I am hosting an end-of-winter series featuring stories from the trenches of pain. My hope is that in sharing these breaking points, we will feel less alone. Thank you all for your bravery. You are helping the world to heal. To participate and for more info go here.
Submitted by: Anonymous
I thought I had everything. I had the man I loved, two great kids, we just bought and remodeled a house I finally considered mine and was in love with. Everything was wonderful…until about a week after our 13th wedding anniversary when he walked in and informed me he didn’t love me and didn’t want to be married anymore. I begged for counseling, asked for a trial period, begged him to think about the kids.
His mind was made up, it was done. He took a loan out on a car, gave me $3000 to “get started”. Since the house was only in his name and he wouldn’t be able to pay enough to me to make the payment, he was keeping it and I had to move. Since the truck payment was too expensive, he would be keeping that too, so I needed to go get a car. I could take what I wanted from the house.
Oh, how I wish I had the soundness of mind then, but to have all your dreams and then have someone tell you they were no longer yours, by his decisions and not your own, and feeling unable to control anything in your life at that moment, well… you tend not to think clearly. I went through the home and took pictures of the kids to take with, but everything else had a memory attached, our bed, our furniture, our artwork. Everything reminded me of our life together, so I went to yard sales and got “new” furniture, new things for my own house, and with the kids moved into a 2 bedroom apartment behind a gas station.
I was blessed to make a great friend in my wonderful new neighbor, but honestly, I was embarrassed of where I was. I gradually started letting old friends in on my situation. Though I have to say that none of my friends still know the full details of what I have been through, I have come to rely on and appreciate them so much.
About a year or so ago one of my closest friends recommended a book to me…written by a personal acquaintance of hers…here in our little Montana town. As I started reading it, I felt as if she had lived my life word for word. Oh, how I wished I had her insight and soundness of thinking. Or I wish I at least had the book for reference as I was going through this.
There were times it was too intense to read…the parts where it was affecting the children was hitting a little too close to home and I would have to put it down for a few days and pick it up later. It was a tremendous help. But apparently I hadn’t reached my “breaking point.”
Last year, after a long period of unemployment, my ex got a job in law enforcement. This meant he went out of town to the academy for a three month period of time. Me, being the Supportive Sally I always had been, readily agreed to help out and take care of the kids while he was gone. I never received a single cent in financial help even though he was getting paid twice as much as I made to go to school. I took care of the kids, made sure they made it to track and softball and volleyball. I took care of it. So when his graduation time came, he asked me to come to the graduation. He said it would mean a lot to him, he couldn’t have done it without my support, it was so important to him, so of course, I went.
So I packed up the kids and drove to the capital, spent the weekend with my ex and my ex-in-laws, completely uncomfortable, but making it through. At the final graduation ceremony, the “MVP” of the class got up and gave a speech. He was an Iraq war vet, had been in the service 20+ years, then came back and got involved in law enforcement. He talked about how through everything, the good days, the bad days, the scary days, the most important lesson he learned was that he had support at home. He always knew his wife would be there to listen and support. It was then I realized that yes, I was that person for my ex, but even though I was the one that was worrying about him, scared for him, taking care of him, at the end of the day, he went home to someone else, and not even the same someone else, depending on the week or month. It was then I realized I had to free myself of the dependency and responsibility. I had to be done with the guilt and the hope things were different. It was up to me to make my life what I wanted it at this point.
I thought, “I would love to have someone get up and give a speech like that about me,” but that was not my life at that point and maybe some day would be, but not if I kept the path I was on.
So after years of being a doormat, I can honestly say I am feeling strong…looking forward…hoping for the best. I still cry myself to sleep at times, but those are getting farther and farther apart. It is still a struggle every single day and I still feel guilt for my kids and the life they have been dealt by someone else’s decision, but we are doing our best. We will make it.