It has now been six years since I left my husband. My road has been long and insufferable but I don’t regret it one bit. My children are well-adjusted, smart, and sweet teenagers. They often tell me now that they understand why I left their father.
The plan was for Bryan and me to date for a couple of years and then get married. We did. When he decided to go back to school, I was to work until he finished medical school and then have our first child after he landed his first job so I could stay at home with the baby. We did that, too. And then I had my son two years later and stayed home for another two years.
I was obedient, we even moved back to the town where we had met so we could be near family. I actually wanted to do that, I felt I would need the support. All of this talk of the plan is important because I followed the rules and reaped the benefits: a husband with a good job so that I didn’t have to work, two beautiful children, and our dream house. It took eleven long years to accomplish all of that and for a short time, we were happy.
But the darkness always lurked below the surface. His binge drinking all night while I took care of the babies during the days. He slept through his hangovers while my depression got worse and ultimately, my self-esteem and confidence took the final hit.
I had to leave and I had to do it without counsel from my judgmental family. I knew what they would say, “Why would you leave all of this to live alone, broke, and stressed out?” They never saw, or they chose to ignore, the gradual erosion of my marriage. Not even the two Mother’s Days in a row that he slept off a hangover while I hosted a brunch not only for my mother but his as well.
Or when my sister came over one morning and found him passed out and naked behind the wheel of his car with the stereo blasting. Or even when my daughter crawled over him to get him to play with her after he had just passed out an hour earlier from another all-nighter.
I kept much of this to myself out of embarrassment. I wasn’t ashamed of what he was doing, I was ashamed that deep down I knew from the day I walked down the aisle that it was a mistake but I married him, and had two children with him, anyway. For such a smart girl, I made a colossally stupid decision. I don’t call it a mistake because I made those choices deliberately but I wondered every day what I was thinking would happen.
Maybe he would change as we had our family? Or it’s not as bad as others because at least he is at home and not cheating on me? Now I know. It was because of the plan I keep referring to. Not my plan, or even his, but our parents and siblings and all of our other relatives. We were expected to follow the plan. And I was not even close to being brave enough to not live up to their expectations.
It got to the point where I was making empty threats to leave him. For some reason, I felt like my words would impose some action from him to help fix things. All he did when I threatened him was throw me a smirk and walk away. I now know that I stayed that long because I believed them when they told me divorce would devastate my kids. The night I decided to make good on my empty promises was very spiritual in nature. I have a strong connection with God and I pray for signs from Him to help me go in the right direction.
I was lying in my daughter’s bed, she asleep next to me. My son was also asleep in his room although I will never know how they didn’t wake up with the blasting music. You see, Bryan would get his beer and cigarettes and lock himself in his study all night. He would play music so loudly that we had noise complaints. This was one of those nights. I remember praying to God and asking him “Should I leave him or is that a sin?” You see, I am Catholic and we don’t believe in divorce. As soon as I asked the question I felt a wave of relief wash over me. I took that as my sign and the next day I started making preparations to leaving. Come to find out, I actually had my parents on my side. They even found me a place to live and paid for my divorce out my inheritance.
It has now been six years since I left him. My road has been long and insufferable but I don’t regret it one bit. My children are well-adjusted, smart, and sweet teenagers. They often tell me now that they understand why I left their father. You see, someone told me to do my best to not say negative things about their dad. It was hard, really hard, but I knew that given time the kids would figure him out all on their own. They have, and it breaks my heart.