“When I decided to get a divorce, it was the moment I picked myself for the first time in a long time, and began taking steps to learn who I was. I got married when I was 20. At the time I was ready to settle down, share a life and grow old with a person. I knew there would be hard times but I truly believed there was plenty of love, plenty of drive, and shared visions of the life we wanted. Looking back, there were signs we didn’t see eye to eye. It started to show the first year we were married. He felt like he was missing out on something and no matter what I did, he was not satisfied. I’ve come to realize it had nothing to do with me, it had to do with him.
I felt really alone and lost. I stopped using my voice. I stopped doing things I enjoyed because I felt depressed and defeated. How was I to explain to people what I was going through when I could barely form the words? I’ve always heard of how common it was for couples to go through rough patches, but they would make it through. With us, it felt like we held onto grudges and could never fully let it go. The next time we were going through a rough patch – it was piled on to the time before. It was an endless cycle.
Over the years, we continued to have our ups and downs. I was finally ready to ask for a divorce right before I found out I was pregnant. We were living near my family again, so I thought we would have their support. We could each start over and we didn’t share anything big, so it would be a pretty clean break. We both knew deep down it was not working and we were not a good fit for each other.
It felt like we were living separate lives. I would look at him and had no idea who the man was I was looking at. I felt like there was another side of him I didn’t know or couldn’t touch, like the restricted room you aren’t allowed to be in. Over the years it really broke me. I felt like I was never good enough, I was unlovable. We would get into arguments about cleaning, cooking, date nights, making time for each other, money, being present, being on the phone all the time, not feeling like a priority. The biggest one was sitting right next to him and feeling like he was worlds away. His body was there but his mind was somewhere else. I was giving so much and he wasn’t trying to make it work to meet me half way. Then he would tell me he is trying and I had given up. It truly was an endless cycle.
Weeks before I found out I was pregnant, I had a conversation with my mom. I told her we weren’t working out, and I thought now would be as good a time as any to get a divorce. Flash forward to finding out I was pregnant – we weren’t trying, but we weren’t not trying. I was with my mom when I found out, we were running errands and I was late by a day or so, but my cycle would fluctuate so it was not alarming. I took a test right before we had lunch and it was positive. I was in a state of shock. My mind immediately went to, ‘Well I have to tell my husband.’
After lunch, we went to his job and I told him. He didn’t believe me at first. He told me I was acting funny and he could tell something was up. I had to show him the test before it actually started to register. I went to take another test to find out how far along I was, and then I started to look up doctors. We were both excited, nervous, and shocked about being pregnant. Everything else just went out the window. Thinking of leaving him wasn’t an active thought. Now had something much bigger to figure out that required our attention, and we had a certain window of time to make it happen. We began to plan.
Where did we want to live? Who would help watch the baby? Would we do daycare? Baby names? Items we needed? Doctors’ appointments? What was I allowed to eat? Making sure I was being careful with what I did because I didn’t want to add any strain or too much stress. In the back of my mind I thought now that we were expecting, our relationship might change. Maybe the man I fell in love with would come back to me. Maybe we would be able to work through what we needed to and leave the past in the past, and move forward to build a new life. Maybe this was the big jolt we needed to restart us, to bring us back together.
But by then, it was too late.
While I was pregnant, we transferred within our companies and moved to a new state. We were setting up a life where we didn’t have anyone near us that we knew. With all of that going on, we were both distracted with getting everything ready for the baby and trying to settle in and adjust to this new life. After I delivered our healthy baby girl, our relationship was not getting any better. When things got worse there was no energy to fight. We would distract ourselves with the baby, work, household chores and just existed with each other.
Then 4 months later, I found out I was pregnant again.
We wanted to have another child, and we wanted them close together in age. I was excited but there was a part of me deep down that knew it was not going to work. Ultimately, it cost us our baby too. Taking care of our child was on my shoulders. He would help here and there, but I carried most of the burden. How was I going to do this with 2 babies under the age of 2? In the quiet moments, I would allow my mind to wander to the relationship with my husband. I could feel the distance between us and I had no idea what to do to get closer. I realized I didn’t want to get closer.
I started to not like him, I held resentment because I felt like everything was on my shoulders and he had no responsibility besides work and the times I required him to help with the baby. I was drowning, but he was my only lifeline. We didn’t have family around us and the friends we had were coworkers whom I didn’t know how to ask for help. I felt like I was a burden. Why couldn’t I rely on my husband?
One Sunday in April 2016, I woke up and was spotting. I called my doctor. She told me to monitor it and if it got bad enough, I should go to the emergency room. That is exactly what happened. It was really bad. I thought for a while I was not going to make it. My husband was with me, and I was having to text him goodbye and tell him he was going to figure out how to be a great dad. Also that he had to trust himself, and confide in who he needed to for help with raising our daughter. I truly was not sure I was going to pull through.
At that moment, it didn’t matter what lead us here. It didn’t matter the struggles we faced. What mattered was that this is what we were facing and I loved him and I needed him to know that. I lost the baby, and during the week following when I was recovering, he did step up and I was able to start healing emotionally and physically. This was also the time when I began to heal myself and started to look at life differently. I started to dive deeper into my feelings. I will always be grateful for him during this time. I know that was one of the scariest moments we’ve faced as a couple and we made it through it.
After losing the baby, I would have moments looking at our relationship – wondering if this is what I really wanted? Was I the problem? Did I think the grass was greener? Was I comparing my life to others? Was I in my feelings too much and seeing the relationship from a skewed view? Were my feelings valid? Was the unhappiness I felt within myself pouring into our relationship? Have we tried everything? Have we really put in a true effort? The feeling I couldn’t let go of was the feeling there had to be more.
I started to look at why we got married, what qualities did I see in him. I realized I got married because I did love him, but I also didn’t want to be alone. I thought we could make things work and grow old together. But I also realized I relied on him to fill the parts of me I needed to heal. I was holding onto him with an expectation that was unobtainable. I was expecting him to give me the feelings or provide the feelings I was not able to give myself. Unconditional love, acceptance, peace, healing, confidence. The divorce was a joint effort, and I was on a mission to set us both free.
My breaking point was when I caught him lying to my face. My reaction was calm – I didn’t fight it. At that moment, I knew it was over. I told him right then I wanted a divorce. He didn’t believe me because it was mentioned before and nothing was done. When I looked at him, I had love for him but I didn’t love him anymore. I knew there was nothing left for us, I was not going to stay in this place. I knew I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be and stay in the relationship. I knew I couldn’t grow and I knew he would feel the same. We both resented each other even if we didn’t want to admit it. I needed to choose myself, be selfish and remind myself that I love myself more.
When I finally filed for divorce, my mind was filled with so many questions and concerns. How was this going to work? What if I fail? How was I going to afford anything? Would I be able to buy a house? How would I provide a comfortable lifestyle for my child and me? Would I be able to fully support myself or would I always need to depend on another person? Who would want to date a single mom? Would someone truly accept my child as their own? Was I damaged goods? Am I making a mistake? It was a broken record constantly playing in my head, I would feel paralyzed with fear, and then I felt so empowered that I was making the best choice. It was up and down like that for months, from start to finish through the whole process.
Now that I have been divorced for over 2 years, I’ve decided to become a divorce coach. I want to help women live their best life and be their best self. I know what it’s like to want more from life and to feel stuck in a marriage and not know how to get out or where to begin. I know how daunting the task of rebuilding your life can feel. I wanted to provide support and ease with the transition, because through the process of my divorce I felt so alone. I want to help women feel empowered and know they can do it. It may not start the way you want, but you can have everything in life you have ever dreamed of.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lauren Marie of Bedford, Texas. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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