How the heck did I end up married to a man I didn’t love and then allow him to abuse me? Good question. I write my story in an effort to try to understand it myself. Welcome to the series, “Marriage Hell.”
Rob and I moved into our new home on June 1 and our wedding was just two months later on August 4. The time between the two big events were insanely busy unpacking, getting settled, planning a wedding, and attempting to get our three kids established in their new routines and rules. Some days were fun. I loved having a home and really threw myself into painting and decorating and making our new home “ours.” I loved nesting (when I wasn’t on the verge of a panic attack).
There were days that I would think, “At 39 years old, I finally have what I’ve always wanted- a husband, children, home, good career, and pets. This is how it’s supposed to be. I’ve arrived!”
And there were other days that I was not Ok at all. One day I was at work and was on a long and very boring conference call. I went to Realtor.com and there was the condo in Pacific Beach that my seven year old daughter and I were living in before we moved into our new home. It was officially for sale. I got teary. That was my house! I wanted it back more than anything. I didn’t want to be getting married. I didn’t want the big house. I wanted simplicity. I wanted cozy, cute and fresh. I wanted my old life back.
Instead, I switched sites and ordered my wedding dress online.
As I always do when confronted with a bad or scary situation, I look for something positive to hold on to. As silly as this sounds, I grabbed on to the Christmas party that Rob and I had talked about when we first saw our new home. “This is perfect for parties!” Rob promised. “We are going to have a huge Christmas party this year.” I loved to entertain and whenever I wanted to crawl into a ball and cry, I thought, “We’ll have a party and lots of our friends will come and this will all be fun. I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.” Besides, it was too late. I was in too deep and I had to make the best of it.
It was now Monday early evening, just five days prior to our wedding. Morgan (my daughter) and Nicky (Rob’s 16 year old daughter) were swimming in the pool while Rob and I sat at our patio table talking. We were laughing and having fun. I had my laptop and I logged on to my email. My heart stopped. I had a message from Tom, my ex-boyfriend, the guy I still loved, the one who I still missed every single day. My eyes must have gotten huge and I quickly closed out of my email without opening it. A few minutes later, Rob went into the house and I could wait no longer. I hadn’t heard from Tom since prior to moving into our house. I opened up his email. I remember exactly what it said: “How’s your summer been? I’ve been spending a lot of time surfing. Work is busy. I hope you’re doing well. I think about you all the time.” Holy hell. That email sent me into a tailspin. I sent a brief reply back. “Life is good. Busy. I bought a house, we moved. Summer’s great. Take care.” And that was it. No mention that I got engaged, was getting married, that I was living with a guy. Nothing. I couldn’t. If I had, it would have closed the door to Tom forever and I just couldn’t do it. If Tom came back into my life and I thought there was a future with him, maybe (probably) I’d leave Rob. I’d have to. I didn’t think I had enough strength not to.
As the wedding got closer, I put on a brave face and smiled and acted excited. I smiled so much that my whole face ached. But inside, I was falling apart. I wanted to be with Tom. I was sad and scared and regretful and filled with dread. I did NOT want to get married. Not one.tiny.bit. And I was powerless to stop the wedding day from getting closer and closer. I was in a total “Tom funk.” Rob felt it because he told one of my friends, Emmy, that he thought I was getting cold feet. When Emmy told me this, I thought “cold feet”? They are frozen.
Nonetheless, I was completely invested in my new relationship. I owned a home, I was getting married, my daughter absolutely loved her new dad, and I had a family. I was going to make the best of it. Period.