Last year, I broke the news to my husband that I wanted to get a divorce. The news was somehow shocking to him. Mainly because he never really took my needs-desires-complaints-gripes-moans-bitches-nags seriously. I regularly brought up our shortfalls and my desire to fix them for the sake of our son. I was continuously informed that I was overreacting (as always) and things were not as bad as I made them out to be. I mean, who am I anyway…nine years younger and inexperienced in life…how would I know what our relationship lacked? We only dated for a couple months before I was pregnant and got married shortly after…maybe we just needed more time to get to know each other. This went on for three years until I decided that enough was enough. My needs do matter and my husband will never understand them.
Telling him I needed a divorce was one of the hardest things I have ever done (aside from leaving my son for 9 months during deployment). It took a good four months to work up the courage to break the news. I had flirted with the possibility of divorce for at least a year and a half before that. I spent countless nights crying my eyes out while I imagined the possibility of handing over my son through a doorway of an unfamiliar house to my devastated husband. That painful thought is what drove me for the next year to keep trying. I made excuse after excuse about why I shouldn’t leave my husband. For a long time, I convinced myself that the good outweighed the bad and that I was happy.
Every Day was Groundhog Day.
As I stared out my windshield into the sea of 5 o’clock traffic on my way home from work, all I could think of was how I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to walk into the same dreary routine…walk in, take my boots off, crack open a beer, sit next to my husband, tell him about my day for 30 minutes as he stares at the TV, sit and wait in silence ………………………………………. yup, ZERO response, take out my phone, browse the internet for the next hour, entertain my son, eat dinner, drink another beer, give my son a bath, put him to bed, drink another beer (or two), browse the internet for two more hours, now buzzed enough to fall asleep without thinking about my hollow life…sleep…wake…repeat.
I Was Depressed.
Then it dawned on me. I was depressed. My heart had slowly sunk into a cold dark hole of emptiness. My only escape was that beer waiting for me in the fridge. How did I get here? I had always viewed life in such a positive way. With HUGE dreams. Always passionate and inspired. Why did I lose that spark?
What did I have to be depressed about? I mean, I had a beautiful, smart son, a faithful husband, a successful career, my two best friends, my gorgeous white Jeep, the body I worked so hard to get back, all the clothes and makeup I ever wanted…what was missing?
As the intense orange beam of sunlight hit my eyes, I stared back into it. I got lost in its power. I felt such tranquil and peace. I closed my eyes and allowed the warmth to surround me. Everything around disappeared and it was just me. Snippets of my youth came flowing past my eyes…like a filmstrip.
Teaching my sisters a self-choreographed dance, singing at the top of my lungs into a recording karaoke machine, sketching my newest fashion idea, painting a scenic meadow watercolor masterpiece…
“HONKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!” The car behind me blared. I came back to reality.
I Forgot Who I Was.
That was it. I was missing ME in my life. All the things I loved about life had been missing for the past 15 years. I had set up a life-to-do-list early on in high school (military at 18, marry by 21, kid by 22…) without considering my passions. The things that made me, ME. I had forgotten all about them up until this point. I had lived a machinelike life of people pleasing for so long that I forgot who I was.
After that moment in the car, I couldn’t help but panic. I did not want to rip my son’s life in half. He was only 13 months old! So I stayed put and kept the “D” word to myself for a while.
6 months later, my husband had to go on a work trip for a few months. It would leave my son and I home alone for the summer. I really wanted us to work on our marriage while he was away. Maybe our hearts would grow fonder with the distance? I hid a bunch of little love notes and flirty tasks into his luggage and called him as often as his schedule permitted. I knew that would help us re-spark our love.
As time elapsed, I had received only two responses to the countless notes that I so strategically placed in his belongings. I was pretty disappointed but convinced myself that he was very busy I was being dramatic as always. We would talk on the phone often in the beginning, but as more time passed, the conversations got shorter and shorter and without content or purpose.
When he left, I started a new job as an executive assistant and took two college classes. I was taking care of my son alone for months. Sure, at times it was very overwhelming (mostly because of the new demanding job) but overall I was happy. For the first time in over a year I woke up excited to start my day. I was Superwoman, I could do it all.
I Realized I Didn’t NEED Him.
I would call my husband to tell him all about my day and get nothing back in return. There were times when I really needed his input or advice and he would literally have NOTHING to say. Not that he wasn’t listening, but he really just didn’t know what to say. I would feel so dissatisfied with my “vent” session that I would call someone else and share the same story to get some stinkin’ feedback! I started to realize that I didn’t need him. We just had NO connection whatsoever. I felt as if we were roommates who shared a child. He didn’t feel like a lover OR a friend.
I Didn’t Miss Him.
During the last month of his 4 month trip, I couldn’t help but feel that I didn’t want him to come back. I know that sounds bad, but I finally had everything in order. My son and I had a BLAST every weekend. We did whatever we wanted. There was no time limit or guilt for not being at home to cook dinner. In the past, when we went out with the three of us, it was nothing but stress. My son had been colicky since day one and carried it into his first year. My husband couldn’t handle the crying. He didn’t understand our son and WHY he was crying. He didn’t know him like I did. My husband would get upset EVERY SINGLE TIME we went out. It was so stressful to go anywhere because I had to keep the baby from crying so my husband wouldn’t want to leave.
That was no longer a factor with him being gone. I could finally take him to all the places my husband would avoid. I never felt a stronger bond with my son. I was HAPPY. For the first time in soooo long. I really just didn’t miss him at all.
When he returned, things indeed went right back to how they were before. Groundhog Day.
6 months later, I got tasked for a deployment. I knew that the deployment would make or break us. I didn’t want it to break us, but understood that it was a possibility. I vowed to myself that I would take the time alone to reflect on what I really wanted. I wanted to rediscover myself. I missed me. I didn’t have a hard time saying goodbye to my husband. I was so excited to have time to myself for a while. 2 months passed and I didn’t miss my husband. I didn’t ever want to talk to him or tell him about my day. After all, he wouldn’t ever have anything to say. He rarely contacted me either. We just really didn’t need each other.
That’s when I could finally accept that it was over. That I had tried it all. Over our marriage I tried to get us to counseling, sit and talk about finances and investments, create a parenting plan that put us on the same page, go on date nights, “sexy” nights…he didn’t want to do any of it. Or figured it wasn’t necessary. Obviously there is a lot more to “our problems” than what I could possibly type about without this being 100 pages long, but you get the gist.
I Wanted To Get A Divorce
I called him when I finally worked up the courage and told him everything I was feeling and that I needed a divorce. Of course he fought it a little, but 8 months later…he signed the papers. I stuck with my guns and just knew he wouldn’t be able to change. He is who he is at age 35 and I am who I am at age 26. We deserve people that understand us and that connect with us on a deep level. We deserve to be friends with our significant other. I finally acknowledged that I deserved better and I was NOT going to settle for less.