Going against them

QUESTION: Masters, I have been in a painful marriage for the last 8 yrs with lots of downs more than ups, being emotionally abused and feeling worthless. I had to stay on for my two children. Recently I started having feelings for my ex which is mutual. I want to move on but don’t know how to. No one supports this action as it would be a second marriage and I would be viewed as a failure. Please help, I don’t know why I love this other guyis there a reason? ~Hannah, New Zealand

ANSWER: You are being pulled between two opposite poles asking for you to exercise your freedom of choice. Will you decide to take responsibility for the decisions that feel right to you, or are you going to continue giving up your power to society, letting others dictate your life?

In your question, every decision you reported having taken in the past was because of what other people would think. Nowhere do you say “this is what I feel.” Do all those people, who you feel will not support you, know better than you what is the best thing for you? You have accepted what you have been told by others. What, if anything, will happen to you physically if someone thinks you are a failure? Do you really fail in life if you no longer choose to stay in a situation where you are miserable, or one where others “think” it is what you should do?

When you stayed in the marriage, convinced you had to do so for your children, you were showing them that it was all right for someone to dictate to you what you should do. They saw their mother as fearful and ineffective. You gave them a pattern to follow in their own lives. Do you want them to stay in marriages that are not working, or be controlled by others out of fear?

Your husband is cold, domineering, and insensitive. Your ex is kind, compassionate, and understanding. You are drawn to a relationship that would be satisfying to you. You now have to accept that you are worthy of happiness. You don’t think you are good enough—society says you would be a failure. The people who have led you to believe that are the ones who want you to stay just as you are.

Start making your own choices based on your own feelings. Believe you are worthy of being happy and go out and make it happen.