I married for a third time in October 2001. We had children, none together. I was hesitant to marry again. We moved into a new home together. I realized I was paying half of all the bills and, if anything ever happened, I had nothing showing I was a contributor to our relationship financially. I had struggled as a single mom for many years and, now having the ability to have two incomes and be able to keep afloat with my relationship, losing my home scared me. When he played a band gig in October 2000, he proposed. He was upset when I asked if he was drunk but, knowing my wishes, I was shocked he had even asked. I accepted and we married the following year in a small ceremony. I balked at first allowing him to just take my paycheck and pay bills. Then I thought this is awesome - no responsibility for me for once.
Of course, our marriage was not love and roses all the time and we had our ups and downs like most marriages do. Three years after we married I found out he had an affair. I turned around out of hurt and reached out to my former ex which was a huge mistake. We made it through and worked on our marriage. We moved to South Carolina due to his job in 2009. I left behind many friends, family and my two older adult children. He, too, left behind friends, family and two adult children. This was our life, our future, our starting over - together. So many plans for our future and I was excited.
I was shocked and hurt in October 2013 when I found he was having yet another affair with another married woman who worked for him. Even with all the hurt my heart was aching. I wanted to do everything in my power to hang onto our marriage. He refused it all from therapy to simple explanations about why it happened. He gave me mixed signals throughout the two years we were separated, first, telling me he had feelings for her (yet I don't know how considering she never divorced or separated from her spouse and still continued to work for him). That all made no sense.
I didn't have the strength to turn off my feelings for him even with all the hurt he caused to not only me but also to my daughter. Every time my phone would ring my heart would ache wanting him to say he missed me and wanted to work on us. I remember him saying to me he couldn't understand my fear of being alone because I had been alone and on my own with my kids when they were smaller.
He had every bit of confidence I would be fine. I wasn't so sure. Fourteen years together is a long time and he jumped from his mistress to dating. We had kids that were five and nine (the youngest) when we met that were now graduating from high school and entering college. We had lived and shared so many dreams and our career goals together. There was nothing he and I couldn't talk about. He was more than my husband - he was my best friend. I took all the bad times, his ignoring me, his working seven days a week and never having time for me, his mood swings and the hurtful things he would say to me and I made those disappear. My judgement was clouded with the hope that I could just rescue the man I met and fell in love with and make all this go away. I failed, it failed, my marriage still ended.
I felt like crawling under a rock and taking me out of the world that once was. He continued to call me, text me and keep in contact until January of this year when I said no more. South Carolina, having a mandatory wait period to finalize a divorce, was my savior in the end. That wait period helped me to heal. It helped me to face reality and see that his constant lies and broken promises were what destroyed us. I was alone.
I now have the freedom of the world. I can come and go when I please, I can date if I want, I can let the dog take over my entire bed, and my bra can hang off the door knobs. I can finally live. My daughter walks around in her underwear after work around the house. We don't walk on pins and needles anymore. For the first time in 14 years I come first and I am learning to really like that feeling. It is not about being selfish at all. It's about loving yourself before anyone else. In all my past breakups I spent no time in searching for the next male body to replace the last. I was the one who did the breaking up. But not this time. He hurt me, but how I chose to live my life was up to me.
My divorce was final on May 18, 2015. He never once looked at me and I was dressed to kill that day with my hair all curled and my 5 inch heels. I looked mighty fine and he never glanced my way, not once. Our marriage ended in less than 15 minutes. I prepared to cry but didn't shed a tear. I was awarded half his 401K, monthly alimony and sole beneficiary of his life insurance. My older two girls and grand-babies came into town that day and are with me for the next month. I am living for the first time in a long time. I answer to no one except my boss and I am able to travel and work from home when I need to. I can pick up and leave to be by my daughters' sides in Ohio or Virginia. I always felt the need to rush home from work. I don't do that anymore.
I have been asked out on dates, all of which I declined. Friends have tried to fix me up and I have declined. I really don't, at this time in my life, want someone to dictate what I can and can't do, text me and expect a response, or have to answer to anything. I like just being with me. It is lonely at times, but I will take lonely over heartache and lies any day. I was excited yesterday when my hedge trimmers I ordered came. I thought about the "Tim Tool Time" grunt as I was out there alone trimming the trees in my yard and proud of how nice it looked when I was done. I thought for a brief second what my ex would think about my well taken care of home and yard that he has no part of.
Then I realized this is who I am. I am woman hear me roar. I will never again allow any man to define who I am. I am alone and I am ok with that because I know I am not really alone just because there is no man in my life.
photo credit: Beach Day via photopin (license)