I mentioned in a post a long time ago that I was married once before. I think it is important to discuss this now, especially with my last post.
I was young when I first met J and I hadn’t really been in a grown up relationship ever before him, so when we started hanging out and dating, I wasn’t really thinking long term with him. I was only 20 and he was 17, still in high school. It wasn’t really love at first sight or anything like that but I liked him and I thought he was pretty fun. We had a lot in common and I really liked how much he liked me. I felt special and it was a change from the casual dating I had done in the past.
We got pretty serious about 6 months in and he was looking at colleges. I was already enrolled in college in our town and I was happy there, but he was looking elsewhere and we decided that we would try long distance dating, which in hindsight was one of the stupidest decisions I had ever made. Anyway, he decided to go to college in Chicago, which was incredibly far away (4 hour plane ride) and I supported it, but I was devastated that he was leaving. At the time, I felt like I didn’t have a say in where he chose to go to school because we were only dating with no real commitment to each other.
We dated long distance for the year he was gone and after his freshman year was over, he decided to transfer back to our area and attend a junior college to play baseball. I was pretty thrilled, and we resumed our dating, but after a year, he decided to go to the mid-west to play baseball for a small school there. I was again, upset and annoyed, but again decided to stay together with him. Looking back, I do not recognize the person I was when I dated him. I was weak and stupid and I hate myself for that.
He was in the mid-west for two years, and at that point we had been together for 5 years, three of which were long distance. He would come home for the summer, but he was always on a traveling baseball team, so he was rarely actually home. In between his junior and senior year, he proposed to me in a very public way. I accepted, but even then I knew it was a bad idea. Honestly, and I have never said this to another person before, I knew he was going to propose and I even was involved in orchestrating the actual proposal. It’s embarrassing to me now that I had a hand in it, especially with being so unsure about marrying him in the first place.
I spent his last year of college working full time and planning our wedding. It was scheduled for fall and in the summer months leading up to it, he moved back home and we moved into an apartment together. It was stressful and it didn’t allow me much time to think about what I was actually doing. When October finally rolled around, we got married. The wedding was fun, but I felt sick the day of at the thought of actually getting married and the night after the wedding was awful and depressing.
He started interning at a sports performance facility instead of getting a job and I was frustrated. I remember sitting him down and showing him what all the expenses looked like in comparison to what I was making. He never really seemed to understand why I was upset. About 3 months into our marriage, he lied to me about having obtained a job and I didn’t find out until a month afterwards. I was furious, but I still stayed with him.
The final straw came about three months later. He informed me that he had applied, interviewed, and accepted a grad position at a school in Memphis. I had no idea that he had even applied and I was completely blind-sided. He told me he was going, no matter what, and that he would be leaving in three weeks time. I remember calling my dad because I honestly didn’t know what to do.
I spent the next three weeks packing up my house, finding someplace new to live and sleeping in the separate bedroom. About a week before he left, I woke up in the middle of the night because his dog was barking. I went into the living room and J was passed out drunk on the couch, our front door was wide open and his blind and deaf dog was outside on the edge of the forest our apartment backed up to, barking frantically. I lost my shit, got the dog back inside and locked myself, his dog, and my dog in the room. I moved out the next morning.
The day he left, I cried. Not out of sadness, but out of relief. I couldn’t handle that I had spent so much of my life with this person who clearly didn’t care about me. It was depressing. A month after he left, I asked for a divorce and got all the paperwork ready for us to sign. We had no assets to split and nothing to argue about, so we met one gloomy afternoon when he was back in town, signed the papers and went our separate ways. I started casually dating M a few weeks later and the rest is our history.
I tell this story because I want to be clear that on any given day, the relationship I have with M is infinitely better than what I had before. M cares about me in a way that I didn’t know was possible and even though we hot our rough patches sometimes, I know we will find our way back out again.