I did a lot of blaming the first few weeks after signing the divorce papers and moving home. I blamed him for joining the Navy. I blamed him for being unable and unwilling to communicate. I blamed the underways, duty days and back to back deployments. I blamed myself for being stupid enough to marry someone “like that,” whatever that means. I was angry. I felt blindsided. I felt betrayed and free and terrified at the same time.
I stumbled across a photo of us this afternoon. Just the two of us, smiling up at the camera. We look happy, it was one of my favorites from that day. I studied the picture for a minute, and the questions came rushing back… was it even real? Was the smile on his face genuine? Did he love me then, or was it already over in his heart? It was over, I’m certain it was over… so why was my life being treated like nothing more than a game of house? It hurt looking at the date the photo was taken, and realizing that a month later, to the day, I would be meeting with a lawyer for the first time. I still can’t help but furrow my brow at those questions. I will never understand what he was feeling or thinking or if any of it was real. I wouldn’t believe him now, if he told me. I was texting an old friend tonight, when I had an epiphany. This friend helped me find the truth, and it is raw and it is going to hurt my heart to write it, just about as much as it hurt to see that photo this afternoon.
I was in denial when I married him. I felt certain we were in love. Or maybe I just thought we were in love, and that that was enough. I thought that even when we didn’t feel in love anymore, our friendship would hold us strong. I thought our history would help to prove we could overcome poor communication, his wandering eyes and our wandering hearts… I didn’t accept the importance of the addictions with which he would struggle. I didn’t know he would stop loving me, or that he would walk out emotionally long before he did physically. I didn’t expect any of this. And that’s not to say that my faults don’t also play a part in the failure of our marriage. I’m learning that one of the most important steps to moving on, is realizing the list of strikes against me.
Step number one, listen to your gut when it tells you to run. And run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.