This is the second wedding anniversary I have gone through during the divorce process. It’s not an easy day. I try to keep myself busy but it’s rough. I have to drop my kids off to their dad so I will have to see him today, even though at this point (with the divorce still not being finalized), he has been with another girlfriend for months. I hope they enjoy our anniversary.
Last year was rough because I was in a confused headspace, not sure if we were getting back together somehow or not.
I knew that’d be the wrong thing to do but that part of me who wishes things could be different mourned so much that I thought it’d be better to pretend things were still ok. I cried when he said he was thinking of me that day. This year I am angry; not sure if my sadness turned into bitterness and anger. Depression is simmering right under the surface.
One part of my brain thinks back on how beautiful my wedding day was, with my favorite colors spattered everywhere and close friends involved. I think about how special it was having my dad walk me down the aisle. My favorite pastor officiated the ceremony before he passed away. Family members who have since died participated in something that felt so special to me. I idolized my husband and the person I imagined him to be.
Through the rosy lens of nostalgia, I think about what a mess our wedding day actually was. It reminds me of the meme of the dog inside the burning building saying, “This is fine!” At the end of the day, I was crying and exhausted, having done everything to prepare for the wedding and seeing how most of the things I’d carefully planned didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I believe God was saying, “Let me give her another chance to run,” as little disasters happened on the day and it almost didn’t happen. My husband, on the other hand, had his bachelor party the night before and had been throwing up all around the church all day. Talk about red flags, burning flags.
I remember how actually miserable I had always been during the anniversaries while the marriage was going on. Usually, we’d go out to dinner someplace. Never to a really fancy place but something mid-grade or an expensive place if they were having some kind of discounted dinner. I always paid cash for the babysitter. He’d talk nonstop about our finances and retirement accounts, painting a picture of how I would be rich if I stayed with him. Everything will be great when we get the new house, when we have the new baby, when, when, when. . . but all of those things happened and it was still terrible. Finally, the bubble burst and he didn’t need me anymore.
Divorce can bring out evil in a person.
I truly believe that. Initially, I thought it’d be a cakewalk. “He cheated on me so he should be ashamed. He’ll let me have what I want because that’s the right thing to do. He never cared about raising the kids. He can go philandering and that’ll be more fun than raising kids.” Nope, wrong. Though he always focused on finances so much during the marriage and counted every penny I spent, he has been totally fine throwing money away during this divorce for the dumbest reasons.
I try to celebrate how our kids are the best thing that came out of our marriage. I couldn’t live without them, though I didn’t want them to have to experience the kinds of things we are all experiencing here. Today reminds me of how I feel like somehow I failed. I made a promise that I kept but it’s not worth anything now to anyone. All of my effort seems wasted as I tried to keep my marriage together for years.
I keep trying to tell myself that sometimes divorce is the best option. I know things will continue getting better, particularly after the divorce is finalized and the dust settles. Now it’s too difficult to heal when I’m in the thick of it. Just like I’m a different person this year than I was last year on this day, next year I know I will be a different version of myself. I know I am smarter and more self-aware than I was on my wedding day years ago. I can tell myself what to look out for in the future. I know my worth better and would walk out on someone without hesitation if he tried to do any of the things my future ex-husband did that day.
As longingly as I used to dream about “my future husband,” I also fantasize about having a future ex-husband and the life I will lead once I am free. I can change my name back. I’ll have ownership of my identity again. Any romantic partners in the future will have to compete for my attention because I know how good it is to be alone and not have to cater to anyone.
The indescribable pain of my situation now plagues me.
I wanted to have a “happily ever after” and I don’t see why it can happen for other people and not for me. I hate how I’ve been betrayed. My heart still believes in the marriage dream I once had.
Maybe today I will drop the kids off to him and sit by myself and cry because I had to see him face-to-face. Maybe his girlfriend will be there, somehow mocking me with her presence. Maybe I won’t cry but I’ll break something.
I plan on trying to do something for myself. Sometimes just sitting with these feelings is unbearable but that’s the first step toward moving on.