‘I’m not in love with you. I haven’t been since you got pregnant.’ He didn’t shed a tear. He turned his back and went to sleep.’: Couple learn to peacefully co-parent after separation, ‘Our love for our little girl comes first’

More Stories like:

“It has been five months now, but thinking back of the night it happened it still feels like yesterday.

I can still easily recall the shock, the tears, and the intensifying pain spreading from my stomach through my body. It didn’t just feel like a broken heart, it felt like my whole body was breaking. Looking back, I wonder how I managed not to scream at him, demand an explanation, or tell him to leave. But I didn’t. Firstly, because I felt completely paralyzed and secondly because I had our six-month-old baby sleeping on top of me.

The words he had just said kept playing in my mind: ‘I’m not in love with you. I don’t think I have been in love with you since you got pregnant and I don’t think we should be together anymore.’ I just looked at him, tears running down my face trying to keep quiet. Not to wake up our daughter. ‘How long have you been thinking about this?’ I asked.

Memories from the last year crowded in on me. Our wedding day, our honeymoon, the day we had Nova, our wedding anniversary just a few weeks before. How had I not seen it? I thought we were so happy. I had never for a second thought he was not in love with me. He answered that he had been thinking about it for a few months. That he had been waiting for the right time. I wondered if he considered this to be the right time. 2 a.m. on a Sunday night, with our little girl sleeping so peacefully on me.

Courtesy of Julie Ballin

I remember wishing that I could just leave or tell him to get out. But I had our daughter to think about. I had to be rational. All I could do was cry in silence. He just looked at me, didn’t shed a tear. I remember pondering if he had always been this cold, or had I just been oblivious? Then he turned his back to me and went to sleep.

I couldn’t sleep. I sat up all night crying, sobbing my heart out. I felt like my whole world was coming to an end. All of the life I had created together with him. The two years I had spent loving him. How had he lost his feelings so quickly? Why had he married me if he wasn’t in love? Why had he moved in with me? Why hadn’t he told me before? How long had I been living a lie? I was full of questions and he seemed unable to answer any of them.

The first few months I felt like I was walking in a constant fog. My only daily goal was to hold back the tears until Nova was asleep, where I would allow myself to cry into a pillow. I was trying my best to hide my sadness from her, but it didn’t work. Babies have this incredible instinct of knowing exactly how you feel. She almost took it harder than me.

For the first 2 months, she was crying for hours every day. It seemed like the whole situation had changed my once happy baby, where now she was just sad. Most of the days were just a big blur, with both for us crying and me trying to keep us above water. I was 25 and suddenly all alone with a six-month-old baby that would cry for a minimum 3 hours a day. To be a good mother while my heart was breaking almost seemed like an impossible task.

Courtesy of Julie Ballin

During the first months of healing, the worst part was that I was forced to see him. My now ex-husband. He came twice a week for 2 hours to see our daughter, and every time it would put me a step back. I could finally be feeling slightly better and then after seeing him and especially seeing him and our daughter together, I would be right back where I started. Asking him why we couldn’t be together. Even after we broke up, I still couldn’t see it. He was still so loving, teasing me, touching me. Every time I saw him he left me with more questions and it felt like my heart was breaking all over again every time. I asked myself if it would ever get better. I couldn’t see it.

But slowly it did get better. Right from the beginning, I was very focused on staying friends with him, for Nova’s sake. I kept reminding myself that Nova should never have to suffer the consequences of us not being together. She should only see her father as a great person, and still see her mom and dad as a team. I wanted to create a relationship where we would be able to all hang out together and could still share the big love we have for our daughter. It wasn’t easy in the beginning.

Every night I would dream about hurting him and I felt like I had so much anger hidden away, that I was afraid would explode when I saw him. But it got better. Not only because of time, but because I forced myself to think differently. I knew that keeping all these questions and pain in my head only made it impossible to move on. I couldn’t change the situation. I couldn’t force him to be with me. I could only control my own actions and make sure Nova wouldn’t be influenced in any negative way. I started to understand that we could still be a family, even though we were no longer a couple. It took a lot of energy, but slowly I started seeing him as a friend as well as treating him as one. We started doing stuff together as a trio, and it slowly began to feel good between us. I focused all my energy on the positive feelings and to show Nova that we were still a family.

It has been 5 months now, and I am very proud of how far we have come already. We talk to each other every day and we often spend a whole day together having fun. And if it for a moment feels too hard, I just look at our daughter to see how insanely happy it makes her that we are both there. I know we have both made a big effort in creating this relationship and that we still have a deep respect and love for each other and especially for our little daughter.

Courtesy of Julie Ballin

Even with all that has happened, I still consider him family and I have no doubt that he is the best father that Nova could ever have. I am forever thankful to him that he gave me her, and for the way he has been fighting for us to stay friends. I’m sure it has not always been easy for him either. Of course, we still have further to go, but I am sure that we will be able to figure it all out together. Family is the most important thing, and even though it has turned out much differently than I had hoped, we are still a family.”

From podcasts to video shows, parenting resources to happy tears – join the Love What Matters community and subscribe on YouTube.

Courtesy of Julie Ballin

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jullie Ballin. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more stories like this:

‘My husband was living a double life. I found YEARS of mail in his trunk. He changed the locks, abandoned me in a parking lot.’: Woman re-marries ‘amazing’ man she met on blind date, says ‘love always wins in the end’

‘I’d ask you out if you weren’t wearing that wedding ring.’ Newly single, it was the first day of the rest of my life. I had to act swiftly.’: Woman divorces after 22-year marriage, finds soulmate in Kmart

Do you know someone who could benefit from reading this? SHARE this story on Facebook with family and friends.

 Share  Tweet