The breakup of my marriage hit me like a train. At some level I knew it could happen but when the crash came, my world just disintegrated. In a flash I was no longer a husband, I was struggling to be a father and trust, built up over twenty years, was completely broken. We were a wreck and I was shattered vessel.

Nevertheless, it took us a few years to finally separate and get a divorce. Throughout this whole period I continued with my therapy, where I dealt mainly with my inner turmoil and the chaos of my relationship. I received plenty of constructive messages from my therapists as well as from other people. Three key messages opened the way to my recovery and eventual transition: 1) "Let go, of everything"; 2) "You are the wild horse, value yourself"; 3) "Use this crisis to turn your life around."

1) Letting go. Initially, my response was to hold on, desperately, to my wife, to my family and to my world. Suddenly my wife appeared more attractive than ever and my family ties felt indispensable. Restoring what was, what had been seemed tantalizingly possible - familial bliss regained. However, the incontrovertible proof was staring me in the face: It didn't work. Somehow I had to relinquish the old to make room for the new. This meant: "Let go, of everything": the past, my expectations, what constitutes a family, my identity as a husband, etc. As I began to let go I could see that a new life, a fresh start beckoned.

2) Wild horse. I was electrified by a woman I admired saying to me, "You are the wild horse." Internalizing this powerful image helped me to move from feeling sexually inadequate, impotent and browbeaten to feeling attractive, strong and spunky. Feeling that I was the wild horse boosted my confidence tremendously and when I started exploring other relationships, I felt liberated.

3) Use the crisis. It was clear to me that I was in crisis. Where I needed convincing was that I could turn the crisis to my advantage, see the calamity as an opportunity. What finally clinched it for me was the realization that something better was bound to emerge from the wreckage. This also demanded work on my part. I needed to lay a few demons to rest, especially the one that said, "It's not happening for you", to be replaced with, "You are the main player, put yourself center-stage." Crucially, it also meant loosening my emotional armor and allowing me to feel, to act according to my heart, not my head.

These messages induced me to be more authentic and more in touch with my real self. With time I came to see my marital crisis as a blessing in disguise; a bridge (over troubled waters) to a new life. You should be able to make these three messages work for you as I have, but you'll need to adapt them to your personality and to your situation.

Author's Bio: 

Leo Averbach - Potter, teacher, translator and writer. Was born in South Africa, lived in the UK, where he married, fathered three children, got divorced and remarried. He now lives in the Jerusalem hills. His story is told in his brutally honest and surprising memoir Breakup: Enduring divorce.

Books by Leo Averbach.
Breakup: Enduring divorce.
BreakupAid: a Short Guide to Divorce