I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to do, where I want to go, and what dreams I have had that were not allowed to blossom because WH didn't want to expand his horizons or do anything other than the status quo. I let my dreams be smushed under his because I thought that was what I was supposed to do as a loving and supportive wife - you give up things as a form of compromise, don't you?
So, I have been thinking about where I was the most happy - where I have longed to be ever since I left - and that is the UK. STBXH is from UK and that is where we met - but he is happy living here and would never even consider moving back when I suggested it. Perhaps that is why I held on to the relationship for so long, because I saw him as my "ticket" back to there someday. I now see that I can make my own way back, without him even (and his family is very supportive of me moving there, interestingly enough). Or, I could work for the US State Department at any of the embassies around the world, or work for the UN - all things I have wanted to do, but didn't pursue because WH didn't want to support me in doing them. Thinking like this has helped me see that what this experience has the opportunity to do is set me free.
I now have something to look FORWARD for, to plan and dream about, instead of dreading having to finalize financial issues in a divorce that I didn't ask for. That is so very liberating! I can see glimpses of myself coming out of the darkness. I was so unhappy for so long, and didn't or couldn't recognize that because I was so busy trying to make everyone else happy. I ate to soothe myself and gained weight. I was unhappy at work and brought that through everything else in my life. I wasn't truly myself - and after 20 years, I didn't know what being myself really was out of the context of being WH's wife and mother to my DDs. Now it seems the future can't come fast enough!
But two fears keep creeping in. As I read on this forum a lot, many of us are secretly (or not so secretly) hoping for some sort of realization from the WS that he/she made a huge mistake when they left for OP. That true, mature love will shine through and that the WS will work to make amends and be the spouse you always wanted. Of course I hold these hopes as well. So my fear is that if I move on and, by some wild chance, WH does realize what he f'ed up, what will I do? I was suffocating and so unhappy when I was with him, but I remember when things were good and I miss those times. I miss them desperately at times - 20 years of marriage, 22 years together this month, that is half my lifetime (I was a naive 21 year old who had not even really dated seriously until I went abroad as an exchange student - and I was trying out my "new" identity when I was away in a foreign land).
My other fear is what if he doesn't? What if OW really IS "the one" and they live happily ever after?
So, I try not to dwell on the fears, and only on the opportunities for now. My house is nearly done with repairs and preparation for sale, and if I need to, I can crash at my parents' place with my girls until I know what I'm doing/where I'm going. AND, DD17 is so excited for me to find out who I really am, and DD15 is on board for change (for the most part).
I still ache for him to love me, but it feels kind of good to see my own progress in so many areas - I am losing weight and looking so much better, I feel in control again at home and at work and that makes such a difference, I don't have to worry about going places or doing things that I want to do and having to ask permission or make sure what he is doing or wanting. I don't have to answer for money (not that I have much to spend after all of this or at the moment, but still!)
So, what am I missing? What should I be looking out for as far as potholes or barriers to my progress? And how do I keep the fears at bay?