“Love is a dress that you made, long to hide your knees, love to say this to your face, ‘I’ll love you only.’ for your days and excitement, what will you keep for to wear? Someday drawing you different, may I be weaved in your hair?
Love and some verses you hear, say what you can’t say, love to say this in your ear, ‘I’ll love you that way.’ from your changing contentments, what will you choose for to share? Someday drawing you different, may I be weaved in your hair?”
Lyrics from Iron & Wine (Love and Some Verses) – a band I loved once, a song I loved once. What beautiful lyrics. What beautiful meaning. What beautiful sound. And now? A song I never want to hear again, a band I never want to hear again – triggers. Most painful.
July 9th, 2017 would have marked what would have been my 6th wedding anniversary. Instead? It will be first anniversary of officially divorced. I didn’t realize last year I was mailing the dissolution papers in to the courts on what would have been my 5th wedding anniversary – & just a few short days later? A court date was delivered to finalize it officially. Over in 5 mins – the past 7 years of my life.
I met my ex-husband, Matthew, second day of my freshman year of college (Moody Bible Institute). Moved across country for school, he moved up from California. We instantly clicked. Became friends. & 3 months after we met – we began our dating journey. A year & a half later – he proposed to me up on Green Bluff at my favorite orchard, where you can cut bouquets of fresh flowers. A year later – July 9th, 2011 – we got married. Felt connected, felt loved & cherished, we were walking the same path together, doing life together, loving each other unconditionally. But what most people don’t know – something changed once we got married.
He quickly began to distant himself from me. I became that nagging wife no husband likes & I hated myself as well – just to get his attention or to get him to complete important tasks done that he kept putting off. I remember my last semester at Moody, I was working full time, taking 18 credits, involved in ministry at the church we were attending, preparing for graduation, preparing a move, preparing adopting a dog, kept our home clean & laundry & cooked – while he worked part-time while taking 3 credits, preparing for graduation – distancing himself even more. I remember feeling overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted, alone, & greatly unappreciated. & that continual pattern kept happening. I began to lose myself & who I was, because I was so caught up in trying to work so hard & take care of all responsibilities since I was alone in them.
As time went on, things worsened. The relationship, the marriage – became toxic. Emotional abuse was evident. Mental abuse as well. Even physical at times. I was already feeling unappreciated, & was hammered with reminders – constantly. The times he got on me about my weight, the times he would tell me the outfit I was wearing was not flattering to him & ask me to change, the several times he chose his friends over me, the times he constantly criticize me on every little thing – standing behind me as I was cooking him dinner telling me what to do differently – no encouragement, no reminders of how beautiful I was, no appreciation. I got in my head that I deserved nothing but the worse treatment, that I had no value, no worth, & I needed to be skinny – my battle with food began. No one knew what was going on. I was ashamed & afraid to say anything. I was alone with my thoughts – thoughts that tormented me for a couple years.
6 months of marriage counseling didn’t help. & within the second session, our counselor asked me to share with Matthew my past with my mom (see back in Story #4 post) – which was the first time I talked to him about it – period. I remember sitting on the opposite end of the couch from him, in silence, crying, speechless. Afraid. Afraid to speak. Afraid to relive those memories. Afraid to be so deeply vulnerable to someone who hadn’t earned my trust with the way he viewed & little-valued me, unappreciative of me. But I managed to slur out a few words, that formed into sentences, that opened my heart completely. I told him everything, sobbing the entire time – the most vulnerable I ever became with him – only to have it slapped across my face a little over a year later.
Shortly after we decided to move back to where I’m originally from – Dayton OH. November 2014, right before Thanksgiving. We decided maybe a fresh start elsewhere would help. Plus there was a lot of family situations happening that I felt compelled to help with. But once we moved back to Dayton – the distancing worsened. The emotional abuse intensified, the mental abuse slapped harder, & self-mental abuse slapped even harder. I went into denial. Pretended everything was ok. Swept it all under a rug. Then one day – a day I will never in my life forget.
October 16th, 2015 – not even a year later after we moved back to Dayton. A week after my sweet nephew was born. A week after Matthew & I got into a fight, a heated discussion about separating, that being the next step. I asked him to decide what to do next, told him how I was ok with separating & that we would make it work, but that I simply could not keep on playing emotional games with him.
October 16th, 2015 – a Friday night – shortly after 10pm. Matthew returned home from work (Apple Inc.), & asked if we could talk. I will never forget those words that followed, “I applied for a work transfer tonight, to Boulder, Colorado. I’m hoping to move there in 3 weeks.” My response – utter shock, my heart dropped, my face pale white, instantly began sweating – “Ok… may I ask why?” His response – “I want a fresh start with my life, because I’m not happy being married to you anymore.” I instantly began to cry. Instantly. Heartbroken. Felt like my heart was completely ripped out of my chest & slapped across my face. Self-mental abuse struck harder, immediately shifting blame on myself. Everything I put up with for those 4 years of marriage – our entire marriage really – everything I did for him, all for nothing. I never felt so low in my life. I was devastated. Matthew left & stayed with friends. Came back 2 days later & said plane ticket was officially purchased & moved all his stuff out immediately, left me to live in an apartment we had together, where he told me that he was leaving me. Left me with two dogs to take care of & one dog having severe anxiety issues. Left me with all the bills, left me to fight for health insurance, left me to fight for hours at a job I felt unappreciated at & alone, no friends really. Left me to face judgement at home alone – which I received a lot of. I was alone – for months. No time for myself. No time for anything. No one reaching out to me, & was afraid to ask for help or for support, for company, afraid of being a burden. Two months after he left, my grandmother passed away suddenly from a heart-attack in her home – 2 weeks before Christmas. I lost another friend as well, my mom who had been absent from my life over the past 15 years was suddenly back in my life, I came down with a severe case of strep-throat that put me out of work for almost 2 weeks, I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t eating. I quickly found a full-time job. I stayed in the apartment because I had no money to move out – I was stuck for a year & a half there – sitting on the couch his parents gave us, constantly reminded of that conversation back on October 16th, 2015 – “I want a fresh start with my life because I’m not happy being married to you anymore.”
We argued back & forth how long to stay separated for at first. He asked for 6 months. I asked for 3 months. He asked for 6 months to a year with the thought of going ahead & filing – I asked to file. I was done being in denial. I was done putting up with the constant bullshit, I was ready for new beginnings. But what I didn’t know? He would drag it out as long as he could – almost an entire year. Months of sending papers back & forth, him shoving them aside, while living his life & already seeing someone exclusively – while I dealt with judgement, depression, stress, self-mental abuse – asking myself “Am I really that awful to be with? Is anyone ever going to be with me now that I have all this baggage? Anyone willing to be with someone broken? When it wasn’t even their fault? Or was it my fault? Did I deserve it?” He took one dog, I kept the other. I had to drive in March of 2016 to St. Louis to pass off our basset hound. What a lonely trip back that was. Heartbroken all over again.
And everything became official before a judge on August 24th, 2016 – one month before my 27th birthday. Matthew had to fly back to Dayton for court. I hated every minute of it. I felt alone. We walk in (he tried to hold my hand). The judge tried pressuring me to take alimony from him, but I refused. “But he makes “$10,000 more than you do a year!” I simply do not care – I am done, I want no ties to him. It was stated on record he abandoned the marriage – that’s on file. Court lasted 5 minutes – 5 minutes that ended 7 years – 7 years with someone who you thought you were spending the rest of your life with, who you thought was your best friend, your lover, your life partner. Something clicked in him that caused him to change & become so discontent, so angry, so distant. What happened to the man I once knew & fell in love with? The good in him? The love he had for others? The caring & sweet heart? Gentle spirit? Passion? What happened?
Many of you unfortunately were quick to judge. Quick to pressure me to make it work. Quick to tell me how to live my life, what to do next. Quick to throw the Bible on me & offer prayers up. Quick to judge. Quick to blame me. Because you know it was completely my fault that Matthew just blind-sided me. I just want to encourage you – before you say anything, before you send that Facebook message, that Christian Christmas card condemning to hell for divorcing – think.
And ever since then – ever since August 24th 2016 – it’s been about new beginnings, a brighter future, new hope. A new me – self-discovery, self-rediscovery – picking up the broken pieces & mend something together – to create hope & encouragement to others. To become more vulnerable & open, more genuine & real. To realize my worth & value, realize my beauty. Realize what I have to offer, what I deserve. & to not be afraid to connect again with my future life-partner, that I do long for & know that in timing, he will come along.
Woodland Cemetery – Dayton OH – while Matthew was packing all his belongings, I attempted to go to work only to have a huge breakdown & was sent home. Stopped by my favorite local coffee shop & headed to a favorite spot of mine to reflect & try to process everything that was happening. A beautiful fall afternoon it was.
One Month of being alone – realizing that honestly? It was a blessing in disguise. Already began feeling renewed, refreshed, & hopeful.
August 24th, 2016 – dissolution was finalized in court – in 5 minutes, 7 years of my life was suddenly over. I drove immediately to my favorite coffee shop to debrief & a couple friends joined for support – huge thank you to David & Stephanie – new friends I had made recently then – I believe they were brought into my life for a reason, for they helped bring me out of a dark & depressing time of my life.
And today – June 4th, 2017 – a new me, a refreshed me, a renewed me. Living back to where everything began. To start a new life & to make new memories, because it’s about me now – & it’s about damn time.
To NEW Beginnings
Until Next Time