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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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

When Love is a Question, not a Statement

Don’t settle.

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There’s a difference between love and comfort. 

I’ll be the first to say, I know how easy it can be to stay with someone who is comfortable, even when you know in your heart that it’s wrong. They’re not the one. If you have this nagging feeling that something is off; that your heart isn’t truly invested; leave. You deserve more and quite frankly, so do they. They might not understand and they may beg you to stay, but if you’ve got doubts, if you know that you’re settling… you have to get out.

We all deserve to feel an overwhelming kind of love, at least once in our lives. I had years wishing for a relationship to blossom into something that made me feel emotions that simply weren’t there and would never materialize. Wishful thinking turned into resentment which in turn  caused me to become someone I didn’t want to be. I had far too much within me to allow myself to be smothered in a relationship that did not cause me to feel like loving. I wanted more. Maybe it was selfish, but after spending years dying to feel a love growing from the depths of myself, I decided enough was enough when I realized that Lover Dearest by Mariana’s Trench was basically the theme song of my life.

My tongue’s turning black, but I’ll take you back.
You’re still the best more or less, I guess, I guess.

Don’t you leave me,
Well, I’m not sick of you yet,
Is that as good as it gets?
I’ll just try to hide it, or I could slip into you,
It’s so easy to come back into.

It hurts me to say that it hurts me to stay.
And it might be alright if you go.

I wanted to love someone; I mean truly love someone. I was tired of settling for less than what I wanted. Who wants to be in a relationship where you sit beside your partner and wonder if this is as good as it gets? Is this it? Am I going to be feeling this way forever, wondering if there’s more, hoping for a change that you know will never come? If you find yourself in a relationship like that,  know that you’re not alone and it doesn’t make you a bad person to leave because you want more.

It makes you brave.

You might feel like complete and utter shit in the beginning; it’s to be expected. No one wants to hurt another person, but if that pain is a necessary evil, handle it. Accept the blame for being the villain of their story and know that while they may never forgive you, years from now they’ll thank you. When they’re in a relationship that gives them the love they deserve to feel, they’ll understand why you two couldn’t have worked out. And when you’re in a relationship that causes your heart to stir, it will solidify the idea that it was the best possible decision you could make. Now, let me qualify that by saying this:

If you’re thinking the grass is greener on the other side, it’s a lie.

Do not give up on a relationship just because things are hard, or one you want out of because your relationship isn’t all peaches and cream, or even because you two are butting heads; realize relationships are difficult. If you want to end it even when things are good, that’s when you know that it’s not because you’re going through a rough patch, but because you truly do not love that person. If you’re only having these thoughts when you’re fighting or when times are stressful, don’t throw in the towel.  Search within the depths of your heart and determine what your relationship means to you, then go from there.

A true love will come your way.

When it does, you’ll see why it could have never worked with anyone else and you’ll understand what all those old folks meant when they said,

“When you know, you know.”

-LP

One Day, I’ll Forgive Myself.

Today was supposed to be my first wedding anniversary.

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Instead I’m alone and it hurts to say that it’s because I’m choosing to be. Life would be so much damn easier if I loved him. It really would be. I tried for so long. I put in so much work. I cut off pieces of myself so I could fit into the little spot he had for me. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, I wasn’t happy. I tried tricking myself and it backfired. I tried fixing an already broken relationship with marriage (don’t ever do that, take my word for it).

Today I’m hurting.

I’m hurting because I know I’m hurting someone else. I’m hurting because I know how much it sucks to lose someone that you love. I’m hurting because it sucks having to be the bad guy. It sucks when your reaction to someone crying is to hug them and tell them you take it back, but you know you can’t do that. Not again. It hurts knowing that I’m making the right decision even though it’s the hard one. It just fucking hurts.

My heart is aching. I’ve never had to wound someone in such a terrible way and this was never my intention. I went into this marriage promising to stick it out no matter what, promising to love him no matter what, promising that I wouldn’t let go. I made so many damn promises that I just cannot keep and it kills me. It’s terrible to know that I lied to someone like that. I knew I couldn’t keep them. I knew it but I still let him offer me his heart and I gave them a tiny, barely there, sliver of mine.

It’s not fun knowing that you’ll always be the villain when they tell the story of their life. Knowing you’ll be the person their future children will wonder about is hard. The thought of the nights they’ll spend alone because of you is heartbreaking. I never meant for this to happen. I didn’t know that the pieces of myself that I had removed so damn carefully could grow back. But they did.

They grew back and I’m back to who I always was. I’m back to the person I had left behind because I was trying to play the part he had for me. I swear I memorized those damn lines. I did. I walked the walk and I talked the talk. I put in all the time and energy I could, but how can you pour out more from a cup that’s empty?

My cup is parched. It’s damn near bone dry. And I’m so sorry. It’s a hard reality to face knowing that you’re breaking up a family and sending them back to a place they thought they were done with. Back into the dating pool. Back to needing a date for weddings. Back to spending Christmases alone. I’m ruining a life he had planned for us and I know it.

But what can I do?

Am I supposed to pretend that it’s okay? Am I supposed to act like these changes he wants to make for me are good enough? That’s the worst part. He’s willing to change. He’d give it all up for me, but it’s still not enough. How terrible is that? He just isn’t it for me. My God, that’s a terrible realization.

I should have known.

He’s a good guy, he is. He’s nice and he cares about me. He loves me more than I love him and I thought I’d be okay with it, but I’m not. I signed my name on that damn dotted line and thought that guilt would never hit me in the chest like a freight train, but I was wrong. I was so wrong.

A year ago today, I was so damn terrified to walk down the aisle that I could have thrown up. I should have turned around, ripped that damn dress off of myself, and ran down the street. I wasn’t strong enough. I can admit that. I’m stronger today. I’m stronger because I told him I wanted a divorce and I let him cry alone and didn’t console him even when I wanted to. I wanted to take away the pain I had caused. I never meant to bring that into his life.

Yesterday I told him flat out that I want a divorce. Before I had just said I needed space. When I told him, I was greeted with yelling and pure rage. Which I suppose I deserve… I understand why his words came out like knives. Why I saw pure hatred in his eyes when he looked at me. Why his voice broke when he told me all he wants is a family with me; when I told him I need more than that.I knew I had it coming. I knew I deserved it. I feel terrible for making him deal with the pain I’ve caused.

What makes it worse is that I’m in love. As  much as it hurts me to hurt him, I’m in love. I am in love.

Does that make me a terrible person?

Probably.

But he makes every love song have meaning. He’s taught my heart something entirely new. He inspires me. I want to cry when I think about how full my heart is because of him. He doesn’t ask me to cut away parts of myself to fit into his plans. There’s no script to memorize with him. I wish I had known he was coming… Maybe then I really would have ran down those church stairs, hopped on a plane, and into his arms. Maybe then, today would have just been the day I almost got married.

If only.

-LP