When I think of marriage and love, I think of the movies and their happily ever afters. I know it’s not reality; it’s a dream. I know people are paid well to give us hope and dreams of what could be. In reality, marriage is just a piece of paper. Marriage doesn’t always mean the people involved are happy or going to find their happily ever after.
I was with my husband for eight years, married for five. Was I happy? No, I wasn’t. I was miserable in my role of being a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to work; I wanted the adventure. Instead, I was locked inside of the same four walls with dreams dying faster than minutes ticking by.
Recently I started taking stock of my life. Where have I been? Am I where I expected to be? My thoughts swirled around the toilet bowl as I flushed away my hopes. I had settled into a life I never wanted to live, forgetting to give myself what I wanted and needed.
In my life, I have always wanted a partner. Someone who could push me towards my dreams and give me the confidence I need to at least try. Instead, my dreams and hopes were put aside for the good of the family, staying home to take care of children who were watching their mother be destroyed little by little. Yes, I talked to my husband about all of this. I did so often, and yet we remained the same. I was watching my life pass me by, missing opportunities simply because my husband’s priorities were different than mine.
I thought a lot about it and came to the conclusion that I needed out. I needed to free my soul and heart. Thinking about doing so made my palms sweaty, my heart race. I’m terrified of the future. I was comfortable where I was, just not happy. It may sound like a double negative, but I can assure you it’s not. I’m used to being at home all day, cooking and cleaning and doing what needs to be done for our children. I was used to being alone at home and only seeing the person who claimed to love me a few hours a day at most.
After being in a long- term abusive relationship, finding a place where things were predictable was all I needed. As my soul has recovered from the onslaught of torture, I am finding myself again. It has taken a long time for this to happen, but now it’s started, and I can’t stop. I can’t stop my dreaming again; I can’t stop feeling like I was meant for so much more.
Before I met my soon-to-be ex-husband, I was in a physically and mentally abusive relationship. I was beaten, tortured, and made to feel as if the world hated the person I was. On a daily basis, I was told how unworthy of living I was. My ex-boyfriend told me he was the only one who would accept me as I was. I believed it.
When I met my husband, he and I had long conversations about what I had been through. He promised me he wasn’t anything like my ex-boyfriend. Things started out great with my husband. He treated me like a princess as many men do at first. Slowly over the years, little things started changing. I wouldn’t get the compliments when I got all dolled up. I stopped being kissed just for the sake of him wanting to kiss me. The passion slowly died.
Slowly my husband stopped supporting my dreams of becoming a veterinarian technician. He stopped hanging out with our children so I could work or job search. I’ve always written, and he used to compliment me on how my brain works. Slowly he found it annoying when I would ask him to check out something new. He would roll his eyes and sigh impatiently when I asked him what he thought.
It took me a long time to realize I needed out. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. My husband had stopped being the man I fell in love with and started being emotionally abusive. He would use things from my past to hurt me. He would say things to make me want to hide in the house. He made me afraid of being around people because to him I wasn’t beautiful anymore. I lost friendships and connections. Those friends and connections would have helped me to escape before we cut ties. I was stuck in my marriage because I had no one to turn to. I had no one to take me in if I decided to leave.
Awfully enough, the end of my prison sentence and personal hell was a fight turned physical. My husband left me. As much as I knew we were toxic for each other and we needed to go our separate ways, he was the one who had to end it. He had the friends and the means to walk away from me.
I haven’t been this happy in a very long time. My dreams are in the forefront of my mind, and now I see how to make them come true. I’ve found a way to make new connections and new friendships. I feel like I have finally found my place in the world. I’m still working on me; I’m still on my journey. But I am not hiding in the corner anymore. I even smile and laugh again. It may be a long road, it may have been one hell of a process, but here I am. I’m standing on my own two feet, doing the things I love and being happy.
Marriage doesn’t always mean forever. Loving someone and then losing them doesn’t mean you will never love again. People change, situations change. Love yourself enough to see the difference and get out if you need to. I know I needed to, and even though things didn’t go according to plan, things are brighter on this end of the tunnel.