Two years ago today, I was lying in a hospital bed flat on my back after a spinal fusion, pregnant and 16 wks along. A couple of friends came to visit me, brought me little gifts and treats. I was crying my eyes out because my husband wouldn't come see me. He had emailed me, saying "When you get out of the hospital, we need to talk." I cried and cried and cried, and could barely eat. The doctors and nurses were worried about my iron levels, and kept bringing me Boost with ice cream in it. That helped. The pain meds were worsening my stomach ache, so I stopped taking them. I remember one of the guys that delivered my meals, Phil, brought me a flower and told me not to worry, that everything I was crying about was going to be okay. That cheered me up about 1%, but it was so nice to hear those words.
I just remember laying there, the smell of hand sanitizer and bleached sheets, and thinking how much I hated that my husband was being so cruel, all the while believing he thought I had behaved so badly that he had to leave me. I was so utterly crestfallen than the man I had married, whom I would never withhold anything from, be it affection, help, attention, time, money, food, sympathy, and yet he deserted me when I was carrying his child and going through a living hell.
The day after Christmas in 2009, I was released from the hospital. He came to drive me home. My mom was flying in at 5pm, and the airport was 45 mins away, so it was around 4:15pm when he dropped me off at the house so he could go pick up my mom.
In the 10 minute drive home from the hospital, he says, "I've decided to file for divorce. I'll be doing it next week. " He helped me get up the steps and into the house with my walker, and sits with me for about 5 mins, telling me his reasons for his decision. I'm utterly shocked to the core. Then he says if I will sign us up for marriage counseling, he's willing to go. Then he left to go get my mom.
This Christmas morning, I relive those moments in my mind, and I wish I could go back in time and tell myself it was all going to be okay, and in two years I would be thanking God for that day. I probably wouldn't have believed it anymore than coming from a stranger.
But more than everything turning out okay, it turned out GREAT! I am happier today than I have ever been. Looking back at every moment of my relationship with my ex, I see I was constantly on edge, hoping he would not despise the next thing I said out loud or criticize me for putting effort into something he thought was pointless, or chastise me for having needs. I was always hoping he would be happy for a few minutes so that I could feel permission to enjoy the day. It rarely happened. He preferred to enjoy things alone.
Anyway, I was pondering the phrase "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away" and just feeling ever so grateful that He took my ex away from us. Even though it seemed like my husband was abandoning me, it really was the greatest gift I could have gotten for Christmas that year. Life without him is AMAZING!!
People everywhere remark on how HAPPY my DD is. She's just a ray of sunshine dancing around, being friendly and sweet, shy and spunky, acting out her natural impulses, and having fun. They tell me it means I'm a good mom. I think I do okay, but to me it's the LACK of a critical harsh snobby arrogant passive aggressive presence in our lives. If we were still together, I would be constantly grooming her to his approval (or at least he would think I was...I think even now he thinks I'm doing that when I try to share little stories about her) so that he would approve of my mothering skills, i.e. me doing the job he "pays" me to do.
It's been a hard bumpy scary road getting to here. There was a lot of despair and sadness, lots of fear and a lot of throwing up just from nerves, but I made it, and DD has been thriving since birth. She has no idea what we escaped, and I hope she never will. I'm raising her to be joyful everyday, to give and receive affection often, and to sing at the top of her lungs whenever she likes.
Life is good 2 years later. I hope this encourages those of you who are just starting out on your path to single mommyhood. You can do it. It'll all be okay, you'll be stronger for it, and hey, it might also turn out to be more WONDERFUL than you could have imagined.
Living happily and embracing adventures.
After a week and a half this post has finally cracked me and made me cry. I've had the most awful Christmas day and hearing your story makes me feel a little less alone.
I need a good cry, I've been holding it in... Maybe I'll feel better after :(
Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
For me it's been three years but the story is the same!
(except I somehow had three kids with him)...
Had we stayed they'd have been yelled at, we'd all be trying to please him, walking on eggshells, the kids probably would have suffered physical abuse as well as mental, etc.
He moved 3000 miles away - he still visits maybe 3x per year for three weeks at a time and we do have to deal with the eggshells then - but at least it's only every once in a while.
My middle son LIVES to fish and is an extremely sensitive child. His dad said to him on a recent visit, "I don't want to hear another f..king word about fishing!". That's what we would have had to live with and although I'm not a religious person - yes, I thank the Lord for taking that away! We live in peace not in fear. We can fish if we want to! Or not fish! Or whatever! And it's all good! I did not see it at the time. I was in utter shock. I couldn't eat and my throat was dry from shock for months. But with help from a therapist and a huge desire to pull through for my kids I stayed strong and each day it got better and continues to get better.
There is no success in staying in an unhappy marriage - my ex cheated b/c he was unhappy. I was too blind to see how unhappy I was. So although it sucked at the time I now realize I can only be thankful for the whole experience. The divorce made me stronger. The two years of therapy (more like life coaching) made me a better human being and more prepared to meet and stay with the right friends and right type of partner. There is still a long way to go. But I feel exactly like bannanabee. I am so in love with my family - me and my kiddos - and feel so free to just be us with no one to tell me I'm doing it all wrong. No one to tell them they're doing it all wrong. Wouldn't have imagined this type of happiness this time three years ago.
I'm glad I read this story. I have been divorced from my ex for 6 years now. He left me for a close friend of mine at the time, which he was best friends with her husband at the time too... I've gone through my head over and over trying to figure out what I did wrong. He even went to the point of going to court and telling the judge that he didn't want anything to do with our daughter anymore. Now, for me telling my 5 year old that at the time, was heartbreaking. He was out of her life for two years. Then one day he drove by my house three times when we were outside. I didn't notice him. After the third time, he decided to pull in. I rushed her inside and asked my mother to sit with her. I went out and asked him why he was here. He told me he missed our daughter and his Therapist told him to stop by.... His Therapist.....do you know how many times I asked him to go to therapy together or by himself?? Nope..... But anyway, we ended up back in court and the judge asked him what he wanted to do and my ex said that he would like his visitations back... Well, the judge just handed them right back to him. After two years of not seeing her, just handed them back...
Anyway, they are still together to this day, which is surprising to a lot of people. He has been taking my daughter for the past year and a half on most of his weekends. But now that my daughter is older, she's telling me that she doesn't want to go over to his house. So, I let him know. Then he throws it in her face. (Yeah that makes her want to go over more!!!) But, anyway, I'm finally just figuring out that it was nothing to do with me. He was like that the whole time I was with him. But, like they say... Love is blind. I can finally be happy with just it being my daughter and myself and move on. Sorry for the rant... Just reading this story made me realize that I wasn't alone in this world. Thank you for sharing...
Bananabee you are so very wise
It has been 5 years for me since I realized I was done. I too am non religious but thank the powers that be everyday for removing my ex from my day to day life. Finding my strength has been a slow and sometimes painful process but I am head over heals in love with the woman I have become. Life gets better with every passing day. Sure some days are still tough but the passing of time teaches me why the tough days were necessary.
Bumping up this thread for the newbies here, and also to see how everyone else who posted on here last year is doing. It's been 3 years since my XH walked out, 1 1/2 since the divorce was final, and DD is 2 1/2 yrs old. Life just gets better and better. Happy holidays, everyone, and big hugs to the newly single moms.
Living happily and embracing adventures.
You are so amazing and have come so far, BB. What a gift your ex gave you. It's always amazing to me to be able to look back and think, "Wow, I made it through that! I can do anything!" I see the same happen in so many of us single moms. The growth that has happened to all of us truly is inspiring. <3
Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula
Student, Aspiring CNM
DD ~ 1/7/09 DS ~ 9/22/10
I am glad this got bumped up. I relate to it so much. I felt like my life was being destroyed when things fell apart, and I had so many fears- panic really, for the first year. I had to work unbelievably hard, and there were so many harrowing events that first year, I felt like "I can't live through this"---but by the same token I discovered a reserve of strength and determination I had no idea I possessed. And now, several years later I can see how year by year things got better, I gained a little more ground in terms of family stability. And now I would say I could not be happier, I am so grateful for the life we have now, one we never could have had if the catastrophic loss had not occurred. One I never would have thought possible! And yet when the catastrophic loss happened, all I could think about was wanting to keep that (unhealthy) marriage. I felt like it was the only source of a good life.
We have an incredible support system of loving friends, an adventurous life, meaningful work for me (although still too much of it!!), and soo much joy. And looking back I realized that, even when we were together, I alone "stood for" the security, safety, and wellbeing of the kids (he had loyalties to his sex addiction)---so in that sense I had *always* been "alone" in that responsibility, and if anything now it's more shared due to the many friends who care for us in good times and bad. My son has been in and out of the hospital lately and there were many people who jumped in seamlessly to make sure my other kids were cared for, indulged even. Each day I am sooooo grateful for the abundance in our lives.
Three months ago I asked my husband for a divorce. It was the wrong moment (he was in the middle of a very delicate treatment that kept him in and out of the hospital) but I could not continue in this marriage anymore. I reached a point where I just knew there will never be "a right moment". So after 17 years of marriage and two beautiful kids I took a deep breath and asked him to leave. I read these posts and recognize myself in many of them, I am 45, i feel lonely, I feel guilty, and very disoriented but at the same time I enjoy very much this new feeling of freedom. I dont walk on eggshells anymore, I am not in constant fear that something I will say will trigger an argument and an explotion of anger. I can be myself with my kids in a way I havent before. We are in frequent contact since we are still sharing our finances, and we still need to start the legal process. Sometimes old habits kick in and we argue but most of the times we are friendly to each other. At the beging he didnt want to accept the idea of a divorce, we are going to therapy to help us live this process in the best way possible. Now he is starting to understand my reasons. I am certain there is no way back, but I am still trying to process all this too. I am fearful and to be honest now that I dont carry the "wife" label, I am not sure exactly who I am anymore. I need to reinvent myself and I just hope I have the strength to do it. Many nights, when the kids are already sleeping, I wonder around the house unable to sleep, not knowing what to do.
I have not idea what I would be saying two years from now... I hope I can join the group that says It is GREAT, the best thing I could have done!