The man I am divorcing is not the same man I married. Hell, he’s not the same man he was six months ago. And I am not the same woman he married, either. I’m tougher, wiser, more forgiving. And I’m gonna be OK.
I married the most amazing man. Really, I did. From the moment we met, I knew how fortunate I was that someone like this had come into my life. He was kind, supportive, honest, friendly to everyone and so much fun to be around. He could make me laugh like no one else in this world, and I admired his work ethic, even when it took him away from me for days at a time.
When he proposed, it was a no-brainer. Yes, yes, yes … I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man. He promised to love me, protect me, take care of me. And I believed him. We agreed pretty early on that divorce would not be an option for us. My parents – while they had their fair share of problems – had been together my whole life, so I had no idea what divorce was. And I never wanted to find out. His parents had divorced when he was very young. It was a bitter divorce, and he felt the effects of it growing up, and he never wanted that for his children.
Over the years, we both renewed our promise to each other – that we were in this together, for the long haul, through good times and bad, no matter what. We lost our first child, a son, to stillbirth in 2005. The stress and devastation of losing a child can easily tear a couple apart, but we actually grew even closer during this heartbreaking time. We each depended on the strength of the other to face and accept what had happened and heal. Our bond was tested again in 2007 when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He was my rock, my strength, as I went through treatment, and was there to celebrate with me when I was declared cancer free. We experienced the joy of the birth of our two daughters. I stood by him as he pursued his dream of becoming a nurse, and the day he graduated continues to be one of the proudest moments of my life.
With all we had faced and overcome, with all we had accomplished, who would have thought that his weight loss would be the one thing we couldn’t get past?
I know it’s not that simple. It’s never that simple. But the truth is, the more weight my husband lost, the more of a stranger he became to me. I recognize the part I played in our marriage ending. He wanted me to be supportive of his weight loss. And I was, to an extent. But it also made me more insecure in our marriage than I have ever been. While his self-confidence was growing, mine was shrinking. I was threatened. I was scared to death he would lose interest in me, his chubby wife. He misinterpreted this fear as unhappiness on my part. And he did absolutely nothing to put my concerns to rest.
As a nurse, he works in a predominantly female setting. And, let’s just say, some of the women he works with do not have the best of reputations. I could see that he was really enjoying the attention. With every text, he received from a female co-worker, with every “I miss your face” post on his Facebook wall, and every Facebook “poke,” I became more and more convinced that this was the kind of interaction he was craving, not my sweet texts and romantic gestures.
Lest I sound like an overly jealous wife, I should point out that there was a basis for all this insecurity. A few years ago, I discovered he was having explicit and extremely inappropriate conversations with a woman on Facebook. Though I had forgiven that indiscretion, it was always in the back of my mind. I considered it entirely possible that he could do that again but had always hoped that he had learned his lesson.
However, when I tried to express to him that I was afraid our marriage wouldn’t survive if he couldn’t recognize and understand my fears, he used that as the catalyst to end our marriage, and within a few days, he had moved out. Three days after he left, he got rid of his wedding ring. Six weeks later, he looked me in the eye and said he didn’t love me anymore and was no longer attracted to me. So much for a trial separation. This man is not, and never has been, a quitter. He gives 110 percent to everything he does. But all of a sudden, our life together wasn’t worth fighting for. And that’s a hard pill to swallow.
And as we try to navigate our way through this painful disentanglement of our lives, my husband becomes more and more unrecognizable to me. It’s as if he has lost the best parts of himself with the weight. The thoughts and opinions of the family members and friends who love him and have known him longest no longer have any impact on him. He has a new, younger group of friends who are encouraging him to quickly move on, even though we have only been separated for four months and have yet to formally file for divorce. It’s so cliché … I would laugh about it if I wasn’t living it. And don’t even get me started on the arguments we have had about child support – apparently, he didn’t give much thought to the fact that he would have to help support two households when he left.
It would be so easy for me to blame myself for all that has happened. It would be so easy to let his rejection of me mess with my mind, make me feel unworthy of love and respect. But I refuse to do that. This will not break me. I know who I am, and I know what is in my heart. And I would have never given up the way he did.
The man I am divorcing is not the same man I married. Hell, he’s not the same man he was six months ago. But I am not the same woman he married, either. I’m tougher, wiser, more forgiving. And I’m gonna be OK.