Of all the things I have done, letting go of my marriage was the most difficult thing to do. I failed to make it work. No, don’t get me wrong — I am not depressed and it was not happy marriage. But marriage is just one of those things that society expects you to hold on to. I kept on choosing to be unhappy and fighting for what I did not want, but in the end realization hit. Had I not made the right decision, the decay would have spread not just to me but to my son as well. But I don’t want to talk about what went wrong. What I want to talk about is why I am happy that I failed.
Hope can be your biggest strength and your biggest weakness, sometimes both at the same time. In this case it was my failing.
When they say a strong relationship cannot be built on lies and deceit, they are right. I should have believed them. I tried, though, despite the bad start. I tried hard to please, change, accept and then salvage the situation. That my marriage was a situation that needed salvaging should have been my first reason to quit. But I kept egging myself on. Then slowly it dawned on me that I was losing this fight to change the situation.
That is when I began hold on tighter, made so many more adjustments that I failed to recognize myself and I began to carry the onus of things that were not mine to bear at all. Finally at a friend’s wedding, there was that one moment when I knew definitively that I had not succeeded in trying to save the tree from being cut. What had to end had to be ended, and what could be saved had to be saved. Physically, I never went back after that day. Mentally it’s was a whole different story.
The heart refuses to accept defeat easily. After all, we are all wired to try and try until we succeed. So even though the mind decides to abort, the heart keeps wishing that something will change. I kept praying, because I did not want to be called a failure. Hope is a strange thing; it can be your biggest strength and your biggest weakness, sometimes both at the same time. In this case it was my failing.
It kept me hanging on, anticipating a reaction, a fight. The only thing I got was indifference, and that made think of myself as a loser, the biggest idiot in the history of mankind. Why? you ask. Well I knew exactly what I was doing, and the way I was feeling was wrong, but then I refused to get up and walk away.
I held on, until I realized that I was the only one. After that, walking away was the easiest thing to do.
That is why it is important to accept failure, to help you to get up and move on. Failing by default is just no way to live. We try to succeed, sometimes in spite of knowing that what we are trying to achieve is not possible. I tried for two years before I could accept the reality. Whether that was the right thing to do is debatable. But I tried and I failed.
I kept offering way too many second chances to a person who did not deserve even one. And I held on, until I realized that I was the only one. After that, walking away was the easiest thing to do. Yes I am a loser but then I can say I tried; I exhausted all possibilities and opportunities. There was nothing else left to do.
I now realize that my failure was the best thing that could have happened. Imagine living in a loveless, unhappy marriage; imagine adjusting to getting abused; imagine living a life you don’t want to live; imagine having to do all this for the rest of your life. That is exactly what I was choosing to do, every time I did not want to fail. And that is why this defeat is the best thing that happened to me.
Accepting this failure helped me learn and see what I was doing wrong my whole life. Living in fear of failing is like living life by default. This helped me switch off my autopilot mode, and made me realize the importance of working towards my passion irrespective of the risks. Failing is the best thing that could have happened to me in this case. I am wiser now and better for it. My failure at trying to save what I should have let go of turned me into a learner, and that is such a good space to be in.
A version of this post first appeared on Women’s Web