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.

chi-n-ph-m-217312

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

Advertisements

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.

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

6 Things People Won’t Tell You About Getting Divorced

anne-edgar-119373.jpg

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

Momma Knows Best

My hands reached for books,
Words have filled my head.
Boys like smart girls,
At least, that’s what momma said.

She had her plans,
A life filled with ribbons and pearls.
College is meant to meet boys;
Because after all, we’re only girls.

Momma, I tried,
I swear I never meant to,
But somewhere along the way
I realized I had a brain, too.

Those books gave me thoughts,
Ideas of my own.
And now I long for to do more
Than spend my days in our home.

But now I’m so torn,
Because all of my life,
I always dreamed of being a mother and wife.

So I jumped into it;
I said “I do,”
He said he loved me
And sometimes I thought it was true.

He told me I was pretty,
I was all he had hoped for;
But no one knew what happened behind closed doors.

I longed for more,
But I tucked it away.
I knew I was lying
Each and every damn day.

I know I’m young,
I’ve got so much left to do.
I’m only twenty-three,
And I’ve already disappointed you.

I wore the pretty dress,
Momma, I read the lines.
I tried so hard,
But I also have a mind.

I long to learn,
To explore and discover.
And all these lost years,
Well they’ll never be recovered.

Momma I tried,
I promise you, I really did.
But it turns out boys don’t like girls
With this many thoughts in their head.

Technically, I’m running.
So yeah, I guess you’re right.
But I can’t fix this
And I don’t wanna fight.

I long for my freedom,
For the wind in my hair.
And we both know I could never explore
If I would have stayed there.

So I’m hitting the road,
I’m turning my back on that man.
And I guess I’ve kind of ruined
The future you had planned.

I hope one day you’ll get it,
You look at me and understand.
I’ve always felt like myself,
With a book in my hand.

I know someone will love me,
They’ll want to hear the thoughts in my head.
When we have a daughter,
She’ll say, “that’s what momma said.”

I’ll tell her to think,
To be courageous and be strong.
I’ll tell her thinking for yourself,
Well that’s never wrong.

I’ll look at her dad,
Wrap my hands around his waist.
I’ll tell her running away,
Was the best difficulty I’ve ever faced.

These mistakes led me to him,
And in turn gave me you.
I’ll say, “maybe after all,
That’s what momma knew.”

 

I’m Your Built-in Best Friend

Being your big sister will always be my favorite job.

jenn-richardson-112980.jpg

I spent four years of my life waiting for you.

20 years ago mom found out she was pregnant with you and I was ecstatic. I told literally every person I saw that I was going to be a big sister and how excited I was to meet you. I loved you from the moment I knew you were alive, even if I wasn’t quite sure what it meant when mom said she had a baby in her belly. I remember sitting on the sofa when you were big enough that we could feel you kick; I always put my hand on her tummy and talked to you. I’ve always wanted to be the best big sister I could be, but you didn’t come with an instruction manual and I’ve been learning along the way.

I did go to that big sister class, but it didn’t prepare me for everything! Only for how to properly hold a baby, much to our mother’s dismay. I know you’ve heard the story about how I picked you up and moved you at a week old while mom was in the bathroom; she about lost her mind, but hey, I was qualified! I have the certificate to prove it.

I’ve messed up more often than not.

Whether it was that one time I fell backwards onto your head when you were a month old, or locked you in the house when mom took out the trash and I followed her outside, or when I locked you in the running car in the middle of winter while simultaneously locking mom and I outside when she went into her office to grab some papers. It might not seem like it, but I’ve always wanted to keep you safe (even when I wasn’t very good at it).

I was never scared when it came to protecting you.

You gave me a reason to be brave. Remember when dad had to stop me from charging at that kid down the road who spit at you? My tiny little fists were clenched as I stormed down the street after him when you came up to me crying because he was being mean to you.

“No one gets to pick on my brother, but me!” I bellowed at him; “PICK ON SOMEONE YOUR OWN SIZE!” It didn’t matter that he was way bigger than I was, because I was bigger than you and if anyone was going to get in a fight with that jerk, it was me.

That protectiveness will never change. 

When you inevitably introduce me to a girl who gives you butterflies, I’m going to do my best to love her as if she were my sister. She better be good to you because you’ve got the kindest heart I know; I pray she realizes that. I’ll be honest; odds are I’m going to be face-creeping the crap out of her. I will have scoured her entire Facebook profile by the time you’ve made it home from my place. It’s my job to thoroughly investigate that gal because you’re my little brother and I care more about you than I care about myself. Even when if it doesn’t always seem like it.

I’ve been spending my life trying to be strong for you. 

When mom and dad got divorced, we lost each other. I was busy going through puberty, dealing with liking boys, and adjusting to a life without both of our parents; I left you behind and I’m so sorry. I should have been there for you; I should have made sure you were okay too. I still remember when you came to me and asked me why we couldn’t live with mom and dad, together. You wanted your family to go back to how it was, so did I.

You were young and you didn’t understand what was happening. Life got way too hard so damn quickly. I felt completely thrown off by the divorce, so I can only imagine how you felt at 8 years-old when life as you knew it no longer existed. I left you behind; when my life started changing, you were too young to come on the journey with me, but I shouldn’t have let you fall to the side. I should have been there for you, but I can’t change what happened; just know that I’m here now and even if I seem far away, I’ll always be the one you can go to with your problems.

I’ll always love you in a way only a big sister can.

You’re my little guy, even if you are a whole head taller than I am. You’re growing up and it’s freaking me out.  You can call me “munchkin” it’s fine, I’m still oldest and therefore, I know best. At least, I pretend to.

I knew you were always watching, so I tried my best to be someone you could look up to; I know I failed more often than not, but I hope you’re proud to call me your big sister.

-LP

One Day, I’ll Forgive Myself.

Today was supposed to be my first wedding anniversary.

weskmsgzjdo-volkan-olmez.jpg

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

Wait for the One You Truly Love

Honestly, I thought I had gone through my “crazy days.” What the heck did I know?
hjtd4guoyjs-roman-kraft.jpg
I found myself at 23, a month before our first wedding anniversary, absolutely broken. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had tried putting more of myself in a marriage that I didn’t want than I’d like to admit. I was filling in patches with bubble gum and hoping that the dam wouldn’t break, but gum just isn’t strong enough. I had wanted out for years, even those years that we were “in love,” before the wedding, but I wasn’t strong enough to walk away. I didn’t want to hurt someone like that, but now I have no choice.

I remember going to a friend’s wedding with my mother about 7 months before our wedding; my mother told a fellow guest that I was getting married in the winter and she gawked at me.

“How old are you?!” was her first question, quickly followed by, “You don’t have to, you know that, right?”

I just smiled at her and said that I loved him, but I could feel the bitterness of the lie as it passed through my lips. Back then, I wasn’t willing to admit it to myself. I had already planned the whole damn thing. I wasn’t going to be the girl that called it off because she got cold feet; cold feet are normal… right? That’s what Google said.

Fast forward to the week of our wedding; I was an emotional wreck. I blamed it on the fact that I had my first official nursing school finals the week of our wedding, but I knew something was off. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was terrified. This was more than cold feet, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I was scared. You know that kind of feeling when you’re about to make a terrible mistake, or you just did, but you feel like you’ve been locked in and there’s nothing you can do about it? Yeah, that was how I was feeling.

I didn’t feel like the blushing bride. I didn’t feel excited. I felt terrified. I felt like there was a sign above my head that said “dead man walking.” I cried constantly because I was so overwhelmed. I was hyperventilating and I couldn’t calm my nerves. My hands were constantly shaking and I was always in a cold sweat. If you’re experiencing this, my friends, don’t walk down the aisle. It is a sign.

Listen here folks, if you’re reading this because you’re having second thoughts about marrying that guy, don’t marry him. I’m serious. You will know the difference between cold feet and making a terrible mistake. Take it from me, the girl who was married at 22 and dying to be out by 23. I learned so damn much in that short stint. I learned that just because someone isn’t “that bad,” that’s not reason enough to be with them. If you think you’ll be okay staying with someone that loves you more than you love them, you won’t. You’ll feel like you’re missing out on something, because you are.

You’re missing out on what it feels like to be head-over-heels in love. Listen to me, my friends, don’t marry that guy you have doubts about. Wait for the one that you know you love beyond a shadow of a doubt. Your heart will know instantly and every mistake you made in the past, every “I love you” you uttered before, every smile you smiled towards someone else, well… they’ll all feel like a lie.

You’ll realize that you didn’t know what it felt like to love someone until you started loving them, that each smile was just a placeholder, and that you can’t spend a day without them on your mind. Hold onto that person. Cherish that person. Tell him how much you love him. Tell him how your heartbeat has changed since meeting him. Tell him how the thought of not touching his hand brings tears to your eyes. Tell him everything, every detail about you, every secret you’ve never shared. Show him your scars, the physical and those on your heart. Trust him with all that you are. Give him everything you have. Trust the “oh shit” I’m-about-to-dive-head-first-off-of-a-cliff-in-love kind of feeling. It’s real. It’s there. Don’t doubt it for a second. When you do find it, savor each moment; life passes by so quickly and before you know it, you’ll be 89 years old and missing the sound of their footsteps in the other room; so choose to enjoy their laughter, their smile, the warmth of their hand… enjoy it all while you can.

-LP