This isn’t the story of a marriage broken by some Jerry Springer-worthy love triangle or a deadbeat dad. I didn’t “fall out of love” with my husband and he never got sick of my daily emotional roller-coaster ride. There was never any abuse, physical or otherwise, in our relationship. In fact, if I could have it my way, I’d never be writing this. I would have never spent nights and days crying, thinking what a horrible person I was; how selfish my life had become. The guilt would never have overcome me.
Growing up in my family, divorce was a dirty word.
This is a story of how I came to realize some hard truths about myself. Ones that neither my husband nor I really felt good about.
But there they were. Truths like a wine stain on the carpet of my life that not even a gallon of OxiClean could do anything about. The stain seeped up through all the rugs I threw over it; a constant presence in the back of my mind that made every moment of every day feel fake and contrived. Once that liquid hit the floor, there was no putting it back, no cleaning it up. It sat there, staring at me accusingly.
One day, I got into the shower and suddenly realized that I hated being married. That, in fact, I was horrible at it. I sucked as a wife. Being married made me a worse mother, a horrible friend, and a terrible person. I spent more time every day pushing aside my feelings than enjoying them. I felt trapped. I felt obligated, which was worse than any other feeling I had ever known.
Now, these realizations flew right in the face of everything I had ever thought or been taught about marriage. Marriage was supposed to solve our loneliness— make our lives more rich and meaningful because we were sharing them with someone else, right? We were finding our ‘other half’ and becoming a more complete, happier version of ourselves. We were never to divorce; that was reserved for adulterers only.
But I felt the opposite. I felt oppressed and depressed. I had this overwhelming urge to slam the bedroom door or walk out of the house to just be alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband. He’s a wonderful person, a great father, and he’ll make another woman a perfect partner. But not me.
That day in the shower, I learned a very real, very sucky truth about myself. I should never have gotten married. And that makes me feel terrible. Here I was, 32, figuring out the biggest mistake of my life had led to the biggest conundrum of my life. How do I break apart my family? How do I even tell my husband? How do I tell our kid?
The first conversation I had with my husband about my feelings led to some awful arguments. He didn’t understand. He (and all of his friends/family) thought that, surely, I must be having an affair to be feeling this way. There must be someone else I wanted to be with. No matter how much I argued and swore up and down, I couldn’t convince a single person that these feelings weren’t a result of something else.
My feelings were valid and autonomous. They existed because they were there. I wanted out of my marriage— not to get into something else, but to be apart from the whole arrangement completely.
I’ll admit, I didn’t stand my ground at first. He convinced me that if I actually loved him (which I still do, to this day) then my discontent was something that could be fixed. If I really wanted our marriage to work, it would. We couldn’t do the unthinkable, we couldn’t divorce. So, we tried. Every day, I woke up and shoved aside those feelings that had surfaced in the shower. And every day, I failed. My feelings crept up at the most obscure times. While doing dishes, I would start to tear up thinking I was a failure. As I fell asleep at night, I convinced myself I wasn’t trying hard enough. While driving to the grocery store, I felt that something was wrong with me.
Until one day, again in the shower, I faced the hard facts.
There wasn’t anything wrong with me. I wasn’t a failure. I was just a woman who wanted to grow old with about a dozen cats in a small cottage with a garden. A woman who would welcome friends of all kinds into her home and then gladly send them on their way. I am a woman who, though she loves her family dearly, just can’t be a part of it in a way that others want. And that’s completely okay.
We here at BVTMom’s Blog are no strangers to the D-word. We had many strong, wonderful women who found themselves facing some hard realities, from the first inklings of separation to moving on and re-entering the dating world as a single mom. If you’re struggling with your own personal journey through divorce, just remember, you are not alone.