2.Learn to drive a car or any vehicle (if you don’t already). This is the first step to your freedom. Being mobile and independent in every way is crucial. Also, it boosts self-confidence.
3.Delve into yourself and figure out things that make you happy and that you are good at. Then find a way to market your skills. This could be cooking, knitting, gardening, teaching, or anything else.
4.Be open and try multiple things to find what you’re good at. It turns out that the thing I never considered doing or thought was worth much is now my passion and very worthwhile. Needless to say, financial independence is paramount. The confidence gained from making your own money is second to none. So, Don’t say “I can’t” . Say “I’ll try”.
5.Upskill yourself or learn a new skill. One that will help you make money. I did a month-long, expensive certification out of Delhi. H refused to pay, and I saved up for a long time.
6.Connect with old friends if you haven’t already. They know the real you and will unknowingly guide you to it.
7.Surround yourself with happy, confident people doing well for themselves. They will inspire you.
8.If your parents, siblings, or family aren’t supportive types, avoid sharing your issues with them in the beginning. First, sort them out yourself.
9.Also, there is NO need to tell everyone everything! You are answerable to yourself and nobody else. Often, it leads to self pity and wallowing in misery is a waste of time. Some may not be able to help, some may secretly not wish you well. So, just focus on improving yourself.
10.Be alert, trust your instincts. I knew my H was cheating and we’d fight like crazy. But, I’d spend the day not crying but figuring out stuff I needed to do if our marriage breaks.
11.Be Smart, not Stupid. Secure your Stree Dhan. Get a locker in your own name and put away your jewellery and important documents. Get a bank account in your own name and start depositing your savings there. Also, create a new email account, scan your documents, and save them there too.
12.Be Financially Savvy. Many women say I don’t understand money. But we all understand Savings. So, save as much as you can and Invest it. Read books, learn, ask questions, and then invest in your own Demat account. Again, needless to say, there’s no need to tell anyone how much you have or where you’ve invested.
13.If you have questions, ask! Ask in the community; you will find someone who will help and guide you. I found a lawyer and consulted her to learn my rights. She guided me towards ways to secure myself in all possible situations.
14.Stop playing the Victim Card. Play the smart woman card. When I confronted my H about his infidelity and what he wanted for the marriage, he wasn’t open to a divorce but was willing to make me secure. I told him to give me a house solely in my name, as that would make the kids and me secure. He transferred his share of our jointly owned house to me with great difficulty. But he did.
15.Keep going; Don’t stop walking! There will be plenty of low days. You will hit rock bottom, but remember, you will emerge strong. On the lowest day of my life, I harmed myself physically and ended up in the hospital. My kids were devastated to see my state. Eight years down the line, they are super proud to see their physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially Strong Mom. I’m their ‘go-to’ person for all kinds of important decisions.
16.Healing sessions helped to recognise the issues and get rid of unknown, deep traumas and triggers. Also, Self-help books worked.
17.No Job is big or small. I kept searching for a job that would pay me what I’m worth (as told to me by H), thus wasting precious years. Meanwhile, I tried my hand at a business selling stuff (Instagram didn’t exist then). I stayed alert and kept looking. One day, a training workshop popped up on Facebook. I did that and started getting small jobs, but they weren’t regular. I was paid Rs 2500 for a day’s job where I had to travel for over 2 hours sometimes. But work had started. I would work 4-5 days a month. Another freelance opportunity came up that paid Rs. 350 an hour. I did both, and the second company offered me a full time job and a promotion. I worked there for 3 years, gained confidence, and was loved and appreciated by clients and my boss. I stepped out on my own, was scared, nervous but confident of my skills at the same time, and took the plunge. The first month itself, I made double my salary. That strengthened my belief in myself.
18.Prioritize. When I went away to do my intense and expensive course, he spent more time with his friend. I was fully aware of this, but I focused on my studies as that was my priority, his affair wasn’t. I knew what he was up to, and I came back and dealt with it head-on. So, Focus on what’s important at that time.
19. Believe in yourself. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Today, I have a thriving business, a good bank balance and investments, travel all over the world with my own money, make my own decisions, and yes, own the house we live in. I’m still married, but I’m detached. He also looks up to me and takes my advice on important decisions, especially financial ones. He never expected to see this side of me, but now that he does, he respects it. Thanks to him and his crap, I found myself.
20. Life comes full circle. The man who didn’t want me to work was without a job during Covid while my work moved online and I got more business. He was grateful for my work then. Covid was a great leveller as he was home, but saw me work for more than 8 hours, spend on everything, take care of the home, save, and invest. So have faith.
21. Love yourself and Enjoy your own company. It reduces dependence on others too. After doing business for 2 years, I went to the U.K. to study further and travelled for a week more. He was only informed of my travel plans (not asked) and was shocked. However, he couldn’t stop me, as I was funding the entire trip. This was my first solo trip, and it was super empowering. It was as if I were someone else. I now do a couple of solo trips a year with the new me.
Now I love to spend time with my plants and travel to the mountains mostly Solo.
Therefore, to all the ladies out there, turn a bad situation to your benefit—not easy, but not Impossible either. You have the power within you to do it!
When life gives you lemons, make Lemon sorbet 🙂