Explaining the end of my marriage is a double-edged sword. It is difficult to put into words because there are so many contradictions.
My tug of war. The reason it is so hard for me to write about is because I have a lot of conflicting feelings about what happened. I did not marry out of insecurity or for money or because it was a life goal of mine. I was very much in love with my ex, Brad. But we did bad things to each other. When the love drug started to wear off, it became clear our characters were not compatible. He had a way of stonewalling me to the point I did not want to come home from work some days. His silent treatment, the last time, lasted for almost a month on the day I moved out. I was not a saint either.
Rewind: One Valentine’s Day, I discovered his dating profile on a website, looking for women to have sex with.
Fast forward: I was bad, too. I ended up having an affair with my childhood love before I officially moved out of my marital home.
Backstory: Years before, this childhood love had asked me to marry him just a few months before Brad did—on a night that Brad and I were in a massive fight (during the time Brad and I were still dating). This childhood love confessed he had always been in love with me. The timing was nuts and couldn’t have been crazier and it got me thinking. You see, I always had feelings for my childhood love. Not just little crush-type feelings. Throughout the years, ours was a long, weaved story. I had an obligation to Brad, though. We were together, even on that particular night, despite our massive fight. Trying to make sense of this confession, my feelings about it, and the fact I was with someone else was almost more than my head could take. Brad would ask me to marry him just a few short months later after this incident, and I said yes to him and we married two months after that. I wronged two people (three, including me). How could I love Brad and feel like I loved someone else? I was never That Kind of Girl.
It’s hard for me to reconcile the fact that I did that. That I had very deep feelings for two different men. Makes me question if I could ever be satisfied. Monogamous. Or maybe he just wasn’t the one, but the thing is, I don’t believe in The One. So that is pretty messed up, too. On my wedding day, at the altar during that part where they say, “Speak now or forever hold your peace,”— I thought about my childhood love. WTF? Wtf is right. I loved Brad. So much. We spent so many years together. And when it was good, it was great, but when it was bad, I would cry myself to sleep at night. He hurt me over and over again. He could be so kind to me and sweet and darling but then he would start stonewalling me.
He thought that because he bought me things that I should be happy when he started to act mean. He told me that if I left him I wouldn’t have “nice things.” But I didn’t want things. I wanted a man who was not going to give me the silent treatment. But there was a lot of love there, too. Leaving him was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Because I didn’t want us to separate, believe it or not. I just couldn’t see another way. How can you love someone like how we did? But we did love each other. And how could I do what I did to him? And him to me? We were not mature enough to be married. I met him when I was about twenty-three. I was worlds different. I will always, always regret what I did. We tried to work it out, we did, but Brad said it was best to divorce because he would never trust me again. He also confessed to me that he’d been with someone else. The most honest conversation we have ever had.
He broke my heart. But I broke his back.
I never imagined I’d ever marry, and when I did get married, I never imagined I would divorce. I thought it was a forever thing. It has really changed the way I view marriage and relationships and I am scared to ever go through that again.
I know this is convoluted and it should be.
So when I describe the end of my marriage, it is a struggle, and it is why things are so all over the place, from one extreme to another. I used to have a little ”A” sticker in my apartment that I moved into after I left Brad. To remind me of what I did so that I would never do such a thing again. I screwed up. So did Brad. We both did wrong and I know we both regretted it.
You know that Eminem song “Love the Way You Lie?” There’s a lyric in it that says, “Maybe that’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano,” and sometimes I think that is what Brad and I were. A perfect storm. A Molotov cocktail of passion and love and flames. We were so beautiful on the outside and in the beginning. We were completely inseparable when we first met, a fantastic courtship. That’s what makes the end result so sad. A real tragic ending.
I have made amends, I have cried, apologized, compartmentalized. But none of that will undo the events that happened, the choices I made or the feelings I had.
It would be easier to understand or make sense of things if it wasn’t such a jumbled mess, if there weren’t these overlappings of people and timing and feelings and other parties. It’s much easier to describe the end of a marriage without all these complications. But that is not my truth. My truth is that I loved two very different men. And reflecting back on it doesn’t make it any easier to comprehend for me, for the words that I write, for the way I try to explain it.
The end of a marriage is always bitter. Looking at the role I played in it makes it even more so. And making sense of it all is difficult.