While sitting here thinking, reminiscing about the past, the thought comes into my head that I need to say goodbye to my husband. We have been living apart for a year now, though separated for several years before that, me not moving out because of expense and him not moving, I guess, because he wanted me to. But anyway, we stayed in the home and he did what he wanted while I tried to show him that we were worth a second chance while also trying to find a job and accumulate as much money as I could. Our history goes back 40 years; who would have thought we would end up apart? So here’s the story.
I first met him at about age 21 while at my girlfriend’s house. Her husband brought him home for dinner and I happened to be there. It was “something” at first sight, not sure what, but he had just broken up with someone and had a baby so I wouldn’t get involved even though he chased the hell out of me until we finally went our separate ways. Several years later, about age 28, that same husband of the same girlfriend ran into him and brought him home to surprise me. It was a shock but it also was immediately like cupid’s arrow had hit me in the heart. All of the old feelings rushed back; he was alone and I was alone and within a few days, he proposed and moved into my apartment.
The first year was wonderful. We set the date for our wedding and spent every hour together that we could. He had a business and a lot of my off-work time was spent there, bringing hot meals and hanging out, keeping him company after hours. It was wonderful. And then I got pregnant. Unexpected, unplanned, but we were happy about it and moved up our wedding date. However, little cracks began to form between us. I worked full time in retail, on my feet all day, tired all the time, a little crabby, things not quite right between us, but still good. We thought it was the stress, the baby, the wedding, too much work, etc.
So, we married one weekend and then went right back to work, no honeymoon, saving money for baby, who was born right before Christmas. A beautiful, healthy baby boy. My husband was so proud. He had a son. But he was also a truck driver. So the first year of marriage, the first year of parenthood, he was away a lot, and I was too nervous as a new mother to go in the truck with him and we started to grow apart. And little by little, we grew further apart. I developed horrible PMS, he was diagnosed with PTSD (Viet Nam Veteran and a Marine) and chasms began opening up. A lot of detail isn’t necessary here but suffice it to say, we argued a lot. Being a Marine was a part of who my husband was, and is, and I didn’t have a clue what that meant so that made the struggles even harder. There is a lot of personal information that I will not write about but history plays a huge role here and understanding came too late.
So, I met him when I was about 21 and now I’m 64. I often think that getting together the first time we met would have given us more time to become better friends, to grow together, to learn each other, and to have a better chance of making it, but it wasn’t to be. And a few years ago, he told me that he didn’t want to be married anymore, he still loves me, but he isn’t good at relationships, etc., etc. And, of course there was another woman encouraging him to do what will make him happy, why stay when he isn’t happy, etc., etc. You know. So a little over a year ago, he moved out while I was in the hospital and here we are. Since my son and his family live with me, I see my husband regularly and it has taken me a long time to be able to deal with that. But guess what?
I now realize that I am better off without him, should have left one of the many times I thought about it, and am finally much happier than I was for a long time. It was very wearing to always be trying to prove I was a good wife, to always be putting him first, to always champion his causes, to try to understand what was going on, and to deal with a marriage that was not how I wanted it but feeling powerless to change it. I feel free; I feel happy. And when I see him now, I still think he looks good but I’ve worked very hard to not care and to not long for him. I even got a tattoo to symbolize my broken heart, thinking that the pain of the needle would somehow lessen my heart pain, but of course, it didn’t. Sure, I still have sad moments, like today which is why I’m writing this, but also I can be happy without him. Now he is the other woman’s problem and just maybe she is a better fit for him. He wore me out and I’m glad to be done.
My spirit is lighter and I have come to realize just how much that marriage dragged me down and influenced choices I made. It feels good to do what I want, when I want, and not be responsible for taking care of someone else. Would I like another relationship? Maybe. But it would have to be really special before I would invite that person all the way into my life again. For now, sleeping alone in my own bed is fine, with just Rocky for company and my little family in the other rooms.
Yup, I’m happy. Hard earned but true. Goodbye Bill.