The One Where I Drop A Bomb…

5 years ago this month was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. And it was magical. Lovely, really—cakes, flowers, a white dress, rings. Hope.

5 years ago, I said yes. So did he.

5 years ago, I got married.

In case you haven’t been following along, I’m not married anymore. Yes, my friends, this makes me a divorcee. I’ve struggled for months with whether or not to share this piece of my life with you. Slowly, as close friends have asked me to share, and others I care for have come to me with the same struggle, I’ve realized that I am not the only one who has experienced this as a young adult.

In the world of short marriages, of things that come and go as quickly as they came, this certainly isn’t unusual. Have you seen the books and magazines and TV shows chronicling divorces? It’s commonplace, barely considered a big deal. I’ve met people my age who laugh and shrug it off, as if it’s not a big thing. But to me? It was a big deal. It IS a big deal.

I fell in love young. I was 17 when my ex and I got together “officially” after knowing each other for a few years. He took me on my first real date after asking me out for the first time on my 15th birthday. When we started dating again at 17, I fell hard. It instantly felt serious, and when he proposed to me when I was just 19, I didn’t hesitate. I loved him. My wedding day, just after I turned 21 was amazing. My parents were supportive, and my wedding was perfect.

It was after the wedding when things began to change. We came home, and lived together for the first time. And in all honesty, it felt like everything shifted suddenly, deeply, seriously. I felt as if I was living with a stranger. Looking back on it now, I can see that while we spent a lot of time together prior to marrying, we failed to really know one another in an intimate way. There were expectations, plans and feelings, goals that were never ever shared between us that suddenly didn’t mesh.

I made a promise to myself when this whole debacle started, that I would never, ever speak of him poorly—and while I don’t hesitate to tell my story to those close to me, this blog will not be a “bash the ex-husband” story. While we are no longer in love, I still respect him enough not to tell the private things that affected us so deeply. Suffice it to say that there were some very, very serious issues that we struggled with. As for the specific efforts we took, all I will say is that we worked. Sometimes together, sometimes separately—but it wasn’t enough. Both of us contributed.

Besides the issues were were having, I was physically ill. I’ve never been a hypochondriac or someone who gets sick often. Suddenly, I was stricken with migraines—every single night. I’d come home from work, and it’d hit me like a ton of bricks. My evenings were spent with ice packs in the dark or in the bathtub staving off nausea. My stomach hurt, with the worst cross between nausea and heartburn that rendered me unable to work or function. I had every test under the sun—my doctors were convinced I had gallbladder disease, an ulcer, stomach cancer, but nothing could be found. I experienced the worst insomnia of my life. I went for weeks with no more than 2 hours of sleep per night. I was horridly depressed. Not just sad, but suicidal, and hating my life, and wishing more than anything that I could just change everything but having no idea where to start. After one particularly horrible blow up, I knew I couldn’t take it any more. I called a therapist with my HMO, and I can say with no exaggeration that she saved my life. That day, on the phone, with a woman I’d never met, I began to feel hope again. And a few weeks later, when we separated, I came home to an empty house, with no headache. For the first time in my life, I slept alone in a house, and I slept like a baby for 10 hours straight. It was then that it all came together. I knew what I had to do.

I ask myself a million questions, still, about why it didn’t work out. I look to silly flukes: the breeze that day caused our unity candle not to light. The morning after our wedding, my ring had given me a terrible rash, causing my finger to swell, and I had to take it off and get it expanded and re-dipped so it could stay on my finger. I comb over our relationship, looking for a needle in a haystack, trying to find out why, why, why. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

One of the most common questions I’m asked is if I’d do it again, if I regret marrying him, or divorcing him, or both. And the answer to both is no. Divorce rips your heart out. Divorce hurts in a way like nothing else. The thing is that it’s not just the end of a relationship; the loss of companionship. It’s the death of being an “us”. The death of hopes and dreams. It’s being estranged from a circle of friends while everyone figures out their “side.” It’s the small stupid things: no more Christmas traditions or having someone to call who knows exactly what you want on your salad and someone to kiss goodnight. And I don’t regret divorcing him. It was, in many ways, the best decision I ever made. It saved me. It saved me from being dead inside.

Still, I don’t regret marrying him. It was the right choice at the time; I know that I went into it with the best of intentions, with the most hope I could have. And it didn’t work. It’s awful. I screwed up, and so did he. But I made the best choice for me, at the time. And for that, I feel no regret.

The truth is, divorce taught me incredible things about myself. It taught me that I am a hell of a lot stronger than I used to give myself credit for. Despite it being incredibly hard on my parents, I can honestly say that our relationship is stronger than it’s ever been. I learned more about myself, in those quiet, sad months of being alone than I ever knew before.

And the good part? My story of love was far from over…stay tuned for the good part…because believe me, there is a very, very happy ending.

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26 Comments

Filed under life with titch

26 responses to “The One Where I Drop A Bomb…

  1. This is amazing, my friend.

    There are ways to share your story and help others going through similar things without giving specific details… as you obviously know. This post rides that line perfectly. Respectful and honest come together in a way we don’t often see.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing, truly. Sounds like you have a healthier view of marriage and divorce than so many people are age. It’s just sad that you had to learn the hard way.

  3. JP

    Thank you so, so much for sharing this. I think there’s such a stigma on young couples (women in particular) who get divorced shortly into their marriage. I’m glad you’ve found something right for you.

  4. Sam

    You are brave to share this, Amy. I am really sorry that you had so much pain – isn’t it weird how our bodies manifest pain in our heart & soul. You’ve written about this time with so much compassion for both of you – I think it’s so easy for people these days to see divorce lightly, but I know it’s no light decision. I can’t imagine how hard it is, for sure, and Lord knows I took basic breakups with a huge amount of heartache and emotional upheaval. I’m so happy for you that you are well and healthy and that you have found happiness down the road in your journey.

  5. Madeline

    I loved that you shared this. Thankyou! I’m in the club too, and to hear someone share such a similar story is comforting. I know we’ve talked before about this- a lot- and I’m sure we could talk forever about it, but it’s just nice to know none of us are alone in this.
    And… funny about you trying to find the little flukes in your “special day”. I did the same thing and there are so many signs leading up to the day- I guess we decide how to “perceive” these things now that it’s the aftermath, but my ring had some major things wrong with it. Gave me a rash too- had to eventually buy an entirely different ring. Hmmmm…..
    Anyways, thanks for your bravery- this could be the “You inspire me” for someone who reads this…

  6. Jen

    Thanks for sharing Amy! You are brave to share something so personal with the world, and I commend you for that. Good on you for taking the high road in things, too. Posts like these can always drop into the bashing game so quickly and effortlessly because of the hurt involved, but you didn’t go there. Sending hugs to you!

  7. I think you’ve written about your experience in a really beautiful way that is respectful of your ex husband. I was never married but I was engaged for a year before I split up with my ex-fiance when he cheated on me, and a lot of people ask me if I regret being with him for so long. And the truthful answer is no. The experience of ending that relationship completely SUCKED. But I learned so much about myself from it – probably more than any single other experience I’ve had in my entire life. I would never take that back, it made me into who I am today.

  8. Maria Talbot

    I love you…life is all about growing and learning and we often have to go through obstacles in order to find our true inner happiness and light…..you know I know this as you have been there always lovingly for me through mine….I adore you and know you are a fabulous strong woman…..I admire you facing your truths as so many do not and stay in a misery that becomes daunting and toll taking and that is so far from the beautiful spirit you are…never be afraid to express your lessons as there is always someone out there waiting to learn and able to relate…It is just these types of writings that inspire others and make them realize they are not alone in their feelings……….xo M

  9. Peggy

    Hi sweetie,
    I am reading this with tears in my eyes. I have many emotions about this too. It was a hard journey full of broken promises and dreams. (I thought I would be a grandma now but that was a broken dream for me) BUT throughout it all you have been amazing. I am so proud of you. You persevered through some terrible hurts. It would be easy to bash him and so called friends who spread lies and rumors instead of talking to you about what was happening but you have taken the high road, which is the right thing to do. Again, showing how amazing and wonderful you are! All my love forever, Mom

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  11. You write about divorce eloquently and poignantly, and your expressions are anything but cliche and trite. What great talent you have.

    I am sooo relieved that you didn’t pull the whole “My ex is an ass” post. I am very much against that, and, going through my own divorce, I also refused to do that. My story is “out there”, but my ex is a great person whom I STILL love (just quite differently) and respect.

    Thank you for a great post that some may not ever understand unless they’ve been there.

  12. chasingparadise

    I came here by way of LiLu, and I am so happy I did. This was a beautiful post about a very sad situation that seems to have had a happy ending. I’ll continue reading, and await the rest of the story!

  13. you are a braver woman than myself for sharing this…thank you.

  14. Ophelia

    The stone of my engagement ring cracked and my fiance was so drunk two nights before our wedding that he wet the bed. The guest bed. The one my maid of honor was supposed to sleep on. I cried through our rehearsal dinner as my mom walked me in circles around the parking lot, saying, “You don’t have to do this. It’s still not too late.” And, yes, I married him.

    And now, with one month left until we are legally divorced, I know exactly what you mean. I don’t regret it. Regret is useless. But if I had the chance to marry him again, as the woman I am now and not the self-effacing wraith I was then, no. I wouldn’t.

    Stay strong, comrade. We never would have become the people we are if we hadn’t made the decision to leave.

  15. Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing!

  16. i ignored all sorts of shiney red flags with my second marriage (lasted 10 months btw) then felt an enormous amount of shame and embarrassment when it ended badly. you’re writing is beautiful and i’m glad i came over for a look (from LiLu’s place). -ella

  17. Thank you for sharing this.

  18. I just found your blog. Your post made me cry. I felt like I was reading about myself. I got married at 23 and by 26 I was separated. By 27 I was divorced. Now at 28 I’m starting over and I’m finding it incredibly hard. Even thought I have someone great in my life, I still have hard times. It’s that quest of finding yourself again that is both fantastic and scary. I look forward to reading more.

  19. Rena

    I just came across your blog from another blog. As I see everyone around me in their early 20s getting married, I sometimes wonder who will last and who will not. This post has really put the seriousness of marriage in perspective for me. I often get jealous of those friends of mine who are engaged or married and in their early 20s, but I know this is just a common Southern trend that I must ignore. Thanks.

  20. blondie

    I found your blog on Lilu’s blog. I have to say I can relate to your blog. I wanted to let you know I know it isn’t easy sharing your story but it helps people like myself who are going through a divorce right now. I am learning a lot about myself along with who my family and friends are. I just wanted to tell you thank you!

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  23. This is just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this piece of you with us.

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  25. verybadcat

    Oh, lady. I’m not really sure why you found my post about the ending of my marriage today, but I’m almost convinced it’s because I’ve been fighting back tears all day and wishing hard that someone, anyone, could understand why I’m just sad today. I have a great support system of wonderful family and friends- none of whom have ever dealt with what I’m facing.

    I don’t regret my decision, I’m not pining for my ex, I’m just sad, and I just want to cry, and I just needed someone to *understand*. To really get it and not be confused or make me nail it down or worry that I’m starting to fall apart or am thinking about trying to work things out. Because in my heart, brain and soul I know that I’m doing the right thing- the only thing- the best thing. We were married for nearly ten years, though, so my universe is literally upside down right now.

    It just really hurts today. Badly. So thank you. Thank you for finding me. Thank you for commenting on my post. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us, and mostly, thank you so very much for reaching out to me. Today of all days.

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