I’ve had so many people ask me, why did it only take you three days to decide to leave your husband? Did you just give up? Did you not feel your marriage was worth fighting for? Did you ever really love him if you could leave him so quickly? Do you understand the weight of marriage and making vows to someone?
I knew putting my story out in the world and being entirely transparent about the timing, my feelings, and my truth would be tough. I knew I’d get some negative comments or questions. I thought there might be some gossip floating around about me and how quickly my marriage came crumbling down.
However, I had (and still have) a greater mission. I share my personal experience in an attempt to help others that are/have felt just as lost and angry and just as devastated as I was. And I will continue to do so.
A huge obstacle I’ve been faced with after filing for divorce was the guilt people have tried to put on me for “giving up” so quickly. Truth be told, I felt this guilt long before anyone even knew my story. I felt like I had given up on my marriage, but I didn’t see much of a choice. The choice was made for me. What kind of choice is that?
The facts are the facts. I told AJ I was divorcing him three days after finding out about his first girlfriend and uncovering a few others. I filed for divorce the following week. I kicked him out two weeks after that. I rearranged furniture, painted walls, and tried to erase AJ like chalk on a blackboard.
Reading that, it seems as if my critics are right. It was a piece of cake for me to leave my husband. I barely bat an eye.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Instead, I spent every second of that first day trying to convince myself that my husband would never lie and maybe one of his versions of the story was true. Maybe there is nothing else negative and we can rebuild. I know we can save this marriage. Together, we are unstoppable. On the second day, when I recalled additional sketchy behavior, I thought I’m sure he has an explanation. This was a one-time problem… and he did say he felt “distant from me”. I just need to help him feel closer. On the third day, I begged for his honesty. Begged. Begged as if my breath would stop if I didn’t get the truth. Never did I think I would have to beg my husband for honesty. Beg… never did I think I’d have to beg anyone for anything. The truth could have kept my marriage alive, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the truth. AJ barely scratched the surface of the details of his infidelity.
Once I learned the extent of my husband’s actions, I looked at the facts.
He was actively dating women before, on, and after our wedding day. His cheating was not connected to “distant times” in our marriage, as he claimed was his excuse. Even when
asked begged for the truth, I couldn’t get it out of my husband. Trust was eliminated. Intimacy was ruined.
What was left after those new facts?
I had two distinct choices;
If I stayed, I saw a lot of hard work. That didn’t deter me. What deterred me was the thought of who I’d become if I stayed. I loved AJ deeply. I’d have done anything for him. But now, my whole idea of who I thought he was shifted and I was angry, resentful, and bitter. I’d be paranoid if he took too long to come home after work. In fact, where would he be on his lunch, or what if he skipped work? How could I trust him to go to the grocery store alone? What about the apps on his phone and his emails/text messages/social media messages? Passwords, punishments and pettiness was all that awaited me if I stayed. Was AJ even capable of change or want to change? Maybe. I had hoped his actions would show me my choice was wrong, but at every turn, I was alone in my hope for any improvement between us. Staying was not a choice I could make alone.
If I left, I saw a lot of hard work. That didn’t deter me. Once I spoke with Alice on day three, I learned how many lies my husband told me…. right after I begged for the truth. He assured me that Alice would tell me the same (newest) version of the story he did. When I learned that wasn’t the case, I told him I was leaving him. My decision was confirmed by his first five words….
“Okay, what can I keep?”
What is there to save at that point? Had I heard “I booked our counseling appointment” instead, I might still be married. Over the next two months, up until the day our divorce was final, his actions continued to reassure me that I was right in deciding to leave a man who had no interest in trying to keep me.
Did I give up? The answer I have for you is no, I did not give up.
My husband gave up before he ever married me.
Whether you filed the papers, took a day to decide or a year, only you know why you walked away. Only you know how right your choice was. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you gave up on someone who gave up on you.