These are all things I have mentioned before, but there is a part of me that I have been hesitant to share. For one, I read every day about the beautiful love stories of my fellow bloggers. I see their perfect marriages grow stronger with each pixel. I envy their sheer perfection. I am hesitant to share because of the people that know me personally that read my blog and also the people that don't know me at all. I waiver because its not always easy for me to put all the emotions into words. But somehow, today, for whatever reason, I have to tell it. This little tidbit will forever define me in a way nothing else ever has, but will in no way determine my future. This single adjective has forever changed me, but in more ways than one made me more myself. Strap on your seat belts kids, this might get a little bumpy.
I got divorced when I was 24.
I know all the things you are considering right now, because they are the same thoughts everyone has when I say those words.
"Did she rush into marriage?"
"You were too young to get married!"
"Was s/he a cheater?"
"I bet s/he didn't value marriage the way I do"
"Does she hate men now?"
"Who got the ring?"
"That will never happen to us."
"Is this going to be some rant about not getting married to young or that men are evil spawns of Satan?"
The truth is, I met a boy my freshman year in college. I fell in love with him and gave him everything I could give. 2.5 years later about a month into our senior year, he broke my heart by saying, "I'm just not in love with you anymore." He couldn't give me much more of an explanation. Ever the hopeless romantic, I was not convinced. I gave it time. I made it seem like I was doing fine. I only cried on my tear-stained futon and in the shadows of friends dorm rooms. Within a month, he was begging me back. He said letting me go was the biggest mistake he had ever made and he wanted to spend the rest of his life making it up to me. I was no fool. I had seen all the movies and read all the fairytales. Ever love story needs a little challenge, and this was ours. This was my love story. I took him back and we were stronger than ever.
Fast forward. A year after graduating from college, (and if you are doing your math you know that is a little over 4 years into our relationship) I found myself in a room filled with red roses in front of a man down on one knee. Of course I said yes. Planning turned into execution and in 6 months time, I was his Mrs. My life was exactly the way I had planned. Soon we were house hunting for a place big enough to start a family.
Just a few days after our one year anniversary (and about two and a half years after our breakup). Words I never expected to feel the pain from again hit me like a ton of bricks. "I'm not in love with you anymore". What? Were we not living in the same world? I thought everything was on track. We were closing on a house. I hosted dinner parties. I bought aprons and table linens. What? Ashton, am I getting punked?
For the first few hours, I approached the news with surprising calm. I said we would work through it. I said we could get the spark back (but it still hadn't set in that his world wasn't shining like mine). Slowly the gravity of his words and what he really meant from them began to set in. I spent three days in bed. Nothing could have pulled me out from under the weight of those words. There were more tears than I can venture to count. I threw a framed wedding photo. I begged. I pleaded. I melted into a puddle on the floor. I lost myself is pure sadness.
We separated just before Christmas, a holiday season that is hard to remember now even though it was only a few years ago. Couples therapy was useless. He had made up his mind and nothing I or a therapist could say was going to change it. Three months later, we filed for divorce. I was alone. I was lost somewhere in the shell of a person I no longer knew. I had gotten so use to playing the role of wife. I didn't know how to just be me. It hasn't been an easy road back. I have realized lately, that there are other women out there that are going through the same things, and I share my story not for sympathy, but to let them know, you are not alone.
In the end, I don't think I rushed into marriage. I was ready. I can't speak for him though.
I don't think age matters when both people believe in marriage in the same way and understand it is something you have to work at to make strong. I can't say we ever talked about what marriage really ment to us as a couple. I assumed we both were committed to forever. I will say I was too young to deal with being divorced. I had no one to relate to and I felt horribly alone. I was the only one who was divorced in what felt like a sea of women planning thier weddings.
I never cheated. Again, I can't speak for him, but I try to believe he is a better person than that.
I didn't believe in divorce and I am fairly ashamed to say I judged those that settled for divorce instead of fought for their marriage. I don't feel I settled. I fought with everything I had left. It wasn't enough.
I don't hate men or love. I love love, and I especially love the man in my life and the plans we have for the future.
I sold the ring. It lost any value it ever had to me.
And sincerely, with all my heart, down to the depths of my soul, I hope it doesn't ever happen to you.
But, if it does, I can say this. You will learn the power of your own strength and perseverance. You will hurt like you have never hurt before. You will find out who your true friends are. You will find out if you are being true to yourself. You will learn to trust your gut. You will learn to forgive both him (eventually) and hopefully yourself too. You will make some mistakes and not always handle things with grace. You will love again, no matter how unlikely that seems. You will eventually count yourself lucky to have the chance to fall in love all over again.
I had a really hard time finding anyone who really understood what I was going through. Divorce is definitely one of those things, that you can't relate to unless you have gone through it. It is like your worst break up, times a million. with a side of financial mess and social agony... squared. But if there is anyone out there that is just looking for someone to "get it", I am always willing to listen.
I don't know why I was finally ready to share all of that, but if you made it this far, thank you for sticking with me. (If you are new here, I am usually more fun than this... promise. See here and here and especially here!)
You can unbuckle your seat belts now. My ride isn't over, but I am fairly certain that I can handle any bumps that might come along in my future.