Today marks three years since my husband left us. I don’t know if you are supposed to call these dates “anniversaries” or not. They aren’t cutesy days like your first kiss, your first date, the day you got engaged or the day you married. The new anniversaries are darker and sadder. The day he told you that he didn’t love you, the day he left, the day your divorce was finalized, all days you remember but, do you call them "anniversaries?"
Married for seventeen years, my husband went through a mid-life crisis at the perfectly predictable age of 40. He got a new, sportier car with black tinted windows. He started working out again, a lot. He was obsessive about his diet and very judgmental about mine. He got new clothes. He started hiding his cell phone — under his pillow at night.
I knew in the pit of my stomach what all of these things added up to, but my questions were met with consistent, angry denials. We kept this pattern up for more than six months. I was physically sick all of the time and he ignored the fact that I was about to break both physically and emotionally. I was embarrassed that I was “failing” at marriage so I didn’t confide in anyone, not really. Although I didn’t know exactly what would happen each day, I did know that there were only two possible options. He was either angry with me or I was invisible. That’s it. In many ways, he was already gone.
Finally, one August evening he came home from the gym. I was sitting on our sun porch reading. He sat down and announced that he had just talked to one of his family members on the phone about what was going on and that she told him that he needed to be happy. This was someone that I considered to be one of my best friends. I was devastated and had so many questions.
What had they spoken about?
Why didn’t she fight for me?
Why couldn’t he be happy AND still stay married to me?
He said that he would be moving out at the end of the week. He was very calm and business-like. He never apologized; he never told me that he loved me. He had destroyed my entire world and he just got up, walked inside, and turned on a baseball game.
I foolishly held out hope that he just needed a break and that after he had that break he would come back to me and to our son. It never happened. Six months later in the middle of our legal separation, I got a Facebook message from his affair partner, apologizing for her role in the end of my marriage. She wanted to meet with me. I quickly cut off any communication with her. I felt like I was on the Jerry Springer show or something — mistresses contacting me, rumors that my husband was partying it up with dozens of women in town, and the nagging terror that even after so many years I just really never knew him.
But, that is all in the past now. Three years ago to be exact. I still have to attempt to be a co-parent with a person who has hurt me more than I ever thought someone could. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It’s only been a few years so I don’t know if you ever stop pausing to reflect on those unhappy anniversaries like today — the day my husband moved out forever. I sure hope that life is kind to me again soon and that I will get back to celebrating only happy anniversaries in my future.
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