Let me be perfectly clear in this: Divorce is never something anyone ever plans for. When a man asks a woman to marry him he’s not thinking “marry me so we can get divorce in ‘X’ amount of years” and a woman is not thinking “I’m going to marry him and divorce him in ‘x’ years.” If they are, they are evil, heartless bastards and should rot in an fiery grave of hell. That being said, I would imagine that most people fall under the first category. I know I did.
When I got married three and a half years ago I wasn’t thinking “when I’m 25 I’m totally going to ditch him like a bad habit.” No – in fact, I was thinking about houses with white picket fences, small little children running through the front yard, love, butterflies, ponies – hooray! Smitten with love; I think that’s the best way to describe it. I was nervous, and way too young, to really see the downside of giving myself to someone so completely without really understand who I was as an individual. I never had that growth that most people have from age 18-21. I essentially flew the coop from my parents and nested with him. Looking back, that is the only thing I regret. Perhaps if I had that growth that I need, and am experiencing now, then my marriage wouldn’t have ended in divorce. At the same time, I don’t think I would have ever gotten married.
Divorce sucks. It sucks for both parties – nobody actually wants a divorce. It’s not like I woke up one morning, open my bright blue eyes, shot out of bed and danced my way to a lawyers office. It wasn’t some seen from 500 Days of Summer where everyone joins in and waltzes down the side walk with me frolicking in sunshine. It was a slow, gradual deterioration of myself, and him, before I really realized the toxicity of the relationship. The gradual poisoning that was occurring from both sides. There is no victim here; I’m not one, nor is he. We both made a lot of mistakes in this relationship and unfortunately, they were grave mistakes.
First mistake I made: I tried to be someone I’m not. I tried to be a placid, dull person who is okay with a minimalistic lifestyle. I pretended that I didn’t like going to social parties and that spending money on things was frivolous and dumb. I often engaged in conversations with him about not being able to understand how various people functioned financially and in the midst of those conversations I would often feel a bit of resentment towards those people. Resentment, perhaps, isn’t a good word – more that I was envious that my friends were enjoying their lives while I sat back and watched their adventures and craved my own.
Second mistake I made: I gave him all the control and power. I was the younger person in the relationship and I was so infatuated with him, impressed with his accomplishments, his intelligence, that it was very easy to fall into a submissive partnership. I am not saying that I was some captured fool – but, looking back at it, I let him dictate a lot of the actions that I made. He was never verbally abusive, he was never physically abusive, he was never anything but sweet and kind to me. But, when you start convincing yourself that the key to success in life is obtained through a lifestyle not conducive to your own individuality, you will fail. That’s exactly what happened to me.
Third mistake: I didn’t stand up for myself. I knew what I wanted, but had a three year brain laps of forgetting who I was. (See not finding out who I was) and then I would retreat to the hole inside my head that says that I’m totally wrong for feeling x, y, z.
There are other mistakes, don’t get me wrong – but, I feel like these are the big ones that ruined it all.
Someone told me this past spring that “there is a big difference between being selfish and looking out for your own self interest.” Those words have stuck with me like a blind seeing eye dog. It gave me a lot of confidence that my life is just that: my-damn-life. It allowed me to recognize that doing something for myself wasn’t selfish and that recognizing that my life was becoming dreadfully placid and dull and wanting to change that wasn’t selfish. It was for the betterment of myself. It was for me. It’s not selfish – it’s whats best for me. Solitude, peace, self discovery – those are the things I ask for.