I loved my husband.
I was pregnant.
I believed him when he said our problems would solve themselves.
I silenced the inner voice that told me something wasn’t right.
Maybe it was the fact that I had never imagined my wedding day as a shot gun ceremony, thrown together in less than a week, and kept secret from everyone.
Maybe it was because I wanted to shout to the world that I was a WIFE, that somebody was my HUSBAND and instead we stayed mum and pretended to only be engaged in an effort to include everyone in our big, white wedding ceremony planned for 11 months later.
Regardless of the doubts, I loved him. God, I loved that man. And so I hung on.
Whatever it was – or wasn’t – I remember being whole heartedly blissfully happy after we said our I Do’s. I was married to the man I loved, we had a baby on the way… what more could I ask for?
If I’m being honest though, things weren’t all that blissful in our relationship. Now that our divorce is imminent, I’ve found myself dissecting it, piece by piece, month by month, year by year, trying to find where the problems started. Somewhere there had to be a leak, a crack in the foundation that spread and festered and infected Us until we crumbled.
DH and I had a very passionate relationship. We met on New Year’s Eve, started dating on Valentine’s Day, and thanks to a tornado that blew down half my house, were living together by St. Patrick’s Day. By Easter I’d met his parents and by Memorial Day he left for Iraq. I wonder sometimes if it wasn’t for those big events, the tornado and the deployment, if we would have loved as hard and as fiercely as we had.
Before he went to Iraq, we were together constantly, completely wrapped up in each other. We were – and are - two very different people. We used to laugh about the opposites attract cliché. I am social, I love people, I loved going out with my friends, happiest when I’m with a group laughing. I had a huge circle of people I hung out with and never went a day without something to do. My husband is the opposite. A very small group of friends, not very social, happiest to sit by himself. The things I enjoyed – concerts, the bars where everyone danced, the nights where my friends and I just hung out and played board games – were far from his idea of fun. I am more adaptable, more go with the flow, the one who would compromise – or bend, perhaps – to keep the peace. Yes, there were tons of times we went and did the things he claimed to hate. But once we were living together and he flat out refused to go, more often than not I stayed home with him, did what he wanted to do. That’s not to say he asked me to stay, that I was a prisoner or that I resented him for it because that’s not how it was at all. Looking back now, I don’t even think I realized (or minded) the pattern I was setting because I just wanted to be with him. Cuddling on the couch watching Ali G reruns was a change from what I was used to, but whatever we did together was great because we were just that – together. In a matter of months, I became one of “those girls” I hated without even knowing it was happening.
When he came back from his summer deployment, we were so happy to see each other that things were at an all time high. I couldn’t get enough of him and vice versa. I can honestly say that the month after he returned was probably the best of the entire five years we were together. We took weekend getaways, a vacation, went to baseball games, and hung out with friends. I had fun, I was head over heels with somebody who got me, made me laugh, and best of all, was head over heels for me too.
But things changed. The new wore off. The arguments increased. But I loved him. So I hung on.
The invitations with friends gradually dwindled away and when I did accept, I was so annoyed with the bombardment of where are you going, who are you going with, how much are you going to drink, when are you going to be home questions, that more often than not, it wasn’t even worth the night out. I went from an independent, do what I want and to hell with all of you girl to a love sick puppy. I felt like I lost myself. Reading this you’re probably thinking he was being controlling. Honestly though, I don’t see it as that. I was never told where I could and couldn’t go, wasn’t fearful to accept an invite. In contrast, he often encouraged me to go do things with my friends. I just figured in the grand scheme of things, a night out wasn’t worth the headache of an argument so I just didn’t go. Does that make any sense?
As is the cycle, things got good again. Awesome in fact. I think the best way to describe our relationship was that when it was good, it was great and when it was bad, well….. we fought and we fought hard. Both of us stubborn, both of us wanting the last word. He knew what to say to hurt me and I was the queen of the smart ass zingers. Although we planned on getting married, there were several times we considered calling things off. But since I loved him, I hung on.
I truly believe if we hadn’t been living together that we would have split. But I also truly believe that God had a plan and that things happen for a reason. And His plan for us, the purpose of our entire relationship, was to have the two beautiful children we do. When I look back on everything, I can’t regret him and I never will. Regretting him would mean regretting my kids.
It became apparent the fall after Nut was born that we were not happy. At least not in regards to each other. We were over the moon with our daughter, how could we not be, but as a unit, as husband and wife, something was astray. There were promises to change on both our parts. Promises were broken. There was talk of separating, talk of who would get this and that. The talk stopped. Because I loved him….. I held on.
Gradually, things did get a little better. I got pregnant with Bug a few months later. And then things fell apart again. The arguments were an almost daily occurrence, the snipping at each other, the criticizing, the nit picking, the disdain, the tension. I could feel it all the time. It was like having a weight on my chest. The things I wanted to say I kept to myself, let the anger boil my blood. When I finally did open my mouth to voice my frustration, it was an all out war. I was bitter, I was resentful, and I was PISSED.
Because of this, I tried to avoid the fighting, swallowed my pride and just held on. The damage was done though. It was us, it was what we did, how we worked. I realized I hated it, hated the up and down cycle. That wasn’t how a marriage was supposed to work. Yes there was going to be good times and bad, but the latter shouldn’t outweigh the other. We both deserved more. Better. We stopped sleeping in the same bed last July. After Bug was born in August, I told DH we had a year to change things, a year to finally make it better, or I was done. I took my wedding ring off in October and haven’t worn it since. I checked out. I was already done. I was tired of feeling like I lived my life walking on eggshells, tired of not being happy. We both readily admitted we were miserable and didn’t want to be together so why drag things out?
This is not to say the last year has not been hell on me. On both of us really. It is very hard to try to explain our split to people who haven’t been here in our shoes. It wasn’t a knee jerk reaction to a few arguments here and there. It’s not a phase. It won’t get better. We’re not just at a low point. We were holding on tight for long enough…but now it is time to let go.