Your Story Isn't Over- My Divorces Helped Me Love Myself Again
By: Essentially Evie
It was Tuesday, April 5th 2016. I was at work feeling lonely and sad. Things weren’t feeling right, they hadn’t for a while. I was doing extra things in our marriage to keep things fresh, to keep things fun and interesting. It seemed like a regular day where he would instant message me and we would “chat” until he had to get ready for work. It seemed like any other day, until I read “when do we just call it quits?”
I froze. My heart was pounding. I panicked. My life seemed to go into slow motion.
I would have never admitted it, but I let him steal me from my first husband. My first husband was ex-military, but an uber softy. He was a girly guy who hated to get his hands dirty. A friend of mine once described him as frail…and it was beyond accurate. He had his own thoughts and opinions, but he always caved. We had met online and the first time we met face-to-face, I was underwhelmed. But he was the only guy around at the time. For a long time I never told people his name. I started to refer to him as “the guy who is buying my drinks.” Maybe that’s why it was such a shock when I told people we got engaged.
We had our ups and downs just like any relationship. Somewhere along the line we grew apart. He started to chase after a girl at work. She knew he was married and didn’t allow him into her personal life. I started to live my life without him and found someone who seemed like he was a better fit for me. I tried not to fall for this guy. I told myself over and over again – stick with your marriage. There were many factors that went into my decision of getting a divorce. The main one was children.
When I turned 21 I had told everyone that I didn’t want children. I told my first husband the same thing on the first date we ever had. When we got married, there is a part in the Catholic ceremony where it says “do you promise to raise your children in the Catholic faith….” – I was told that I winced when these words were spoken.
I was selfish. I wanted everything. But I had to take a step back and realize, that he desperately wanted children and I knew I wasn’t going to give that to him. We were both in our late 20s. I had to think that he needed to go out and find that person to give him the family life that he wanted. I had to set him free. It was ugly, painful and so very messy.
Tangled into that ball of mess and pain was exhilaration, fun and excitement. I was living a double life. I’d be in San Diego dealing with the madness of a divorce, but then jet of to Las Vegas for the weekend with a guy who showed me a world that I wanted to be a part of. Somewhere along the way, I kind of lost who I was. On the surface, I was the same old me. But on the inside, I became a stranger to myself. I was doing things that I would have never done, hurting people and not caring, skipping important holidays and sadly…putting someone else’s happiness before my own.
These are all things I noticed in hindsight, of course, but when I was knee-deep in pain and frustration, the person that was the exact opposite of my first husband was the person I gravitated towards. He was charming, exciting and new. I was happy, in love and loving life….but I can’t begin to count how many people told me not to go for this guy – even mutual friends. I didn’t talk to my best friend for six months because she disapproved. Funny that your friends and family know you the best and yet we sometimes push them away or ignore the warnings they try to give when you are in love. Even those who just wanted to see me happy put up with him because they loved me….but even some of those friendships I lost for a while.
I loved him and I would have continued to love him even though I knew we had problems. He called me out on it when he told me he wanted to call it quits. I did admit to him that I wasn’t happy, but that I felt it was only temporary and that we need to work on us and fix our marriage. When I asked why, his answer was because he wasn’t happy. Well…yeah, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. All relationships (family, friendship and romantic) all take work. There is a give and take, but this particular relationship (I felt) was one where I gave the most and he took the most. In fact, his exact words were “you make your life too much about me.” I 100% agree. For example, there were many nights throughout our marriage where we’d make plans, he’d text me saying he was going out for a drink after work with his buddies but he’d be home in time to go out. It was always the same. One drink after work would turn into an all-nighter with text saying “lets move our plans to tomorrow” – but he would inevitably be hung over and the plans would never happen. I never said anything about my disappointment or that it hurt my feelings…that’s where I went wrong. I failed to communicate. To be fair, he always tried to get me to open up to him. I don’t know what it was about him, but I rarely ever did.
I hate confrontation. I hate getting my feelings hurt. I hated arguing with him because he was quick and I couldn’t keep up with the comebacks, so I kept my mouth shut. I kept losing a little bit of myself. Then in the end, I was an empty shell of someone I used to recognize in the mirror. I went through my everyday routine in zombie mode. We “agreed” to a separation (when really, I think he was just appeasing me) and “agreed” it would be best if we moved out of our home and lived apart. When moving day came, I was a mess. He was stone faced and had zero emotion. He rolled his eyes at me when I started to cry. We each moved in with friends. For a while I truly thought our marriage was savable. We talked more than we ever did, had sex more than we had in a long time and we actually started dating each other again. Then one day he just stop talking to me. Texts stopped. Calls stopped. Everything came to a screeching halt. I left it alone because I thought maybe I was smothering him, so I decided to give him his space.
The longest month ever passed and one day in August I get a Google Chat message from him. I suddenly turned into the modern day Carrie Bradshaw. Being told “I’m done, I’m just not vested any more” is the equivalent to being broken up with via post-it note. I had hit an all-time low. I had lost my home, my job (my company closed its Vegas office) and my marriage in the span of three months. I went through the motions of life, but most of it is a big smudge of gray in my memory. I tried to fight for my marriage. I thought I could fight hard enough for the both of us. I wanted to try everything to save it….but ultimately, I refused to be that girl that begs for her husband to stay. The fact of the matter is, it has to be both people willing and wanting to keep a marriage going.
After the bulk of my pity party ended, I started to rebuild myself. I had to remember who I was and what kind of person I wanted to be. I could have continued to be the person I became while I was in my second marriage, but I decided I didn’t like that person. Thankfully, I have amazing, loving and supportive friends and family who were there to love me when I wasn’t very lovable. When I struggled to even get out of bed in the morning. When I would snap at one of them because they were giving me tough love…or not, I was just an emotional mess. It took a while for me to realize that I would have never left my second marriage because then it would mean I would have failed twice. I punished myself thinking “this is what I get for messing up my first marriage.” I would go into a “what-if” downward spiral. I most certainly was my own worst enemy – but it was something I had to go through to understand what I want and need out of life.
One day I was asked what happened and when I said my piece, I heard the most awesome thing I could ever hear: you know, it wasn’t all your fault. I know it’s the simplest answer, but it was what I needed to hear. I put all the blame on myself for both failed marriages. In all reality, I know I made mistakes and I was pretty harsh on myself but I know I wasn’t the only one. Once I accepted that outlook, it was easier to be kinder to myself, which allowed me to start loving myself again. But then I faced a whole new conundrum. DATING! How do you do it? I hadn’t dated in 12 years. Now everything was about dating apps, to which I say – No Thank You!
A part of me wanted to get out there and have fun and explore the company of others. The other part of me was done and just wanted to be on my own. Funny thing, when guys started to notice I was sans spouse, I suddenly become prey. Social media is crazy that way. Quite a few guys from high school came out of the woodworks. I went on a couple of dates shortly after I was told my marriage was over. It was weird and uncomfortable, but I put myself out there and gave it a shot. One guy didn’t really want to get to know my on a personal level….just a horizontal level. Another seemed to want to give me the moon and stars, but then I was ghosted. As someone who was already emotional raw, I couldn’t take it. You would have never guessed though. I was told I put on a good front. I guess that’s good, right? But once again, friends and family came through. I kept busy and refocused my energy on me what I needed. I allowed myself to be single…it was the best damn thing I’ve ever done for myself.
My divorce papers were filed January 19th, 2016. My divorced was finalized January 23rd, a mere four days to get a divorce in Nevada. Here I am, a year later and completely in love with my life. I have the love and continued support from family. I’ve reconnected with friends and have had the amazing opportunity to mend what I once screwed up. In doing so, I’ve been able to meet some of my favorite people. I’ve been able to do some deep soul searching and recreate the part of me that I lost…even better, I’ve been able to build upon that and actually love myself. Since then….life just has seemed to fall into place.
The idea of writing about being a woman in her late 30’s and being divorced twice was a scary thought. I didn’t want to share such a painful part of my life, but after a lot of thought I decided I’d go for it. It’s true what they say – if it helps just one person, it’s worth it. We all go through heartache, not one of us will avoid it. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to cry, to feel hurt, angry…etc. You need to feel all of the emotions. Use them as a reminder of where you were and as a stepping stone to where you are going. We meet people for a reason. I’m fortunate enough to have had a few substantial relationships, two of which resulted in marriage, all of which a learning experience.
I now have a better understanding of what I want out of life and relationships…but more importantly from myself. I’m still a total romantic at heart. I love hard and sometimes I love too fast, but no situation or any one person will change that. I am who I am and I love that I’m not ashamed to admit that to myself or anyone else.
One, or even a few, bad chapters in life doesn’t mean your story is over. Keep writing, but remember to keep those who were there along the way in the script.