Three years ago, I made one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make as an adult. After a nine year relationship, which included two years of marriage, I finally asked my then husband for a divorce.
If I'm being honest, I began recognizing our incompatibility about two years into the relationship. But, like the typical twentysomething surrounded by couples getting engaged in droves, I let my fear of the unknown and my desire to remain competitive with my peers convince me to stay. Besides, we had just moved in together, bought a cat, and merged our DVD collections, dividing those assets would have been a nightmare!
Eventually, my rational self spoke loudly enough, and I understood that if I didn't make a change, I would be unhappy for the rest of my life. Contrary to what people may think, or had thought at the time, it wasn't an easy decision or a conclusion that was reached quickly. Rediscovering who you are as a single person after being in a relationship your entire adult life is really fucking hard. Anyone who has had to navigate the gross and awkward intricacies of online dating in their 30's can attest to this.
Despite feeling like an uncomfortable trainwreck of a human being for the better part of a year, I came out on the other end of the situation a little wiser and a whole lot happier.
I don't think I was aware of it at the time, but my asking for a divorce was a personal declaration, a refusal to settle for anything less than happiness. We aren't on this planet for long enough to spend time sitting on our hands, hoping things will improve.
Whether it's your career or a relationship, if you're unhappy, it's important to think about what's making you feel that way. Then think about your role in the situation, and figure out what changes you can enact to make it better. That's the biggest thing. You can't rely on someone else to change. The only thing you can change about a situation that's making you unhappy is you.
Sometimes, I think about the person I was three years ago, and I don't even recognize her. It's not to say this whole experience of trying to figure out life has been sunshine and rainbows- leaving a city I called home for 13 years and being in some state of un or underemployment for 14 months has invited its fair share of frustration and tears, but I'm determined to keep trying until I get it right.