The Day my Marriage Died

There is a faint but ever present layer of grief that covers everything in my life. It is like seeing the world in colors, but everything is slightly dimmed, whitewashed. There is just so much grief in divorce. You grieve for your lost partner, best friend, lover, and teammate. You grieve the future that you wanted to have together; you grieve the marriage that you thought you had. You even grieve your identify as a married person.

People have often compared the grief from divorce to the grief of the death of a spouse. I shy away from pain competitions. Ultimately, everybody carries their own burden, and you can’t quantify sorrow. Divorce or widowhood? I’m glad that M. is alive and well, and I would never wish anything bad to happen to him. Now, he is free to contribute to the world, and bring joy to the people he loves. However, he is not immortalized in my memories as the wonderful guy I used to know. The divorce made me wake up and see him in a much less positive light (a truer light?). Would I have written or thought about emotional abuse if M. had died? Probably not. Now, I have to deal with the pain that M. has caused me, because he chose to.

The fallout from my divorce involves making peace with the fact that M. of his own free will and sound of mind simply left me. Maybe in some ways the M. I thought I knew did die. I mean, my M. would have never cheated on me, or mistreated me. He wouldn’t have fought with me about nickels and dimes. He would have never chosen someone else over me. He would have never left me alone and unprotected. So my M. did die, but he also didn’t. He simply never existed.

Another thing that’s very different between death and divorce is that I don’t know when my marriage died. There is no universal tragedy that marks the day when I went from married to not married. Sure, there is an actual date when my divorce will be finalized, but that’s not the day my marriage died.

So when was it? Was it in marriage counseling, when M. couldn’t promise fidelity? Was it after he promised me the world and then took it back? Was it the day we signed papers? Was it when he slept with someone else while we were married? Was it when he decided I wasn’t his best friend anymore? Was it before all of this, the day that M. gave up? Maybe in March, when he couldn’t have that conversation with me. Was it way way before then? If my M. wasn’t real, was our marriage ever alive?

You would think that as much as I have suffered, I would know the day when I lost so much. But the truth is that I have no idea. There won’t be a single anniversary of my suffering. Instead, there are many painful days that are etched into soul, emotional scars that will take a long time to heal. Instead of one day, I get all the days when I could see my marriage crumble and I was powerless to stop it. The good news is that I’m not powerless anymore, and I couldn’t save my marriage, but at least I saved my sanity.

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14 thoughts on “The Day my Marriage Died

  1. This my friend speaks straight to my heart. I could have written this word for word. The many painful days, the days that are colored with grief. It is how I feel often. There was so much toxicity and dysfunction in my marriage, but yet I still grieve it. Thank you for writing this. It makes me feel less alone.

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    1. I very much wish that nobody ever had to read this to feel less alone, but there we are and at least we are in good company. Many lesser and greater people have gone through this and recovered. So we will be just fine and we will come out stronger. I wish there was a way around this, but we can only go through it.

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  2. I just posted “two kinds of death.” I hate that you had to go through this. If there is one “good” thing you have going, it’s your age. I wish I had known about my POS ex when there was a chance for me to start over. Keep your chin up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, obviously I only come to this point of view as someone that didn’t really want a divorce or more precisely I didn’t my ex to be the guy I needed to divorce. But yeah in Divorce they are still around, they can still hurt you either willingly or unwillingly.
      Also, there is a stigma associated with Divorce that is not there for physical death (with the possible exception of being suicide survivor).I feel pretty sure that I didn’t everything that I could to save my marriage and to be a good wife (obviously we are flawed) but even so, I can’t completely escape the feeling of failure.
      I do get to start over early, but in some ways I’m so behind. I don’t really know how to be a 25 year old single person.

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      1. You can’t feel like a failure when it was your husband who cheated on you and decided to leave. He is the failure. I will probably never recover but one thing I know for sure is this: I walked away with my honor, integrity and my moral compass in tact. That’s something that neither my ex nor any of his adulteresses can ever say.

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      2. I don’t those feelings are rational because yeah I have my integrity and I really did nothing to justify his behaviour. But right by biggest rival is that little voice inside my head that tells I wasn’t kind enough, or pretty enough or smart enough or whatever enough for him. And I know that that voice is wrong that I could have been a saint and M. would have still been unhappy and he would cheated, but I still have to actively fight it.

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      3. That’s an easy trap to fall into. It wasn’t you….it was him. Men who cheat are a breed apart.They’re scum. They have no honor. My daughter once repeated a saying she heard….”show me the most beautiful woman in the world and I’ll show you the man who gets tired of fucking her every night.”

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  3. I really felt your words here. I often think about this. I rack my brain wondering at what point it went wrong. Did I just marry the wrong person? How could I be so blind?
    To go through loss from a death in the family is an awful experience. It’s a numbing pain that lasts a long time. But divorce has such a sting to it and completely depletes you because you have such a mix of anger, sadness, loss of and esteem, failure, etc. I think it’s more complex. You can’t compare the two per se but the loss of both is very real. (And I know you weren’t trying to.) The only positive in divorce is that you do recover and often better than before. Death leaves a hole in your heart that never really closes fully.
    Luckily, we have good support and those wonderful souls won’t let us drown. You will see life again in technicolor. It’ll just be a while. I’m seeing the light now a year later and I know it’s going to get brighter. Some steps back at times but I’m always looking forward. You’re smart and strong and you will do the same.
    Xo

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    1. Right now, I feel like I live life at a lower level than before. I still feel all the feelings, but they are a bit dimmer, a bit emptier, the high are not quite as high, the lows are a bit lower, everything is just a bit less, a bit emptier.

      But I know it will pass. I’m really blessed; I have a wonderful support network. I know I’m strong enough to handle this and all the setbacks. I can’t wait to see life in technicolor again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know what you mean. I felt like I was wading through water at all times. Those first three months were the absolute worst. And then little by little you realize you survived. You make sure you wallow and cry and feel all the feels as long as you need. Only you know what’s right for you to heal. Xo

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  4. There is never a way to pinpoint when your marriage breaks down, Myself I thought I was happily married then I got hit out of leftfield with divorce. Those first few months really suck, but you do learn a lot about yourself and what kind of resolve it takes to get through the most unfortunate times.

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    1. Yeah, it is strange too because ever since the split and the divorce I think I learned a lot of things that were wrong with my relationship and the way things were being. But now I just get annoyed that it still wasn’t my choice to quit. I’ve just learned so much and grown so much these past few months.

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