I was only 17 when I met my former husband. We met through mutual friends and got along very nicely. Unfortunately for me, our timing was not the best. I was living with someone at the time and soon after I met Pete my current living situation changed. The man I was living with informed me that he had cheated on me. I was living in a city where I had no friends or family and moving back in with my mom wasn’t an option. So I called up Pete to see if I could stay with him and his mom for a bit while I found a job and got on my feet.
I moved in with him and that is where I stayed for 16 years. We got married when I was 24 and we had our first child when I was 26. There were issues along the way from the beginning but we always seemed to push through them and move forward.
Then he dropped the bomb. About the time our first child was 15 months old, he found God. Not that finding God is a bad thing but for a person with OCD and major depressive disorder, it became obsessive. So, in his finding God he decided he needed to absolve himself of something he had been hiding from me. When we had been dating almost 3 years he had cheated on me. The worst part about this was, I think I knew. I even confronted both of them. Obviously I was told I was being crazy and that nothing had happened so I blindly forgot and moved on. This admission hit me like a brick wall. What the hell was I going to do now? Do I stay and forgive or do I take our daughter and divorce him?
I chose to stay for my young daughter’s sake. It was probably the biggest mistake that I made because the next 7 years were awful and not only was I completely unhappy I thought having two more kids would help and bring us closer. It did not.
I was never able to let go of the betrayal I felt. I was angry for those 7 years although I tried not to be. I had tried to forgive but I just couldn’t forget.
After the last baby, I noticed a huge change. He was withdrawn. He had become OCD about God and for him that was all there was. He read the bible constantly. He stopped doing all of the other things that he had loved to do. His entire being changed. He started pushing the bible on me. Telling me that if I didn’t I was going to hell and that I needed to be saved.
He even at one point told my mother that she had spiritual cancer. My life was a mess. I was a mess. I hated who I had become. I was depressed and of no use to anyone, including the ones I loved the most, my kids.
I had always believed that Pete and I would be togther until death do us part but I realized that there were so many reasons for us not to be together even if we did have children. The fighting that happened everyday and the constant unhappiness was reason enough not to stay together.
We went to counselling but he only kept up his end of the bargain for a little while and then it went back to the way things were. He had become a different man and we no longer worked together as a couple. Our relationship was dying and there was nothing I could do to stop it and I had gotten to a point where I didn’t care if it did.
There were two very distinct things that happened during that last year of our marriage. These were the final straw for me. I was so sick, I mean I was barely functioning and I had a 6 year old, a 3 year old and a 1 year old to take care of. I couldn’t even get up off the bed without throwing up. It doesn’t happen very often but when I get sick, I get really sick.
He was supposed to do some church membership thing on the day I was sick. I begged him to stay. I told him I couldn’t take care of the kids on my own, needed his help. He looked at me, told me he had faith in me and walked out the door. He was gone for 5 hours and honesly I am not sure how I functioned. I know that the kids were fed and taken care of, I am just not sure how.
He came back after his church thing and proceeded to tell me he was giving 10 percent of his pay to the church. The only problem I had was how was he going to give 10 percent of nothing. We were barely getting by as it was. He fought me and then said he was going to move his pay check to another bank account where I wouldn’t have access and then transfer the balance to our joint account. We fought for some time and then I left with the kids and stayed with my mother. I should have just separated from him then. I could have but he came to his senses and I went back.
The second “final straw” was the day I told him I didn’t love him anymore and that I was done with our marriage was on his birthday. I know this isn’t really the best day for something like this to happen but my kids were so excited to celebrate his birthday and he didn’t return their excitement. We had gone to the store and bought stuff to make his favourite dinner and a cake. He just sat there and acted like a big bump on a log.
The kids tried everything to make him smile and be happy and he just ignored them. Finally I got so angry with him and he looked at me and said “Do you love me?” I just kind of ignored what he said not wanting to say anything but he kept asking me until I finally blew up and said no. One little word was so freeing for me. It was anything but for him. He moved out 3 days later. We got divorced in 2012.
I didn’t cry when it was over. I just knew in my heart it was the best decision for myself and the kids. I was scared though. Being a single mom of 3 scared the crap out of me but we did it. We got through all the tough stuff together. I am stronger for it.