This past month would have been five years since my ex and I married. My wedding was all around the wrong decision. We can only see things when we look back at them at an arm’s length, and see that we made the wrong decision for ourselves and go from there.
A part of me knew it going in. I didn’t love A. Although I did my best to be a good wife and girlfriend considering the circumstances, I fought for the survival of our marriage on multiple occasions. This was despite the abuse our marriage counselor pointed out, and after a while, I couldn’t keep up the facade past a certain point that I was unhappy. So it leads to the question that everyone asks about my relationship, and in turn my marriage: “Why did you go through with it?”
There is fault that lies in my corner, and I am willing to confess my sins about why I stayed in a bad relationship, and in turn a bad marriage, and what made me at fault. They are as follows:
REJECTION: In my dating life before my ex, I was rejected a lot. I wouldn’t get anywhere with guys that I liked, and I just ended up heartbroken over and over. I thought to myself, “Maybe I should just be with someone that’s okay, and then go from there. I should just find someone who’s into me.” Sorry, kids, but that’s just not good enough. And I thought I could grow to love him. It doesn’t work that way, either.
PEER PRESSURE: Our relationship, from the first moment we were dating, was extremely public. Everyone knew even before we decided to be exclusive. I remembered that my ex pressured me to tell my family, even though I wanted to wait before letting them know I was getting involved with anyone. (That was a major red flag.) A lot of people liked us together, and I knew how sad they would be if we broke up. So I tried to keep going and tried to put on that happy face. I felt a lot of pressure to stay together because I didn’t want to make anyone else unhappy. My goal from the get-go was to please everyone else. I put myself last, which is not the way to do anything in your life. It was why, after the divorce, I decided to start exploring myself, and I learned it was okay to be selfish sometimes. Sometimes you have to be.
SEX LIFE: The sex was very intense and very passionate at the start. As we continued into our dating life, the sex remained strong, but we only saw each other on weekends and I initiated for the most part. When we started living together, the sex continued – until two weeks after the actual wedding, when it almost completely disappeared, and it resorted to a begging act for me. The lesson? Never date or marry a guy based just on the sex, because it could go away just as fast.
AGE: I was just graduating college when I got with my ex, and for the most part he was my first real relationship. We married when I was 25. All in all, I was too young to even consider settling down with someone. In fact, there was one point where we almost broke up, but I stayed determined and wanted to keep fighting for it. I just figured that I wanted a long marriage, and this was the way to do it. The times are different now — it’s not necessarily about length, but about quality. And quality is something you need to build from the ground up, and at such a young age, I just couldn’t.
FRIENDS: A and I got together right before graduation, which was far away from where I was about to move back to. In keeping my relationship, I kept up with a lot of my friends from college. Even as red flags came up and we had difficulties, I realized that if I broke off the relationship that I would lose a lot of my friends. I didn’t want that. I put those people in front of my happiness.
HOME TURF: After college, I returned to my home town and hated it. I didn’t want to be there with my parents, particularly my mother, who were constantly yelling at or berating me, and I didn’t want to be so far from everyone who I loved and who loved me. It was advantageous to stay involved with A, and then marry him so I could move away from my parents for good. But as I ran from the abuse of my parents’ home, I ran into it too.
HIS FAMILY: My former mother-in-law, when it looked like I was coming into the fold, really embraced me and treated me like a daughter the way my mother never really did. (When I left she became rather vindictive.) So did his cousins, and his brother’s kids loved having me as an aunt. It was a sad thought in leaving because I really did like the family, and I didn’t want to be the girl with the crazy mother-in-law.
EMOTIONAL UNAVAILABILITY: I have an insane time letting people in, and I am rather quick to build up walls if I think I could get hurt. I am not that verbally expressive in my relationship, but if I feel something towards someone who I trust, I say it. The fact I didn’t speak my feelings all the time drove my ex crazy. But I closed myself off. I watched in my relationship, over and over again, as my ex would call me names and treat me horribly, eroding my trust, and I would shut down emotionally. He would cajole me to being more open again, and then when I became more open, he would shut me down again. Whether it was a result of my difficulties letting people in or this pattern, I’m not sure. But we both failed.
INSECURITY: I have a killer personality, but I am no beauty queen. Dating in Southern California is tricky enough even if you look good. Here was someone telling me how much he loved me, having sex with me regularly and wanting me in a relationship, not just on a one-night stand basis. Did I really want to go back to the dating arena, where I felt like a persona non grata? There were very few guys who wanted to be with me. Sure, my ex was difficult, unambitious, afraid of change, angry and way too attached with the concept of words versus actions. But no one else wanted me. I figured that this was my lot in life, and I should just take it.
All in all, there were a lot of mistakes to be made in my married life, and I made quite a few. I accept them just as I accept that I am not a perfect person. I was not alone in making the wrong decision, because I realized after I left that my ex wanted to be married, and it didn’t matter to who. I just happened to be there with all the problems listed above. Once we were married, he figured that this was it and he didn’t have to work at it anymore. Not so much.
The lesson of being five years away from my wedding day is looking back and realizing what you did wrong and moving on. I understand what landed me in this position in the first place, and I know what I need to better approach another relationship. I atone for my sins every day, although I do not regret my path. It’s just a part of where I am right now.