One doesn’t have to pack a bag and walk out the door to leave the marriage.
Have you ever been there, but not really? I am guilty, as charged, of zoning out this morning during my very long weekly staff meeting. Once the topic of conversation gravitated toward things that didn’t relate directly to me or my job, I’ll admit my mind started to wander to my grocery list, what I might have for lunch, and events from the weekend.
My body was there, but my mind was gone!
The same can be said for many marriages. As years go by, many spouses are still “there” going about their everyday business and acting out the role of husband and wife; but, the energy, focus, and even love may be absent. This notion leads me to the conclusion that a husband or wife doesn’t have to physically pack their bags and walk out the door to leave a marriage. We can be left by a spouse without the element of physical abandonment!
I do not dispute the fact that a spouse vacating our home and exiting our life is a tragic event! A spouse’s presence and involvement influences everything from who we spend our day with, how finances are handled, our children’s relationship with both of their parents, and so much more! Whether we know our spouse is leaving, or not, it is perhaps the most visible tear in the fabric of the marriage and home. If we were unable to grasp the finality of our break-up before, their leaving proves it.
This brings me back to the concept of someone being there, but not really. I was married for ten years to my ex-husband. It was I who finally took the step to walk out the door, but I would contend that he left me many years before.
It all started with other things becoming more important to him than his wife or family. At first, it was hobbies, friends, and even the seductive armchair in front of a TV that never failed to entertain and captivate him. Porn was more interesting than the flesh and blood woman lying in his own bed. The internet took precedence over interacting with his children or talking about the day’s events with his partner. He slipped further and further away into his own existence that had nothing to do with his wife or children.
He was there, but he was gone.
I know, my pet trolls and critics will be oh-so-quick to tell me all about how it’s my fault that my husband tuned out of our marriage, as I did during today’s boring meeting. Sure, I should have talked less about the bills to pay, asked for less help, demanded less attention, and simply kept my head down and silently continued to serve. If only I had stopped caring so that it no longer hurt, turned a blind eye, and accepted his indifference, we could still be married! Yay!
Sorry, I just refuse to buy the load of crap that a marriage is anything less than a partnership and two-way street! We all have our moments when we may carry more deadweight and other times when our spouse picks up the slack while we are not as strong. But, for the most part, love, respect, communication, and effort should be given freely and equally by both spouses. It’s not up to one spouse to keep a marriage alive, but one spouse checking out on the arrangement can be enough to end it!
I will argue that a piece of paper saying that you’re married is not enough to be married if you don’t act like it! Being ignored, neglected, avoided, and failing to uphold your end of the workload required of a home and a marriage is not a marriage- it’s just a convenient option (for one partner) to be served and tolerated by another who is expected to swallow their dignity and right to equitable treatment as a spouse!
I may have finally had enough and found the courage to throw in the towel on a man who sent clear signals for many years that he was done with me and our marriage, but only because he essentially begged for it every time he shut me out and decided anything else under the sun was more important than our relationship.
There’s more than one way to leave the marriage or be left.
He left me when he forgot what intimacy was.
He left me when he decided that I was invisible.
He left me when my it became okay to flirt with co-workers and make porn his mistress.
He left me when all the responsibilities of our home and children fell on my shoulders.
He left me when my physical and emotional needs no longer mattered.
He left me when he would rather do anything than spend time with his wife.
It’s not as though I don’t understand that it’s not all about me. It was about us, and there no longer was an us. I didn’t expect to come before him, to deny him his personal interests or space, or rob him of his identity. He made a choice to realign his priorities, and our marriage was not it.
A popular question posed to the divorced is “who left?” Well, that really depends! Sometimes it’s the person who packs a truck full of furnishings and clothes and drives away. Other times, it’s the person who disconnects and no longer cares.
Perhaps the real question should be “who left first?” At times, the one who leaves may be both the first to stop investing in the relationship and the first to physically act on it. In other situations, don’t be so sure that the one who moved out is always the one to initially pull away and move on. My ex and I may have continued to share a home for years after he left emotionally. Our legal date of separation may be one thing, but the plug was pulled long before. I did the walking, but he opened the door.
I agree and know exactly how you feel. I hope you are doing well after all of your heartache.
The thing is I’m in the same boat. I would say I’m sorry for what you went through, however you may feel like me and glad the feeling of being invisible is over with. My ex-husband turned to a gaming console hours on end and I became last on his priority list. In fact, when I told him I wanted to be separated it was because I felt invisible, worthless and not wanted.
Now I do have to admit, the final explosion was on me, I had an emotional affair through emails, and he found them. I stopped trying to hide them. It lasted for 6 weeks and I couldn’t imagine being with someone while I was married. He found them a few days after I broke it off.
So I’ve been divorced for 5 months on paper but 3 years in my heart, married for 14 years. It seems the first 5 years were great, ups and downs as any relationship but we made it work. Years 5-10 really pushed my buttons where my thoughts and feelings were never considered, he made choices for me without me knowing. He would do things that would annoy me over and over again. I thought maybe I just didn’t express myself enough. Time kept going and things were getting worse I knew. I suggested marriage counseling and he looked at me like I had two heads. “No we’re fine,” he says and turns away from me.
Somehow things did get better, we had another baby boy, 2 now, and we were able to buy a house. However within that year span I knew deep down we were headed for divorce. He never helped me. With my career, our schedules, finding babysitters, paying for clothes food etc., no help at all. I felt like a single mother with a leaching older family member that just won’t leave. But I also thought marriage isn’t always sunshine and lovemaking. So I kept trying, honestly….cut my hair, began working out, utilized Ideal Image in the bikini area, brought lingerie, and the list goes on because for some reason it seemed he was losing interest and I couldn’t figure out why. I would go back and forth as to trying really hard to oh well, thank goodness for a dildo. I then realized I wanted a divorce, I was a beautiful woman in my sexual prime and I’m lucky if I get any once a month. I wanted a divorce, I was done trying because he was done trying. He would call out of work to play his live video games. He had the computer set up in the bedroom and I remember nights where I cried myself to sleep and he didn’t even know. I was neglected, and felt ashamed that my then husband didn’t want anything to do with me. Over the next 2 years I thought of how to get out of this marriage, would I survive, would I have custody of the kids, where would I go. He made me believe I was horrible at finances, at scheduling my work hours, at everything.
During those 2 years being so stressed I became sick in different ways. I was trying out for an additional task at work that required an intense physical portion. I had trained for weeks and was ready. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it and passed out during the try out. I was severely dehydrated and was in the hospital for 3 days due to my kidneys shutting down. He visited one time. And when he did it was, “how long are you going to be in here, I have to work.” Excuse me, asshole for being sick but didn’t you just call out of work for a video game??!! I finally came home rested, the day and into the next day. I woke up with severe abdominal pain but since I was home it was my job to take care of the kids. Hunched over I got the kids ready, fed and off to school. I came home and asked him to come with me to the doctor, something was obviously wrong. We went and they had no answers for us, well they said I was pregnant but I mean you need to have sex for that to be a possibility. So I said ok we will drive 20 minutes north to the free standing ER. However, I needed to take him home 10 minutes south because he was tired. So hunched over, I drove him home then headed to the ER, diagnosed with gallstones and transferred to the trauma center 40 minutes further north. Had tons of testing with surgery scheduled in the morning. He came and saw me in the morning, only because he knew some friends of mine were coming, so he had to make an appearance. I had the surgery, unfortunately no gallstones but they took biopsies of everything while in there. I woke up from surgery to an empty room. Ultimately, they had no idea why I had so much pain and all my levels went back to normal. But the day I came home from surgery I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “My husband doesn’t love me anymore.”
A year later I had a lump in my left armpit. Had it removed, it was benign, great. A few months later it grew back. The words breast cancer were verbalized to me. Went through testing, alone, waited for results, alone, cried, pleaded alone. Thankfully again all came back negative. No cancer, benign again.
I realized my strength. I realized I didn’t need him. I realized he didn’t care at all. From then on I started taking care of myself, educating how I will handle being on my own etc. Had the emotional affair, he found it and I said well I’m done. Hardest, but best day of my life. Wouldn’t change it for the world.
Morphie Englo says
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