Ten Years of Marriage: Love, Loss and Starting Over

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Today marks 10 years of marriage for me and my husband.  Ten years ago we exchanged vows at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas, only a few months after we had met.  We met at the mall of all places.  I managed the men’s clothing store, Express (formally Structure) and he managed a T-Mobile store.

Your first reaction might be to say, “Congratulations!”, but I need no congratulations today. We have been going through a divorce for the past 10 months.

I’ll never forget the day we met.  T-Mobile had a theft one evening after my hubby and his team had left for the night. He came to see if I or anyone from my team had seen anything suspicious.  I was no help because I had been off that evening, but we ended up talking for about an hour that day.  I remember telling one of my co-workers, “That guy talks a lot!” like he was so annoying.

I continued to spend time with him and after a few dates we quickly fell in love.

We found a cute apartment one block from the beach in Carlsbad, CA.  We were so in love that we moved in together within a month.  About 2 months later, I found out I was pregnant.

I actually remember the “oops” night and remember thinking, “Oh well.  I love this guy and if I get pregnant, I get pregnant.”  I was at that stage in my life where all my friends were married or getting married and I was ready to quit the single life and move forward as well.  I wanted the husband, 2.5 kids, house on a court…the married life that I had dreamed about as a little girl.  Little did I know what goes into that world and that life.

My parents’ marriage is one of those rare fairytale marriages that I dreamt I would have.  They married when my mom was 18 and my dad was 25.  They met one night at a college party and walked down the aisle two months later.  They are still married today and I only have one memory of them having an argument, but no words were exchanged.  I wanted their fairytale marriage from my very first date as a teenager.

I was about 4 years old when their fight happened.  I sat in the garage with my dad while he worked on this really old car of his.  It was something out of the 40′s, big and black with a bench seat in the front.  I remember sitting behind the wheel, pretending that I drove while he worked.  My mom came into the garage upset and told my dad she was leaving.  I don’t remember the exact details , but I remember feeling like I was never going to see my mother again.  These memories are coming back to me as I write this post. I forgot I even had them, but they are making things a bit clear when I look at my reactions in my own marriage.

When the hubby and I started having arguments, I didn’t really know how to handle them.  I had never seen my parents argue, so I thought I should avoid the confrontations.  I wouldn’t talk about our problems with him.  I would do my best to bury my feelings until they would surface from major build up and explode.

When they exploded, my first reaction was to get a divorce, every time.  I didn’t know any other way of handling these feelings.  Shutting down put a temporary band-aid on hurt feelings.

The fights got worse and worse through the years because of the build up and then release of feelings.  Feelings I had no idea how to manage.

It wasn’t only me that had a problem communicating.  The hubby also had a polar opposite way of dealing with arguments.  He argued until he was blue in the face and I could get no word in edgewise.  Our dysfunctional arguments evolved into a dysfunctional relationship. When we finally hit rock bottom, he wanted to go to a counselor and in my eyes, it was too late.

Our marriage faced another major difficulty – his mother. She lived with us throughout our entire marriage and made it very difficult for us to have a functional marriage.

She was very critical of me, to me.  Domestically domineering, she worked very hard to run our household, taking responsibilities that I wanted and needed to do as a wife.  I never knew what it was like to be a wife or a mother in my own home because a lot of what goes into that, she did.

Some have called me a saint for dealing with her for so long.  I call myself a coward and a submissive for letting her ruin the chapters in my life I will never experience.  I will never get those years back and never know what it was like to be a young bride, with a young family, in my own home in suburban California.

Sometimes I wonder if things would have worked out if his mother hadn’t lived with us.  Our relationship weighed under a lot of pressure because of the way she treated me, in my own home.  Most of our arguments involved my MIL and there were times when she would physically be involved in those arguments.  She finally started shutting her door and butting out, but by then, the damage had been done.

Today, I live in an apartment in Arkansas while my 3 daughters, husband and mother-in-law live together in the home we purchased in Florida.  I die inside every day I think about what was taken away from me.  The chapters I lost, the years taken from me.  I blame many things and people, I blame myself.

There are some good things that came from this experience. I add new chapters to my story every day. I thank God for my 3 beautiful, sweet angels; for the strength I found to remove myself from the dysfunctional home I helped to create; and for the people who have entered my life.

They help build me up and show me that I can live a happy life filled with love and communication.

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