Today marks 6 years of the day I whispered the words that ended my marriage
The fact that I whispered them is actually very significant to me. I didn’t feel heard and my voice continued to get louder and louder as I looked for someone to pay attention. Then I went quiet. 17 years of being a couple ended on 2 little words. Whispered words.
I vividly remember the beginning, back to where it all started. All the laughter. The fun of getting to know one another. We were so young back then. Still full of hope and dreams. Somewhere over the years it started to fall apart. I’m not even really sure when that was. When did I notice the laughter was less? When did the hopes and dreams start diminishing? Everyday life took over as it does for so many. This wasn’t the first time I had left my ex. I had left before. But we worked it out. Worked through it that time. Or so I thought.
I was a single mom when I met my ex. So not easy from the beginning but we worked at being a couple. Then we became parents together. Way before he legally adopted our oldest daughter on paper he already had in his heart. We added 3 more children to our family. A large family by today’s means. A busy house full. Lots of laughter, cheering, tears and drama. But so many houses are that way. We had our ups and downs like so many other couples. There was illness. There was the loss of a baby. There was long nights and short days. So how is it that we fell apart when so many others don’t? Why did I give up instead of fighting to save what we had built? I grew tired of the fighting. I grew tired of trying to prove that I loved him and wanted to be in that marriage. I grew tired of feeling like a mistress to his business. I just grew tired.
I felt unheard. Unappreciated. Not respected. And that built up over time to resentment.
We tried counselling to get back into the relationship. We tried date night. We tried going away just us. We tried. But somewhere for me, I discovered that I stayed in the marriage because it was easier to dance with the devil I knew than the devil I didn’t. I stayed because we had 4 kids. I stayed because I was a stay at home mom who hadn’t worked for 14 years and felt I had no job skills. I stayed because I had nothing. No savings. No money. Nothing. And this didn’t happen overnight, this longing for something more for myself. No, this took years to build up to wondering if I was where I needed to be. But that night when I whispered those words, I meant them. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
The last 6 years have been an amazing growth journey for me. I have taken a hard look at myself and changed what I didn’t like. I have learned more about myself in the last 6 years than I think I ever did before. And I like me. I continue to grow. Continue to learn. Continue my journey.
It has held its own challenges. Being a divorced mom to 4 kids. Trying to be strong for them at times when I didn’t feel strong myself. Putting a smile on my face when all I wanted to do was cry. Finding a job to support myself. To not have the luxury of staying home with my kids now. Not having the luxury of the trips, the fancy house, and the new vehicles. To sometimes not knowing if I would be able to pay the bills on time. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I love my life. I love who I have become. I love my independence. I love making decisions. I love where this path has taken me. I have nothing to prove to anyone and that is freeing. In the last 6 years I have grown so much, it’s hard to believe that I am actually the same person some days. When I look in the mirror I still see the same outside of me, ok a few more laugh lines but I still look like me. Inside is where it is different. I no longer look to others for the validation I need. I no longer look to others to hear what I know is there. A strong, confident, sexy, independent woman. She’s there and she shines! Maybe it’s just my age, but I have more patience now. I am more at peace with myself. I am less frustrated with myself. I forgive myself more easily. I love myself more. I no longer question myself. I am so much comfortable with me. And maybe that would have come in time if I had stayed. But I don’t think so.
We have both moved on to different paths with our lives. My ex is remarried. We are unique in the fact that we work together to parent our kids. That is the one thing I value the most about our relationship. We can sit side by side at a sports game. We wish each other well. That I know. We have gotten past all the bitterness and blaming. I shouldn’t speak for him. I know I have moved past all that bitterness. He treats me with more respect, so I believe he has gotten past all of that ugliness as well.
So today is a day of mourning for me. Not mourning what could have been or what I wanted it to be. Rather a day that I think of all those happy times. That is what I mourn. And just as I would mourn the loss of a good friend or a family member, I mourn the loss of my marriage. No regrets that it happened. No regrets that I ended it. No regrets at all.
No one says “I do” with the intentions of saying “I don’t” somewhere along the line. No one walks down that aisle wondering how long this will last. I know I didn’t. I walked down that aisle to the beginning of a journey, thinking we would be side by side for a lifetime. And I as I said my vows in front of family and friends, I whispered them because I was so full of emotions that day. So it really should be no surprise to me that I whispered the words “I’m done” on the day I ended the marriage.