Life Story Part 1: The Recent Past

A month ago I should have been celebrating my second anniversary. Instead I sold my soon-to-be ex-husband’s wedding band and gave him an eviction letter. Nice anniversary gift huh? So how did it get to that point? It started with our wedding day.

What should have been the happiest day of my life started well. Everything went reasonably smoothly, the ceremony was moving, scenery beautiful and everything seemed to go off without a hitch. Forget that I really would have rather eloped and was guilted into a wedding I didn’t want. But when I got in the car to go to the reception, my brand new husband lambasted me for the entire car ride that I was late and kept him waiting. He made me feel so bad I cried. On the way to our reception. That little voice in your mind that whispers to you? Mine was saying, “This isn’t right. This isn’t how this is supposed to go”. I ignored it even as I dried my tears.

Fast forward through the reception which was full of laughter and jokes, a few nice speeches, some pretty unmemorable food. We arrived back at our hotel room. While I was taking off my dress, my husband laid down and fell asleep. And began snoring.

Crushed. Utterly crushed. That’s the only feeling that I can describe from that moment. That little voice chimed up saying, “You’ve made a horrible mistake”. I fought with that voice even as I cried for two hours before finally falling asleep. It was, to this day one of the most horrible nights I can remember in the last six years.

But it gets worse. How? Easy. On our first official day of marriage, (it was a Monday) my husband and I decided to go to Macy’s and buy a vacuum cleaner. There was no romantic getaway, just back to business (we were pretty broke). My new husband picked a fight and made me cry in the mall parking lot. I don’t remember what we argued about but I remember being incredulous and devastated at the same time. That little voice said, “Uh Oh. This is getting worse.” I tried to reason with that damnable voice without much success. Another wound that would heal and leave a scar.

Little did I know the fighting would escalate until finally about six months into our marriage my husband and I had a knock down drag out verbal fight and I said the words out loud. “I think we’re broken. I think we’ve made a mistake”. Now I wonder if we ever worked in the first place or if we just never fit to begin with? At six months I seriously considered leaving. But my husband, who at the time I adored, cried his heart out and said, “I’m not giving up on us.” So we tried some more. He got on anti-depressants. I got on anti-depressants.

Let me tell you something I learned. If you need anti-depressants because of your relationship or to cope with your relationship, you need to really look at that. It’s a sign that your relationship is wrong for you and causing you serious issues. I have PTSD so I figured it was just more of that. What I found was the relationship exacerbated the PTSD. It made it 100 times worse. Prior to the relationship I had no need for medication. In the relationship I couldn’t go a day without it and even with it I still struggled most days. I was taking 200mg of Zoloft a day and still didn’t want to get out of bed most days. The day I ended our relationship I stopped taking Zoloft. It’s been 2 months, 12 days and I haven’t taken any anti-depressants since. My PTSD symptoms have disappeared.

Add financial pressures, and serious personality issues and our relationship began to disintegrate faster by the day. Really it’s amazing it lasted four years. But despite that, ending it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Tearing our lives apart, hurting our children and watching the animosity grow between two people who once wanted to spend the rest of their lives together has changed me in a fundamental way I don’t understand yet.

It’s a relief to be out of the drama and the pain that was a daily part of our lives. It’s nice to be free of his selfishness, and to be free of being someone I’m not. But a part of me hurts. It doesn’t hurt for the relationship or even for it being over. It hurts for the loss of hope. For the innocence and optimism I lost along the way. For the lost trust in another person. I went into it with such hope and belief we could overcome everything together. My theme song was Dave Matthews Band’s “You and Me”.

It hurts because I gave him my heart and he was supposed to guard it, protect it and hold it sacred. And instead he beat it and abused it every chance he could. He took the things he knew would hurt me the most and used them against me. That was something I never thought he’d do. And how the hell do you get beyond that? The third of June will be thirty days since he moved out and while my life has begun moving forward, memories of him still pop up now and again. A part of me is still waiting for him to come disrupt my life again. Most days are peaceful but some days are weird.

Soon I’ll file for divorce and a part of me dreads it. I want the dream back. I want the belief back. I believe in marriage. I believed in him, in us, and in our relationship. So what does it mean when, despite the belief and effort, it doesn’t work? Does that mean it was wrong to begin with? Or is there something wrong with me? With him? How do I grieve and move forward with my life? I feel lost in it all. I don’t know how to comfort my daughter when she says she misses daddy and she’s mad at me for making him leave. She doesn’t understand I did it as much for her as for me. Because the relationship was toxic and had to end.

 

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