This is the day. The day that changed everything.
One year ago today, after much inquiry on my part as to why you hadn’t been acting like yourself, you looked me in the eye, teeth clenched, our children playing near us in the back yard, and muttered, “I have been unhappy for a very long time. I’ve been asking myself if I have been staying because I want to or because I feel stuck. And lately, the answer has been because I feel stuck.”
I was taken aback; my heart pounding. Time stood still and my emotions froze. In response, I told you that I had been unhappy too and had been trying to express that to you for a while. As hard as it was to have that conversation, I felt relieved and hopeful that we were communicating about it. Finally, a door had opened! We got interrupted and went about the business of eating dinner and getting the kids to bed. I remember being so nervous that I was shaking and had trouble swallowing my food.
As we resumed our conversation a couple of hours later, it quickly became clear you were already in the mindset of divorce, with one foot out the door. When you had learned I was unhappy also, you immediately began planning your exit. Surprised to hear it, I stated unequivocally that I was in the mindset of working on our marriage.
Sadly, it didn’t seem to affect you. Twelve years together, nearly eight of them married, and that one brief conversation meant a permanent split in your mind…despite the fact that we had young kids…despite the fact that you had never expressed your unhappiness previously and that this was an absolute shock to me. I was stunned to realize you had no interest in trying to repair the marriage…a marriage that was founded on love (I will always believe that, despite your skewed view of the past). You just wanted out…as soon as possible.
I found myself questioning reality.
To top it all off, you ended the conversation by leaving to meet her. Your “friend.” The one whom I had been suspicious of for a long time and who later proved to be the real reason (or, at best, the catalyst) behind it all. My heart shattered when you walked out the door.
The moment you dropped the bomb that Tuesday is forever burned in my brain. I still struggle with understanding it all…wondering if I ever knew the “real” you; why you never had the courage all of those years to talk to me and get through to me that you were that miserable. Divorce-level miserable. And for not at least trying to pick up the pieces and work on the marriage with me when we hit rock bottom, rather than throwing in the towel. I felt worthless…unwanted, undesirable, disposable.
But what I have the most trouble understanding is how you could allow a crush to grow so strong that it became more appealing than the idea of fighting for our family. Especially when I immediately began working very seriously on certain aspects of myself about which you had expressed discontent, in the hope that I could save our marriage.
I quickly learned that your crush took absolute priority over me and our kids until you finally admitted three months later that you were “in love” with her. Those feelings had been painfully obvious to me for a very long time, but you had denied them repeatedly. It pains me that you didn’t take our marriage vows as seriously as I did and instead walked down the road of infidelity.
Never in my worst nightmares did I believe that the man I knew and loved would take that route.
Never did I believe you would be dishonest with me, your best friend, confidante, and wife. Not only did it shake me to my core, but that of all our friends (and my family). And now, because of everything that happened, I am very wary when it comes to trusting again. Part of me is afraid to get close to someone again, as much as I crave it.
You have said you didn’t want to hurt me and that’s why you avoided being truthful, but the shock of both of those bombs was more hurtful than anything you could imagine. I hope you will take that knowledge to heart as you enter into future relationships. I wouldn’t wish the pain I experienced on my worst enemy.
So, here we are and your wish has come true. I still think we could have pulled through and been happy together in the end. I would have liked to at least have had the chance to try. Instead, you chose to walk. I think it all boiled down to the fact that you didn’t believe in marriage, you didn’t believe in me, and you didn’t believe in yourself. And the green grass on the other side was far too appealing.
A year later, I’m in a good place. I’ve learned a lot about myself, life, and relationships in this process. I certainly know now what I do and don’t want in a partner and look forward with great hope and anticipation to the day a new person enters my life. I still believe strongly in love and marriage, and I remain an optimist at heart. But no matter how rosy my life becomes, I will always feel some level of sadness and resentment that this is how things ended up…with you…the man I was so sure was “the one.”
This date will never be the same…but I welcome it now as the mark of the end of the worst year of my life and the start of a year filled with new beginnings.
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