Ava thought that it was only fitting that I was a guest blogger in the next two weeks following her first book’s debut, Nora Roberts Land, since it is based on what actually happened to me.
On my way to finding true happiness, like so many of us, I believed in happily ever afters. In true love’s first kiss, in serendipity and in finding someone who would fit so perfectly in my life—be my soul mate.
When I met my first husband, I thought that he was The One, and we would live happily ever after—not in the Disney way, but in a more meaningful share-your-life-and-hopes-and-dreams way. Knowing him for almost 8 years before we were married, I really thought that we could make it. And there were moments that I was happy, but they never lasted.
Then, not far into our marriage, it happened—The Switch. It didn’t happen overnight, but the distance started to grow between us. He started pulling away emotionally and physically, and soon I seemed to be married to a stranger. One that looked at me and told me he didn’t love me anymore. That he wasn’t sure if he ever really had.
It was in one counseling session that he made the craziest comment of all, “You have an unrealistic view of love because of all those Nora Robert’s romance novels that you read all the time. That kind of love doesn’t exist in real life. You shouldn’t have gotten your hopes up expecting me to live up to something that isn’t real…”
And so, in my many conversations with Ava, my family and friends, I shared my broken heart, his hurtful words and ultimately, my decision to move out and get a divorce. And much like Nora Roberts Land’s main character, Meredith, I was left feeling angry, hurt and betrayed, among other things.
My family was much like the Hale family in Ava’s book—loving, very supportive, and protective of me—especially during this time in my life. Funny but I think they might have given Ava an idea for the nickname of Meredith’s ex, Rick-the-Dick, in the book too—they do love me!
I think the worst part of it all was that the person that I thought he was disappeared and was replaced with a person I didn’t really want to know. I lost more than just a husband—in then end I lost who I really was. I gave up a lot of who I was to make him happy and ultimately, lost my own true self and my true happiness.
Coming off my divorce, I went through a lot of what Meredith went through in the story—panic attacks, internal pep talks, and an overall wanting to feel whole again. And like her—wanting to believe so much that my Nora Roberts Land was still out there.
Did I have a recipe or plan in mind to make that happen? Not really. I knew that I wanted to take some time to get to know me—this person that I was realizing was stronger than I thought and more capable than I gave myself credit for. This new skinnier me that somehow lost the 10 pounds in what my friends referred to as the Divorce Diet.
So I kept up sessions with my counselor, kept close to my family and friends and worked on the big thing called Forgiveness. You see, I didn’t feel like it was fair to anyone to only share the good part of my heart—the side that wasn’t broken. I wanted to be able to truly give myself fully to someone, and that involved letting go of the past with my ex and all the anger, hurt, pain, regret, betrayal and grief.
Reading the scene in the book at the end where Meredith confronts her ex brought tears to my eyes since I was able to experience that same moment of letting go in my own life and truly forgive. And it came with such freedom that I hope more people will take it to heart and find that within them to move on. You never know what is right around the corner—I never dreamed what would happen next…but I had hoped.
And like any good story, you will have to read next week’s blog to find out how my story turned out! I will give you a hint—like Ava’s amazing character Meredith, I finally found my happily ever after!
Michelle Khamis is Ava Miles’ younger sister. Being a mechanical engineer by trade, Michelle was always into organization and details. Truly inspired by planning her own wedding in 2009, she saw an opportunity to use her unique skills to help couples and others alike that needed a little help creating the perfect vision for their events. Today she is a wedding and event planner and founder of Dream Your Vision Event Planning, with headquarters located in Arkansas. She lives in Little Rock with her wonderful husband George and a little Sheltie named Maddie. She loves to crochet (something that she inherited from their Grandmother), read, practice yoga and spend time with her family and friends. You can find more information about Michelle at her website: http://www.dyveventplanning.com.