This year has been the longest year of my life, and yet I feel like I’ve missed it all through a haze of emotions. I’ve felt like I died a thousand times a day for a thousand days only to wake up on Jan. 2.
You see, I’m getting a divorce.
I spent my marriage begging the man I loved to spend time with me, convincing him the things we would do would be fun, urging him to enjoy time with me, to smile, to love our life as much as I did. He did not. He did not love our life. I’ve found out now that many of his feelings stem from a deeper issue and a massive depression I didn’t know he was living with. But my stepfather once told a teenaged me, “No one could ever love you,” and while it was said in anger, those words have become a part of me, of the image I know is others’ perception of me. Of the image that is my perception of me. Having to convince my husband to like me only solidified that perception. I didn’t have the self-esteem to lose, but lose it I did. Beg, I did.
We have not stopped loving each other. We did not fight incessantly until our will broke. Things were not getting worse. In fact, things seemed to be improving. We had a difficult time, a VERY difficult time when I was pregnant with our second child. I was miserable pregnant. I didn’t feel beautiful, I had horrible aches and pains and heartburn and fears. I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t exercise and I couldn’t focus. And I didn’t feel loved. Mostly, I didn’t feel loved.
My husband was not the overly doting, overly loving, overly complimentary, overly compassionate and overly expressive person I needed him to be. In fact, much of the time he seemed nearly absent. On more than one occasion, I questioned whether he remembered I was pregnant at all. He was more lost than me, and sometimes I knew that, but I was the one who was pregnant. I was the one who had no choice. I was the one who felt trapped.
If there is any way to lose a lost man further, it is to give him a map and a ticket to leave. To his credit, he did not. We have always loved each other, very much. It was that love for each other than made me rethink my position, quickly, and redouble my efforts to be happy. To make him happy. From that day forward, I promised myself, I would do everything he asked of me. I would do everything I hadn’t done before. I would try not to nag, try not to question, try not to be dissatisfied. And it didn’t matter what effort he put in because I did not want to lose this man. I loved him. And I didn’t want out.
It was slow, at times, excruciatingly slow. But it got better. We got better. It was not perfect, it was not close to perfect. There was a lot of work to be done, but I thought we were getting there.
Much of what I did for him, much of what he asked of me, contributed to his problem and his depression further. And contributed to my lack of self-worth. The questioning of my stepfather when, in high school, I loudly told him I had a lot of friends, “Do you? Do you really? How could you?” made me question if even my own husband didn’t want to be with me; if I was so terrible to even the man I loved so much, how could anyone want to be with me? How could I have friends? And made me far more desperate than a wife should be.
And the thing is, I was terrible to him at times. When I couldn’t handle the pain and the heartbreak and the neglect and the lack of fulfillment I felt from my marriage, I was cruel. I was disrespectful, and I was mean. How could I have friends? How could anyone love me?
I blamed everything on myself – my misery, my depression, his misery, his depression. And yet, I couldn’t admit it to anyone for that would be admitting to a total failure in life, in the one thing I aspire to be: a good friend. A good person.
My greatest fear – beyond that of death, beyond that of failing at motherhood – is not being the best person I can be. No, the best person there is. And I am not. I am not by far.
And thus, I am getting a divorce.
Worst, everyone must know my failure, everyone must know I am not the best person there is, because everyone will know that I am getting divorced. I can’t forgive and forget. I can’t let him work to build me back up as his wife, I can’t work to build him back up as my husband. And I no longer want to try.
So I am getting a divorce.
I have a dream of being with someone I don’t have to beg to be with me. I have a dream of being the person someone wants to be with most of all. I have a dream of being the good person, the better person, I want to be because there is someone who deserves that person and not because I feel I have to be better to deserve them. I have a dream that I will not cry unexpectedly, that I will not have to do the things I enjoy alone, that I will not have to beg the man I love for his company. I have a dream of being truly happy. And I have a dream that my children will someday understand this choice that I’ve made.
This post was written by Penney Blakely. Contact Penney at firstname.lastname@example.org
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