Like most people, my wedding day was one of the best days of my life. It was full of hope, magic, and love. My own wedding caused me to cry at all weddings that I attended after that because it brought back the feelings of happiness and love that I felt on that day. Nothing is better than the way you feel on your wedding day. You hope those feeling will last forever. Things change with time, however, and not all marriages last. That is the reality I am currently trying to deal with in my life.
I love my husband, I always have, pretty much since the day I meet him. After 17 years together and 13 years of marriage though, I am no longer in love with my husband. Our years together have not been easy, especially in the last few years. There has been a lot of pain and disappointment that has taken its toll on our marriage. I continued to stick out the relationship for many years, thinking that if I just hung in there and kept loving him that things would change and get better. They never did, at least not for very long. So, when I told my husband last December that I wanted to sperate, it wasn’t me trying to get his attention in a last-ditch effort to save our marriage, it was me telling him that I was finally done with the marriage. The catalyst for this choice all comes down to a giant stuffed bear.
As I said before, things weren’t good for a long time between my husband and I. I had become a single parent despite being married. He was rarely there, and I could never really depend on him. It had gotten to the point where I would just plan life without him and hope that he would choose to show up. It was easier this way, it relieved some of the constant disappointment that I felt. Last December, when I planned a pre-Christmas trip to Portland for the family, I really didn’t expect my husband to join us, but as it got closer, he seemed so excited to go. I began to include him in the plans and the boys were excited to get to spend some time with their dad. However, when the day came to leave for our trip, my husband was not in our car as we pulled out of the driveway. I was sad and disappointed once again, but I was determined to make this an awesome trip with my boys that they would never forget. I think I did just that. They seemed happy and I definitely spoiled them, probably a little too much out of guilt. I figure that kids are resilient and that I’d kept them so busy with fun that their dad not being there wouldn’t affect them much. I was wrong about that though.
While we were I Portland, we visited Santa, and he told me to take the boys to a special toy store to let them pick out anything they wanted from Santa, so we obeyed. My second oldest, who is currently 9, picked out a giant Teddy Bear that was almost as big as him. He was so excited about his Teddy Bear and still sleeps with it in his bed. As we were driving home from Portland, we talked about our favorite parts of the trip and how much fun we had. My 9-year-old commented that he wished his dad had come and that he couldn’t wait to see him when we got home to tell him all about the trip. All the other boys agreed that they had missed their dad and wished that he had joined us on the trip. They were all very excited to see their dad when we got home. After an extra-long weekend away, they were all very eager to get home. My 9-year-old said that all he wanted to do when he got home was to give his dad a big hug with his giant new Teddy Bear and to hold them both. It was such a sweet idea that really showed how much he’d missed his dad. Then we got home.
My husband came down to greet us and help bring in the bags, but within five minutes of us being home, he had returned to his office to play more video games, something he had been doing all weekend long while we were gone. He disappeared into his office for several hours, only reappearing after the two youngest were already sound asleep and I was about to put the two older boys to bed. He didn’t spend anytime with us that evening, he didn’t listen to the stories from our trip, and he didn’t help me bathe or settle children in after a very exhausting weekend. Instead, he did what he always did, he took care of himself and did what he wanted, which didn’t include his family. It broke my heart to know that his boys were so excited to see him and had missed him so much, but that he clearly didn’t feel the same way. I could see the devastation in my 9-year old’s eyes that he didn’t get to share that hug with his day and his giant stuffed Teddy Bear like he had wanted to so badly. That’s when I knew it was time to for things to change and that I finally needed to make the hard call of ending our marriage.
Over the past few years, I felt like my husband was drowning and I was constantly trying to save him, but instead he was pulling me under with him. In those moments, after our Portland trip, I looked around and realized, we weren’t the only two drowning in that pond. Our kids were there too, and they were barely treading water. I knew I had to let my husband go and get my kids and myself back to the safety of the shore. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but I knew it was the right one and felt such relief after I told him.
Now we are in the messy processing of figuring out how to move forward while trying to keep our kids afloat. It is strange that I struggled for so long about what to do with my marriage, how to fix it, and what was best for my kids only to figure out what we all really needed because of a giant Teddy Bear.