This year more than ever I have realized that what ended our marriage was more than an affair. I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what I could have done differently, but the answer is nothing. I loved my then husband and that love was unconditional. I tried to be a good wife. I tried to take care of our children, the home, and him…but that wasn’t what he really wanted. I wasn’t what he really wanted. I realized that shortly after the divorce was final. My ex could be charming, but he could also be hurtful. He could say things that made me feel so worthless and in the next breath, praise me as the woman he would never leave. But he did. He did leave.
I have spent so much time thinking about what I could have done or said that would have made a difference, but there was nothing. He knew I loved him, but that wasn’t enough. He knew I was faithful. He knew that I would never leave him. He knew that I was struggling and instead of supporting me or helping me, he added to my fight. It is exhausting to know that the person you love and have built all your dreams around-is having an affair. It is not the physical aspect of the affair that is so damning, at least it wasn’t for me. It was the realization that my husband did not flinch or hesitate to continue to hurt me. He could look at me when I was at my most vulnerable—when I knew about his girlfriend and begged him to end the relationship—and when I was on the floor sobbing, he could walk out and run to her. There was no second thought. I could not have done the same.
When I look back asking what I could have done differently, I rarely stop and think about what he could have done differently. He could have tried. He could have helped me when I needed him. He could have remained faithful. He could have cared enough about his vows to focus more on his marriage and less on having an affair. He could have acknowledged how I was struggling and offered help. He didn’t. And ironically, I am surprised that after our divorce, he has neglected to do all that he said that he would.
Today more than ever, I realize that my ex-husband is not my friend. He might not have “intended to hurt”me with the initial affairs, but since the end of our marriage his intent is pretty clear. I am the enemy. I see his hatred and disdain when he looks at me. It honestly confuses me. I have done nothing to intentionally hurt the man. I have been the easiest woman to divorce. No fight. I have always considered his feelings, his new children, and his new life. I try to make things as easy as possible for our children, yet I do not feel he acts with the same intent. His actions have made and continue to make my life more difficult. And he has made me the enemy because I believe it is easier for him than admitting he left someone who actually loved him. Note: loved is past tense.
Yesterday was a difficult day. A day filled with confusion, sadness, and regret. Today, I am trying to look forward with hope that maybe next year July 31st will just be another day of summer.