I’m in the process of getting a divorce. I am one real estate transaction away. It is, at the same time, the worst and the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Ryan’s entire family thinks that we “grew apart” as that’s what he has been telling them (Yeah if you had any idea what I went through to get our new house, which is a long story, you’d know that is total BS…. “grew apart and gave up” my ass)– he’ll probably eventually just tell them I cheated on him for months because to him my best friend, Chris, was a large part of the reason we emotionally disconnected. I suppose in some aspects has some accuracies, but neither were the real reason – Chris just gave me the confidence and strength I needed to leave as a dear and supportive confidant, and unless by grow apart we mean: I eventually matured into a normal 24 year old professional with hopes, dreams and ambitions and he has stayed the eternal 33 year old teenager who likes porn, action figures, video games, staying up all night, leaving a dead end job early without pay, and eating a diet exclusively (almost literally) of pizza and mountain dew ….. then yes, we “grew apart”. Sometimes I just want to scream from the roof tops, openly vent on facebook, print out brochures for them …. “How Your Son Ruined My Life: The Story of How I Almost Committed Suicide Because Ryan is a Candy Coated Asshole”…. I just wish THEY KNEW what I survived and endured, how much of an uphill battle everything was – the simplest of tasks, chores and intimacies were like pulling teeth – like pulling Excalibur from the freaking stone. I would be ecstatic when I got a response to a text message… A TEXT MESSAGE. This was where our marriage took off from.
And his family? They all probably think I’m some kind of monster for leaving that sweet, sweet boy. I figure it’s not my place to “out” him to his family as what he really is – but I think they would be floored if they found out what our home life was like. It would be so satisfying to go up to my father in law and inform him that his son is an emotionally abusive, manipulative, sexually impotent man child with a debilitating and SEVERE fetish porn addiction who shut me out, made me sleep alone and practically live a celibate lifestyle every night of our entire relationship/marriage. His actions made me HATE myself to the point I didn’t even value living anymore. His actions and later words indicated that he didn’t think very much of me but he loved me and maybe he figured this was as good as it got for him (facts: it definitely is, the person he’s looking for? She does not exist. Video game characters? Not real.). He told me I lack compassion, empathy, was a total pig and slob, and compared my fluctuating weight struggle (which he called a “food addiction”) to his porn addiction (which is still hilarious for obvious reasons). Everyone I’ve confided in is routinely floored at the life I put up with for years, there are countless stories – the more I tell them the more ridiculous they seem. The comments made to me, the manipulations, emotional abuse, the crippling loneliness and rejection. I was constantly controlled and denied and felt like I wasn’t able to live my life. And he could never admit it. It was like being told “you can climb this ladder if you really WANT to” while having 100 lb weights strapped to my legs. I was quietly blamed or part of the justification for why things were the way they were – even when I told him how lonely and sad I was - which was often - until eventually I got tired of being told I was too sensitive and that there was no way to be told things “I didn’t want to hear”. It was horrible. He never once considered maybe the things he thinks “I need to hear” are just because he’s an asshole and they actually don’t need to be said because normal, kind husbands don’t think those things about their wife.
And it makes it hard to trust because I blindly loved and trusted Ryan for almost 7 years, and I had no idea how I’m ever going to trust someone that way ever again now that I have this baggage. When I first found out what was going on in December, I wondered how I was ever going to trust anyone EVER. Ever ever ever. He had destroyed all my self-esteem by this point – as you may know, one of the worst things about spending too long in an emotionally abusive relationship is that you have no idea you’re being emotionally abused until you’ve long been out - especially if you are the kind of person, like myself, prone to blaming yourself anyways. I was constantly guilt ridden and I couldn’t imagine leaving him because I figured no one else would want me. You get to the end of the relationship though and can’t think of a single good thing about yourself because the other person has taken it all away from you.
Anyways, that’s where Chris comes in – and he’s lovely and smart and wonderful. Funny and successful and gorgeous. I’ll never forget the first time we met and he hugged me…. And I thought… you’re perfect. You’re tall and gorgeous and even more perfect than I had imagined. And we just sat and held hands for awhile across a table at a coffee shop in February. I thought… you’re perfect. Even your hands are perfect. Your smile is perfect. Perfect. He was one of my best friends for six years. In the best way I can describe it, I felt “safe” for the first time in forever. Perfect. He loves me for the way I am and makes me feel good about being me. He supports my goals without making me value the person I currently am any less. And after years of struggling just for a taste of something that felt “normal” - things with him are easy and effortless. I know for sure now, that while I have my flaws, I was not THE problem in my marriage. I know that I trusted and followed the wrong person blindly and it’ll take awhile to get past the years of the brainwashing. But that phase is over for me. So, five months after the split – I’m laughing it up with friends, building my career and seeing this wonderful man… and Ryan? Well Ryan left his computer unlocked by accident a few weeks ago while I was over there cleaning and well, he’s deep back into the depths of porn addiction. He has no friends, see’s no one but maybe his dad. His life is probably lonely and sometimes I hurt for him (despite what he believes, I do have empathy and I am sensitive to people’s emotions) but I’ve realized it was never my job to try and save him or create happiness for him. I can only do that for myself.
I’ve written this post because I know there are others out there like me – trapped in bad marriages, young people especially. I know you feel like you need to stay and try – and please do, but realize sometimes there are people worth forgiving and there are people worth forgetting for good. I got married when I was 21 and was separated by 23 and divorced at 24. I am not proud of it, but I refuse to let it define me. It’s not a mark on you and it should not make you any less valuable. What others will perceive as “weakness” I KNOW is strength. It is not weakness. What you are doing is having the courage to stand up for yourself and to live the life you deserve.
Thanks, friends. - Courtney