I’ve been accused of blurting things out that make people uncomfortable so I’ll just say what I’m going to say and we’ll work out where to go from there.
My marriage is over.
Four words I never thought that I would say.
Almost 23 years. Poof. I’m a statistic, a wife that’s been thrown over, a jilted spouse, a cougar, a 47-year old cliche. I’m the scandal, the fodder for the gossip mill, the movie of the week. That’s me. Everything you’d never want to be, and more.
If you’re shocked then feel in good company. I feel ya. I do too. Amongst other emotions too: sadness, horror, despair.
For once in my life I’m at a loss for words. I don’t even know what to say. I’m all talked out. I’ve railed and screamed and cried. Facing life’s insurmountable challenges head-on is not my jam. I like to ride my unicorn up the rainbow, with sparkles in my hair.
You’re probably wondering what happened. Knowing my propensity for oversharing, you’re right in thinking you’re going to get the goods. I’ll disappoint you. In this sitch I’m going to have to let you down. I have children and even though I’m tempted to shout the sordid—or juicy, depending on who you are—details, I’m not going to. Those kids don’t need to read all about their parents’ Netflix Originals production on the internet.
What I can do is tell you my story. How I feel.
First, I was in shock. Literally shaking. Then, I was cold and numb. In denial. Next was forced optimism. Cold anger. Then despair, fatigue, and complete and total sadness. And more anger. But not the murderous kind. Burning, aching, shaking, fatalistic, all encompassing anger.
The kind of anger that breaks your soul.
Last week I was full of hope. I had the family I dreamed of during my unhappy childhood: close, warm, devoted, a gathering place. I had a husband I loved and who I believed loved me the same way, without exception.
Our life wasn’t perfect but it was still ours. We created a home together full of happy memories and shared dreams.
I was satisfied with what I had and while it would have been nice to have the extras, luxuries and expensive things didn’t mean as much to me as the love and devotion of a good man. An intimate night cuddled up on the sofa was my safe place, my happy place. Taking care of my people and seeing to their needs filled my cup and gave me joy.
I asked for nothing in return except honesty and a firm spot at the top of the priority list.
I fell in love with this man the first time he kissed me. I was 22 years old, just on the cusp of adulthood. The night of our first date, after his lips touched mine in the sweetest warmest way, I dreamt of walking down the aisle in a beautiful white gown. At the end, a tall man in a black tuxedo turned. It was him.
So I just knew.
Just like any courtship ours had its good moments and its bad, its doubts and certainties. But throughout, I just knew.
Our wedding day was joyous. We had one fight on our 3-week honeymoon and it was because we were lost in Rome and he wouldn’t ask for directions.
Sure, he has his idiosyncrasies, let’s be honest, so do I. Everybody does and nobody is perfect.
But through all of the ups and downs—3 children in 5 years, jobs lost and gained, arguments, and daily petty irritations, there was one constant: I loved and trusted him completely with an open heart and a giving spirit.
I’m that rare modern woman who derives unadulterated joy from making her man happy. And I wanted nothing back except to be loved without exception.
And now I’m here, in this place. I’m sitting alone in my bed, trying to make sense of what has happened and what will become of me, and so I’m sorry if I ramble.
I don’t sleep, and when I do, it’s either fitful or like the dead but when I wake it takes a minute to remember why he’s not there next to me.
I starving. Famished. But it’s not for food, which tastes like sawdust.
I’m starving for the warm, familiar embrace that’s lost to me forever.
You ask, if it was all a facade, if that embrace wasn’t given with the same open heart as it was received, why do you crave it?
I can’t answer you. I just want it. If in any stretch of the imagination I could take him back, I would. If I could be struck with amnesia I would take him back. In a heartbeat.
It was me that made the final choice to end the marriage. It wasn’t a difficult decision, based on the circumstances, but it was one I wish with every part of my body that I didn’t have to make.
Do I hate him? No. I choose not to hate. Hate would be easier. It would release me from feeling so bad. Hate would make everything so much more black and white but it would also fill my heart with toxic bitterness, which I fear would darken me forever.
The rub is that my lack of hate keeps me in a neverland where I still love him and want what I had, however much of it was built on false promises. My lack of hate makes me stare at the dark sky looking for a star to wish on.
But there are no stars or unicorns or rainbows. There’s just reality.
I’m not sure where I’m going to go from here. I don’t want to hear platitudes.
This is not the beginning of the rest of my life, but rather the end of the life that I know.
This is not the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but rather the very very worst.
He hasn’t done me a favour, he’s done me a disservice.
I’m not going to be better off, because I had what I wanted.
I’ve never been alone. I went from my parents house to ours. I’m shy. I’m not good with strangers and when a good-looking man looks at me I look away. I’ve only kissed one man for the last 25 years. I don’t know how to flirt. I work at home by myself. I’ve never been to a movie alone or spent Saturday night waiting for a man to call. I’ve never really ‘dated’ in the conventional sense and when I did, I hated it. I don’t know how to play the game and the last time I was single they’d just invented cell phones.
I don’t want to navigate the 100s of weirdos and liars and scuzz bags and hook-ups to find one decent (sexy) man who will be kind and honest. I don’t want to be ghosted or to swipe left or be used. I don’t want anyone to see me naked for the first time and I don’t want to have to dump people or be dumped. I don’t want to seem desperate or wanting or needy. I don’t want anyone to send me dick pics and I don’t want to worry about the state of my wax. I don’t want to be pursued by boys my daughter’s age because they think women in their 40s hold the key to ecstasy (well, that’s true. We do.)
I don’t want to compete with 50 ‘older’ women for the one normal man.
I don’t want to be what I am: am a married woman who isn’t married anymore.
And I don’t know what to do.