2016 was the end of twelve long years of being told who I am and how I feel. I should have never altered my behavior, my likes and dislikes, my diet, my hobbies, or anything at all, for someone else. Especially my significant other. Anyone deserving of being in my life should be happy with me just as I am, like my close friends and family are.
There were so many red flags, even when we were still dating, but I was seventeen and lacked the necessary relationship experience to realize how serious they were. I just thought everyone has issues and no relationship is perfect. I should just accept these problems and make the necessary changes to avoid arguing about them.
The problem was, I was the only one making changes. In the beginning, I could convince myself that this was my choice. After all, I didn’t want to argue all the time and this was the only solution, right? Not so much. I was unhappy all the time and began to resent my husband. The changes I was making weren’t things that would better me as a person. It wasn’t as though I was an alcoholic who needed to quit drinking, or a shopaholic who needed to quit spending. My changes were things that in the beginning seemed like not a big deal, but after a while were maddening. Nothing I did was what I wanted to be doing and nothing I wanted to be doing could be done without an argument. I had literally become a stranger in my own life and when I found ways to let myself out and be who I was, he found a way to put a stop to it.
The easiest way for me to let myself out was to hang out with family or friends. They encouraged me to be myself and, when I was the person he wanted me to be, all I got was friends and family asking me what was wrong. That quickly turned into me not going out with friends or family as much to avoid grief from him. When I started having friends over to our house instead, he was downright mean to them until no one would come over anymore. Everyone quit coming over and I stopped going out. Except for the gym. That was a matter of health and I was going. End of discussion. There was no way he could guilt me or manipulate into not taking care of myself. And, I could have friends at the gym with no drama.
In May of 2016 my pappaw died alone in a hospital bed in Texas. He had lived his life in such a way that no one could get close to him and eventually people quit trying until there was no one left, not even his own family. He had no one to blame but himself and I’m sure over the years he realized he was unhappy this way and those were probably the times he tried to reach out. I decided when pappaw died that I couldn’t keep living my life for someone else anymore. I was tired of being unhappy, I wanted my friends and family around, and I didn’t want to die alone and full of regret. That’s when I decided it was time to quit daydreaming about ending my marriage and actually do it.
I think being a child of divorce myself I prolonged my suffering because I’d rather see myself suffer the marriage than my kids suffer the divorce. But as the kids got older it became clear that they were suffering regardless because both parents were always unhappy. So, I filed for divorce in July of 2016 and I’m not divorced yet, but I am closer than I have ever been. The kids are adjusting well, all things considered, and I am being true to myself for the first time in my adult life. It’s all worth the wait to take back my name and my life.