I can remember the first time my husband proposed to me, and the second, I said ‘No’ both times because he wasn’t sober and I didn’t think he meant it. When we did get married there was no proposal, no ceremony surrounded by friends, no pictures, not even an announcement to our close family or friends. We went to the courthouse and applied for our license. There was another couple there who where getting married and we decided to do it then and there too. The other couple, complete strangers, were our witnesses. We didn’t even tell anyone for almost a month. No celebration, no honeymoon, nothing, we didn’t even have rings.
That didn’t matter to me because I meant what I had said in our vows. This was a new partnership, a commitment, two families becoming one, a forever thing. There was nothing too big or too small that we couldn’t tackle together. We would be there to support each other through the hard times and the bad. So what happened?
Honestly it wasn’t any one thing. It wasn’t all him or all me. I felt as though I took my vows way more seriously than my husband. I saw problems and I wanted to talk about them and work on them but that just pushed him away. The responsibilities and stress of a large blended family started to take its toll really quickly. Add the extra demands of special needs children and it could be overwhelming at times. I began to see his need for something that I couldn’t fill no matter how hard I tried. I failed. Again and again. Then I realized that I was trying to be someone I wasn’t in order to make him happy and I was becoming more and more unhappy myself. I didn’t like it.
He started leaving for longer and longer periods of time. He said he deserved time to himself. I felt he was being selfish, I mean when did I ever have time to myself other than going to the bathroom? He would often say we were ‘taking a break’ and leave for days at a time. My heart tried its best to rationalize what these absences were but I just couldn’t understand and my suspicions started to grow.
I can remember a conversation with a family member almost 2 years ago. Someone had asked me how my husband was doing. I said that I didn’t know him anymore. He was a different person than who I had fallen in love with. I was honest when I told them that I wasn’t even sure if he would be at home when I got back. I cried when I realized I had admitted what my heart had been feeling for so long. He was gone, not physically, but in every other way he wasn’t my partner anymore.
I desperately tried to cling to the tattered remnants of our marriage and somehow weave them into a strong relationship but it was impossible to do on my own. The trust had been broken so many times and the lies had weakened every thread there was left. I still held onto the hope that it could be fixed so I believed him every time he said it would change. I was left feeling drained every time it didn’t. The more I tried the harder he pushed me away.
Our marriage needed something I couldn’t provide on my own. We tried counseling as he suggested I needed to go before he would. Nothing changed. I tried to talk but it would end up in an argument. Our priorities didn’t match up and we both felt like the other was headed in an opposite direction.
So we both failed to provide what the other one needed. I refused to go against my morals and beliefs. I refused to change to be the person he felt he needed me to be. He refused to get the help I felt he needed, help that I couldn’t give. I felt like I was being torn between my kids and my husband, no choice a mother and wife should ever have to make. I chose my kids and I would do it again if I had it to do over. I still stand behind my choices because I know I have other responsibilities.
The past couple of years have been an emotional roller coaster. There have been ups and boy have there been so many downs. Words have been said that shouldn’t have been said and I have been hurt deeper than I ever thought I could be hurt. I have been humiliated and gossiped about by the person I once thought was my best friend again and again with no remorse.
I still held on to our marriage even though it no longer looked or felt like a marriage anymore. It felt as if I was stuck in a sticky spider web woven from lies and deceit littered with the remains of forgotten promises and abandoned dreams all around me. I have sheltered our kids from as much of it as I could but when things/people threatened to involve them I saw I had to draw a line. When I did he asked for a divorce. That felt like such a slap after all that I had put up with and the sacrifices I had made to try to keep us from ‘The End’. But there was also a feeling of relief that I felt.
After a couple of months I finally saw that ‘The End’ had come before he had asked for the divorce. He finally told me the truth and it was hard to take. It hurt worse than I could’ve imagined. The divorce is only the legal paperwork to show ‘The End’. The realization makes me cry and saddens my heart. I know this is only an ending to this chapter of my life and there will be more chapters to come. I have forgiven him and myself for what has happened and I have hope that there will be happier days ahead and with time the pain and hurt will subside.