I couldn’t stay just for the optics

Article compiled by Bonolo Sekudu and first published on News24 on the 28th of November 2022.

  • Dating coach Leigh-Joy is newly divorced.
  • She shares with us how she felt after her divorce was finalised.
  • “Longevity, I have come to know, is not a measure of a successful relationship. I couldn’t stay just for the optics,” she writes. 

For Leigh-Joy, getting divorced is an opportunity to start afresh and attract the kind of love she wants in her life. It is not a time to be weighed down by ‘what could have been’. She tells us that she looks forward to marrying again. Reflecting on where she has been has helped her heal. Because how else would she move on without healing?

Here is her story

Today marks the end of being Mrs Mansel-Pleydell. I found out the divorce had been made an order of the court while I was having a cool drink at a restaurant.

It is not lost on me the universe’s sense of humour. You would think that as a recovering alcoholic, this would be the worst place for me to be when hearing this news. For others, yes (maybe). For me, no! Why? You may ask. Because as I sit here and look at the hundreds of ways I can get fu*#ed up, there is a still calm voice saying ‘nope’, that’s not how this day ends. And a slow tear rolls down my cheek in gratitude.

I showed up fiercely in the last 14 years. I worked hard to heal my trauma, and I worked hard to stay in a relationship and pretzelled the f#%k out of myself to make it work. To be a success, to not fail and to show that he stayed because I am worthy and loved. I learned I have value and worth, but that doesn’t guarantee someone’s love and devotion.

Longevity, I have come to know, is not a measure of a successful relationship. I couldn’t stay just for the optics.

I wanted emotional, mental, physical and spiritual connection. We didn’t have that, so I left searching for it, and it has been quite a journey! I fell in love with myself and have come to where I would date myself.

So, here I start a new chapter. A new beginning. A new life. With it, I take all the beautiful memories and wrap them around my heart in an embrace of grace. The sad and painful memories I forgive, I let go and surrender, for their memory stings and pierces my heart and threatens to shut the door. But I am brave and magnificent, and the doors of my heart will remain open.

To my ex-husband, wow! That sounds strange and liberating. I wish you well. I hope you are loved in all the right places. I pray you also love well.

To my friends (you know who you are), thank you. Thank you for your love, support, tears and laughs. Life is beautiful with you! To my kids, I love you, and I am grateful to your fathers.

To my darling brother Nick Botting you are the best oldest brother I could ever ask for. To my future husband, I look forward to creating new memories with you – watch out, Elizabeth Taylor, here I come.

To me, I am still your greatest fan. Keep on keeping on.

Fortune favours the brave. Here’s to celebrating life!

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