When my marriage almost ended two and half years ago, the fact that neither of us placed blame on the other or used our shortcomings as weapons to hurt the other in the aftermath was one of the greatest keys to our recovery.
We had both done things on our own to screw up our relationship and all of those things acted as wedges that pushed us farther and farther apart until we barely even recognized each other despite the fact that we slept in the same bed every night. We could go days without speaking to each other and being sent away for weeks at a time with Addie while he studied for finals seemed perfectly normal. Once we moved to Indiana I learned not to rely on him, school was his first priority and we had agreed to simply stick it out until the end, after all, it was only three years.
Addie and I did everything together. I don’t remember doing many things with Cody that didn’t involve mundane errands on Saturday or church on Sunday. The truth is he was gone all. the. time. so I pushed my way through the loneliness knowing that he was doing it for us and for our future, but I felt abandoned. “He was working hard for us. He was putting in his time now to give us a better future later. This is how he shows his love, he could be a complete deadbeat.” Is what I would tell myself.
I did everything for and with Addie. She was my entire world and I was hers for those three years. She never really expected her dad to be around which was good, because he wasn’t. Cody and Addie have always loved each other fiercely, but he missed out on a grand majority of her life because of school and work. It becomes more and more evident how much he missed as he sees Vivi grow and change.
I can tell it hurts parts of him he doesn’t want to talk about that he missed so much of Addie’s baby and childhood.
I took care of everything because that was my job. His job was to get good grades and get through school, I did everything in my power to make school as easy as possible for him. I wanted more kids, but more than anything I wanted a husband, my husband. I wanted him to notice me and everything I did, I did desperately seeking his approval. When it came to a point where I couldn’t get his attention I became more and more entrenched in the online world. I had friends that lived in the computer that understood me. They liked me. They said nice things to me. They said I looked pretty and they offered words of comfort and condolence when I was down. I was never alone as long as I had a computer and an Internet connection nearby. I began to ignore Cody more and more, our lives became even more distant from the marriage we had once had until finally I decided I could do just fine without him. If he wasn’t going to tell me the things I needed and wanted to hear, I was going to go out and find someone who would.
I had been alone for three years, alone was familiar, being ignored hurt.
He kept promising me that one day things would get better. “After this semester, things will get better. After this year, things will get better. Once law review is over, things will get better. After I graduate, things will get better. Once I’m done with the bar, things will get better.”
Things never got better, and I kept waiting for that magical day when things would, in fact, get better. We wasted three years of our lives together waiting on things to get better, they never did until I decided to leave. I had a plan. I had an escape route. I pulled him aside one Sunday and said “I’m leaving you.” I could tell it hit him from out of nowhere. He truly believed we were fine.
He didn’t get angry. He didn’t beg. He didn’t try to reason with me.
He saw that I had been beaten weary by the last three years of waiting and that I couldn’t stand to be alone and ignored anymore. I had every right to leave, he had every right to tell me to.
But he didn’t. He promised me that from that moment forward I would never go a day without knowing how much he loved me.
We spent much of the next three months in silent recovery. Both scared that one or the other of us would change our minds and leave. We talked about everything, about what a disappointment I must be to him that I couldn’t give him the big family he wanted. He talked about how that didn’t matter, that Addie and I mattered and that more kids wasn’t something I needed to worry about, we needed to worry about saving us and doing everything possible to make that happen.
We moved from our apartment into a hotel for a month as our home was being finished. We decided we’d hash it all out in the hotel, leave it all there and start new in our first home together. We got in a fight one night, shortly after moving in, or perhaps when I was pregnant. I realized that this isn’t what we do or who we are. I can remember looking up at him screaming “WE DON’T DO THIS HERE! THIS HOME IS OUR SAFE PLACE! WE DON’T FIGHT HERE!” It ended then and we haven’t fought here (or anywhere) since.
I got my husband back in late 2009 and he got his wife back around the same time. We had made it. We had survived the horrible ugly that is the near end of a relationship built on love. We started over. Things are equal now. Things are discussed. Family comes first and as soon as Vivi came into our lives it’s as though she sealed all the cracks shut between the three of us who had been wandering through life without her for the last decade.
I have a good life. I have the best husband I could have ever asked for, I thought I was in love on June 16, 2001. But as I sit here today I am more in love with him and us together than I ever have been in my entire life. We are so good together. We still have our stumbles here and there, he’s learning to be the dad he wasn’t for the first 6 years and I’m learning to be comfortable in my own skin and reveling in how far we’ve come.
If there’s someone or something worth fighting for, fight with all you have. Believe that you are worth fighting for as well. You deserve all the happiness life can give you despite the horrible pains and disappointments that will be handed to you along the way. Without the dark we wouldn’t have light. Without the bitter we wouldn’t have the sweet. Without pain we wouldn’t have the relief of eventually collapsing into love and finally, for the first time, feeling like we can catch our breath and be ourselves.