Grieving for a Marriage You Never Wanted: A New Divorceè’s Perspective

You can’t realize how unhappy you were until you stop being unhappy.

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Photo by Chiến Phạm on Unsplash

I’ll admit it; I was in an unhappy marriage and I didn’t know it. 
How did I not know it? Ignorance is bliss and I was trying damn hard to be blissful. I mean, that’s what the entire first year of marriage is meant to be, right?

That’s what I was told, until things got hard.

Then I was told the first year of marriage is the hardest. 

And when that wasn’t enough to make me stay, I was told I took a vow. 

They were right. I took a vow. I stood before a man and told him I’d love him regardless of what came our way. I made this promise in front of all of our family and friends. I wore the dress. I played the part. I was the blushing bride.

Yet somehow I found myself standing in front of a judge waiting to finalize the divorce of a barely there marriage.

I was able to stand in front of our judge and confirm, without hesitation, that the bonds of matrimony had been severed and there is no hope of reconciliation. As I stood there, somberly and pretending not to see the man who was about to become my ex-husband to my left, I waited for the doubt to creep in. I waited for the moment where my heart would tell me I was making the wrong choice. I waited and yet it never came.

I wish I could have said the same for my wedding day.

A mere 19 months earlier I stood holding that man’s hand, unable to look into his eyes without forcing myself, and felt panic rush through me as I vowed to be his wife. Pure terror rushed through me and I waited for the courage to let go of his hand and run down the aisle, alone.

But now I sit here with no ring on my finger. No husband in my life and no desire for him to be there; but I can’t help but to have a sore heart. I’m just as doubtless as I was in the courtroom, but there’s a gray tinge to the rosy outlook I had on life.

I’m grieving for a marriage I never wanted to be in.

I wish I wanted it. I wish, so badly, that he was what I wanted. How can you want more than a person who loves you unconditionally? A person who would agree to anything just to keep you in his life? A person who just wanted to be loved back?

I never tried to want more. I spent months attempting to convince myself that I was happy, but I just… wasn’t.

Maybe they’re right. Maybe I am being selfish. Maybe I should have stuck it out and realized 50 years from now that I wasted a life wishing to be happy. Would I have been okay with the choices I made? It’s possible, but unlikely. Regardless of if they’re right or not; it’s okay to grieve for this marriage that never could have become something I wanted.

If you’ve gone through a divorce, even one you wanted, and you’re wondering why it is you’re not feeling like celebrating… just know you’re not alone.

Your marriage ended. I’ve had several people ask me how I’m going to celebrate; I’m not celebrating. I spent the weekend with a close friend of mine and all we did was talk and day drink. Sometimes therapy is watching Grey’s Anatomy silently, crying over Denny Duquette’s death, and wishing you loved someone like Izzy loved him. You’ll find someone that fills your heart with that kind of love; don’t worry. (Bonus points if is name is Denny!)

You may still care for your ex-spouse. That doesn’t mean you’re meant to be with them. I don’t wish my ex-husband ill; I just know that we could never be what the other person needed. Regardless of how hard you try, sometimes the pieces just don’t fit and you’re both left banged up from trying. It’s okay.

Your future changed. You can no longer imagine exactly what your future is going to look like. You were probably, at least slightly, comfortable in your relationship and now that it’s over you’re feeling a bit out of sorts. Give it time. If you separated before the divorce it might be a bit easier, but it doesn’t mean that it’s completely painless. That first year is the hardest, but you’ll make it through.

Your identity is changing. Again. You used to be a single unit, then you became his wife, now you’re back to being on your own again. You’re no longer so-and-so’s wife; you’re just you! It’s both an amazing and unsettling notion. If you’re changing your name back to your maiden name like I am, be prepared for lots of questions and having to get used to signing it again!

It’s okay to feel a bit sad when you think about the life you gave up even if you know it’s for the best. It’s normal. It’s part of the process. I knew before we got married that we shouldn’t get married. I knew it wouldn’t last because I never wanted it in the first place but it doesn’t make it any easier to let it go.

I’m happier than I’ve ever been and then I remember the heart I hurt. It sends a little pang of guilt into my chest, but I know with time it will subside and that ultimately, this is the best way I could have ever shown him that he meant something to me.

Even if he doesn’t get it yet.

-LP

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Letting Go of Who You Were: A Beginner’s Guide

Don’t let yourself slip between the cracks.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; life is hard. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day aspects of our lives and forget to allow ourselves time to reflect and grow. I’m guilty of it and I’m sure you are too, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change for the better, it just means that we’ve got to start that routine today.

  1. Be Kind to Yourself. It’s easy to look back at who we were and want to rip away the parts that don’t seem all that great. Just recently, I spent some time reminiscing on the teenage version of myself and I’m glad to say that I’m no longer that girl. It makes me cringe to think of who I used to be, but I know that 10 years from now I’ll be doing the same when I look at how I am today. It’s alright. We’re learning. Life is a process.
  2. Forgive Yourself. Don’t hold those awkward, embarrassing, painful, or even disappointing moments against your former self. Come to terms with the fact that you’ve made mistakes and realize that we all have. It’s natural and part of growing into a better version of ourselves.
  3. Forgive Others. The worst thing we could do is harbor resentment for those who have wronged us. It’s draining and quite frankly isn’t all that healthy either. Sure, your ex-boyfriend might have been a major mistake and he may have committed some terrible crimes against you; forgive him anyway. Let it go and hope that he’s moved on as well. Wish him well and say goodbye. It’s alright.
  4. Love Yourself Through the Crap. You’re going to keep messing up. You’re going to forget that you’re not meant to have it all together; that’s okay. You might get chubby. You could enter a marriage you were never supposed to be in. You could break a home and a heart, and move across the globe. It’s okay. Love yourself anyway. Love yourself through it all, even the bad parts.

Ultimately, our experiences shape us and without them we would never grow and change so accept the fact that you’re still learning and let go of the old versions of yourself, even the one from yesterday. You’re better than you were then and not as great as you’ll be tomorrow.

 

-LP

 

Winter Around My Finger

I remember the moment you slid onto my finger;
Your cold metal sent shivers down my spine.
They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend;
But I swear, you’ll never be mine.
I met you on our last snowy night;
Your beauty reflected the street lights well.
I loved the way you looked on my hand,
Even if it was a lie,
We promised never to tell.
You’ve always been my little piece of winter,
The snowflake that never melted;
I promise you, my little gem,
When I told you, you were beautiful I meant it.
But now I look down at you,
And you’re still just as bright,
Just as clear.
But now all you hold are broken promises;
And now you hold every tear.
You used to fit so perfectly;
We used fit so well;
But now you’re nothing more than a reminder;
Now you’re torment.

You’re hell.

And now you’re too loose on my finger,
And now we no longer fit;
I should have known I’d have to let you go;
The moment I told him, “I quit.”
I was told I should get rid of you,
That’s how you signify it’s the end.
But how can I destroy you?
After all, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

1 A.M.

You’ll mark the periods of your life as
Before Me and After Me,
As if for some brief moment of time,
Something amazing happened.

Because something amazing did.

I promise you, I felt alive.
I meant it all when I told you I loved you.
I meant it when I said I wanted to stay.
I meant it when I said I couldn’t.

I told you I was broken.

During that brief moment of time
I was your girl,
At least I thought I was;
But all you had was a girl who wanted to let you in,
A girl who wanted to let you love her,

But couldn’t.

It’ll Kill Me to Stay and Break Me to Leave

6 Things People Won’t Tell You About Getting Divorced

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I’m in the thick of it. How is it that I can feel both relief and hurt at the same time? I’m the one that wanted this; I know that leaving is the best option for me and, quite frankly, for us, but my heart is a little sore today. I’m feeling a little broken today in a way that I can’t completely express. Someone should have warned me about these damn emotions, but they didn’t so I’ll share a bit with you:

  1. Even if you know it’s what you want; it isn’t easy. It’s not easy to let go of safety. It’s not easy to unravel a relationship you spent years building. It isn’t easy leaving but it’s no easier to stay. You’re not making this decision based on what’s easy; you’re making it based on what’s right. You’re going to feel selfish; you’re going to think that you should have stuck it out, relationships are hard, right? But the thought of staying will make your pulse quicken and your breath catch; staying makes you anxious and leaving scares the shit out of you. It’s normal.
  2. People are going to hate you. His family will hate you and won’t even try to hide it. People you met together may side with him; they might side with you. You might get calls explaining what a piece of crap you are for destroying a person that loves you and you just have to take it, even if you’re feeling broken, too. You can cry about it later and, believe me, you will.
  3. You’re going to cry a lot… and then a bit more. You’ll cry when you think about the good times. You’ll cry when you realize there were more bad times than good. You’ll cry when you realize those good times should outweigh the bad, but don’t. You’ll cry when your anniversary passes. You’ll cry when you think about your possible future. You’ll cry when you realize you’ll never have it. You’ll cry when you call him and ask him to move out. You’ll cry when he does, half from relief, half from sorrow. You’re allowed to grieve this relationship; it’s okay if it hurts. You’re human.
  4. You might doubt yourself for a split second. When you’ve thought your mind was made up, fear of the unknown will seep in. It’s okay. Those moments of weakness are few and far between at this point and you’ll make it through. We both know how damn difficult this is; it’s more than a break up; it’s a complete demolition of a home you once had. As terrible as that home may have been, sometimes it’s sad to see it come down brick by brick.
  5. Ultimately, only you can make the decision to walk away or to stay. You can look for advice and support; you can scour the internet for a situation just like yours and see what others have done. You’ll want someone else to make the decision for you at first; ultimately you’ll realize that the decision is yours and you’ve known in your gut what that decision was from the very beginning.
  6. There’s a reason you walked away. Time can put a rose-y glow on memories; it’s easier to remember the good times than the bad, but remind yourself that you took that first step for a reason and so long as that reason still rings true, listen to your gut.

Keep your chin up.

-LP