The Best Thing My Husband Ever Did For Me Was Get A Girlfriend
As deeply as I loved him, a feeling of relief washed over me when I found out about the affairs.
I met my husband in college at the tender age of 20. He was different. He was unique. I was captivated.
Our relationship was quick and intense. Within six months we were living together with no thought to planning our future or even birth control. Still, I was in love so, I jumped without a parachute and never asked why. After all, jumping is love, right?
The sun rose and set with this man. I was certain, without a doubt, he was my soulmate. He would be my first, and I would die happy knowing he would be last.
I grew up in a conservative nontraditional family in the 80s. Suburban middle-class daughter of an interracial couple with one immigrant parent. They instilled in me strong values of conforming to society. These values about sex and relationships included save yourself for marriage. This is what good girls did. After all, promiscuous girls were, well…promiscuous. However, I didn’t wait until love.
Not only were you a virgin but, you were married once and never even considered divorce. Divorce was a shameful dirty word that reeked of failure. You dug in, and by any means necessary, you made your marriage work.
By the ripe age of 27 years old, I wasn’t blissfully happy like Cinderella told me I would be after meeting my prince. I was a stay-at-home mom with non-existent dreams, a body riddled with childbearing stretch marks, and no identity beyond my role as wife and mother. I had a partner that spent more time working away from our home than being a part of it.
Nonetheless, I dug my heels in and I wore my martyr badge proudly. That’s what being a good mother and wife was all about. Sacrificing whole parts of yourself, every part that ever existed, if your family requires it.
Not even after the first STD, or even after the unknown infections that led to the first of three miscarriages was I done yet. It wasn’t until STD number three, (all curable), did I stop abandoning myself long enough to say, I deserve better.
I made the right decision to leave. Confirmation came following our separation. My husband began dating his first longtime girlfriend even before the dust settled on my departure. Perhaps he knew I wasn’t coming back. Even so, the realization dawned on me quickly, he was not going to fight for the marriage.
As deeply as I loved him, I remember a feeling of relief wash over me when I found out about the affairs. I felt stuck in our marriage; that stuck manifested itself into weight gain, acne, deep depression, no self-esteem, no self-worth, and walking around in a fog, thinking I don’t have any more dreams left. I no longer dreamed a dream. I just survived every day, hoping to get through it.
My destiny was never to walk around in a shroud of darkness, barely existing, being a martyr. I left. I left in shame and guilt wearing my, I failed at marriage, shirt. Then one day, I was over it. I threw that shirt in a bonfire and joyfully danced around it. A big middle finger to conservative outdated roles of traditional expressions of female repression.
I divorced him and I married me.
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