At the beginning of 2017 I had a pretty normal life. I had a husband and two amazing daughters who are so smart and gorgeous and just adore their parents. We had a ton of family and friends and we loved to socialize. We had a calendar full of events at all times and we showed up happy and ready to party at all of them. My husband traveled every week for work which was a little taxing but we were in a routine and I had gotten used to handling two toddlers ages 3 and 2 on my own Monday through Thursday. I would enjoy having the TV to myself after finally getting my older one to go to sleep. During busy seasons I would get right back to work once the kids were down so I didn’t even notice he was gone most of the time. By the weekend Daddy was home and we were off to some family party or wedding. I would have an occasional girls night out to keep my sanity with lots of wine and laughs with my friends. It was the only time I could get the husband to change a diaper so I enjoyed that image as I sipped on another glass and promised to not be home too late. Life was just okay, but from the outside we were a normal married couple in the thick of life raising two daughters, planning for more children, better careers, and achieving happiness.
I think it is safe to say that no family is a perfectly happy family…with the exception of my best friend and her husband…they are annoyingly and wonderfully in love 99.5% of the time. Seriously, you want to hate it but you can’t because its genuine and a great example of what could be. #lifegoals
Anyway, things from the outside seemed fine, and I would even tell myself things were fine. I would blame all the stress on the kids. I would say things would be better once the girls were a little older and it wasn’t so hard, or he would get a different job, or we would get some quality date nights in there to remember why we were married in the first place. I hated the house we were living in and was planning our next big move to a larger house in a nicer neighborhood – something I knew would take a lot of convincing for him to do. The fighting was constant. We would argue over everything big and small and no conversation was just easy. We would fight, and then argue about how the fight went. None of it was really working but I wouldn’t admit that to myself.
I would fantasize about the day when I would leave him, which was also something I thought was normal….because everyone hates their husband, right? I would have it all mapped out from where we would live, how often he would see the girls, and who I would be married to in the future. Even how I did it would be played over and over in my head. But the courage to actually do it was never there. Why would I want to make my life harder than it was? I had gained so much weight after having my two children, who would want me now? I would think about what my parents would say. They have been married 44 years and came from families that were whole. We are decent Catholics who do NOT get divorced. The shame I would bring to my family was more than enough reason for me to back down and go back to my irrational thoughts of “things will be better when…”. My father was in the middle of chemo treatments for stomach cancer and dropping a bomb like this on him would seem cruel and selfish. He was close to my husband and I was just as afraid to break his heart as I was to break my husband’s.
The night before Doom’s Day we had a little incident at the house. I was cooking a new recipe for the girls – it was sort of a Chicken Parmigian with Pesto creation I had come up with. Well, it started the oven on fire and before I knew it there was smoke everywhere and I had two kids in the minivan at the end of the driveway waiting for the firetrucks to come. Everything turned out fine and I was more embarrassed than anything. The kids thought it was so fun that the firetrucks came to their house and it was safe to return that night. It could have been so much worse but I was still shaking after putting the girls down that night. I prayed and prayed that something would change. I finally admitted to myself that I hated this life. I didn’t want to be alone with the kids at night anymore. I wanted a husband to be present. I prayed for a change but didn’t know what that change could be.
Fast forward 24 hours and the husband wants to have a talk…
It was quick and painful. He brought up a name I didn’t know he knew. My coworker who lives in another state that I never talk to… This was the reason he wanted a divorce. He had read my text messages after getting upset by something I said but he “can’t remember what it was”. He witnessed a conversation I had with one of our mutual friends about a coworker that I had talked to at a conference in Denver. From the context of the conversation he pieced together that I must have been having an affair. He is too jealous of a person and could not continue to be married to me.
I had called him out on a similar scenario 6 months prior with a coworker of his whose name was well known in our household. I knew to look for her conversations when I opened his phone one night and found him sharing deep personal thoughts with someone that wasn’t me. He shared FEELINGS with a woman that he would never share with me. This man does not have feelings. When we discussed it, two months after keeping it to myself, he thought I was crazy and paranoid. Now that he found I was interested in a coworker too, that is a double standard and he cannot trust me.
Thirty minutes go by, and he has left the house. That’s it. There was no talk of counseling. No chance to explain myself and make him realize I never touched another man nor had an emotional relationship with him. There was no discussion of the children other than he was more than willing to give me custody. That was the first time he called me a good mom in 4 years.
My world had collapsed. Why was I so devastated when this was exactly what I secretly wanted for years? We are checking each other’s phones…this is clearly not a good relationship. Why was I so turned upside down and feeling regret? I was so mad at myself for talking about a stupid man that means nothing. I was mad at him for not caring more about our marriage and wanting to try to make things work. Was I really that disposable to him? We spent 12 years together and in 30 minutes it was all gone. And now I had to face my family, his family, and our friends. He was adamant about not telling anyone the details of our divorce. He wanted to be civil and friendly. He still wanted dinners at the house and family days out. He wanted us to hang out with our friends together and just be the coolest happiest divorced couple ever. To me, this was strange behavior for a man who just accused his wife of possibly cheating. But I bought into it as I always did with him.
He was always concerned about saving face and keeping up his image; something I was familiar with in my own family. So naturally I agreed to this facade of being better off as friends. I was certainly grateful to him for not spreading around rumors that I had cheated…especially because they WEREN’T TRUE! Once again I was talking myself into the idea that things were okay and not as bad as I was feeling. All it ever got me was denial and regret. I was in denial that this was killing me. That our marriage was killing me and yet the divorce still hurt that bad. I had regret that we never discussed the real issues. The issues started well before Miss “Let me Cook for You” and Mr. Charming. There were real issues that we never even cared to resolve.
So I have vowed to myself that I will never brush off the big things again. If I feel a certain way, no one can tell me that I am irrational for having feelings. No one will make me downplay my emotions and my instincts. I am not a ridiculous person and my feelings are valid. I repeat this to myself often. I really hope one day I believe it…