Like you, I’m hurting. Hurting from a wound buried deep inside that no one can see, feeling a pain that can’t be expressed. How do you love someone you hate so much? How do you remain calm when your insides are screaming? Keep calm, keep reading, and I’ll show you I reached the sweet bitter end.
How it Started
13 years, that’s how long I was married. I was in love, I loved her laugh, her smile, and all that she was and did for my heart. I was a Corporal in the United States Marines and she was a PK or Preacher’s Kid. We met while I was visiting my sister, about 5 hours away from my duty station. I fell hard for her and fast, some would say that it was love at first sight. I did anyways, for years!
The Problems Begin
We had our first child 10 months after we were married and from then on, we had problems. Now I’m not going to go into details, just know that somewhere along the road, she lost faith in me. She had 3 affairs and waited until our 10th year of marriage to tell me about them. I, being the wise idiot, believed that if I forgave her and didn’t mention the affairs or address them, it would give her a chance to heal and be the wife that I always dreamed of. It worked! We were great, had our last child and bought a home together, life couldn’t get any better…or so I thought!
The Beginning of the Bitter End
I started to notice an all too familiar distance forming between us. Me being Mr. Fixit, decided that that was the point in which I needed to introduce change…and change is what I got! She told me for the 3rd and last time, that she wanted a divorce! How could this be? I was always faithful. I always provided for the family and made sure we had all that we needed. I wasn’t a drunk or abusive. What could I possibly do to fix this inevitable problem? The answer…NOTHING! No matter what I tried or could try, she was leaving, and that pissed me the hell off!
I gave up my military career for her! I gave up my business endeavors for her! I gave up my dreams for her! How dare she tear away my passion and then just end up leaving me anyways? I hated her! I hated her voice, her smile, hell, even her name drove me to anger! On top of it all, she took the very soul from my body when she stole my kids and moved five hours away to live with her parents! I was devastated, a shell.
How could I have been so stupid, so naïve in thinking that I could change her mind, or even change the course her actions had set us on? I waited until the bitter end, the very last minute, to hire an attorney, and then went against his advice to force her back to my town (something that I legally could have done.) I had hoped that this decision would grant me favor with my oldest daughter, who, at this point, loved her new school. How could I be the evil dad and take her away from that? So I let them stay. I will never know if that was the best decision, but it was my decision and I have to live with it.
Needless to say, my anger grew. I went from seeing my children every day, being there for their every need, to being a 4 day a month dad. The idea of not being there for my children hurt what was left of me, and hurt it bad. I went into a deep depression. My friends tried to help, but it just took my mind off of it in short periods of time.
Enter the Therapist’s Advice
I decided that I needed to see a therapist, something everyone in the middle of a divorce should do. She listened to my sob story and gave me the weirdest and best advice possible…I need to date!
How is that supposed to help? I’m an angry, bitter, asshole, who wants nothing to do with the opposite sex. Those destroyers of men, those evil dream killers, they could never help me! Besides, I can’t be loved. I was faithful, loving, compassionate, honorable, blah, blah, blah, and my marriage still ended in divorce. How could I find love when it was obvious that I didn’t know what love meant? Her response…You need to know you are still desirable!
She was right. I didn’t think I was wanted, I hadn’t felt desired in a very long time. But how do you hide hate and bitterness while dating?
I went straight to online dating. I built an amazing profile, posted amazing pictures, wrote an amazing bio, sat back and waited for the amazing responses, and boy did I get some! Apparently I am very desirable to old overweight women who are still married but in an “Open” relationship…and I mean a lot of them! ‘Match’ my ass! Remind me how is this supposed to make me feel desired again? Still, I didn’t lose all hope.
I finally got a response from a decent looking woman 6 years my junior, I was desirable! We went on a date and I learned a lot…a lot about myself. My divorce wasn’t about me and what I had failed at, it was about her and what she failed to value in me and our relationship. I felt a huge weight lifted off of me and a peace that I didn’t know I could feel again. That date opened my eyes to the possibility of me loving again and I was a new man from then on.
Knowing who you are is a true gift and also a growing gift because you never cease to adapt and grow as an individual, so you always have the opportunity to learn more about yourself. Going through a divorce is a catalyst for growth and change. Not that you need to change, but that your life will inevitably change from it. I didn’t want a divorce, I actually hated the idea of it. But I was looking at it all wrong. A person makes a decision based on the facts presented, and that goes for anything, including marriage. Over time, as more information is provided to you about your significant other, you try and make the best decision as to whether you want to continue to be with them. I’m sure that anyone reading this, at some point in time during their relationship, thought to themselves about an event that made them think “Why would they do that?” or “Why am I still with them?” It could be a fleeting thought and never take hold, but you still had that thought. I believe it is in those moments that we notice a change in ourselves and in our desires for the other person. I guess you could call it a growth spurt!
These growth spurts are what helped me throughout my divorce. The more I learned about myself, the more I learned that my divorce was the best thing to happen to me. I’ve grown, progressed, changed into a man that, not only am I proud of, but my kids can be proud of too!
I’ve learned to love my ex again. No, I don’t go out of my way to impress her or give her things, I just respect her and the fact that she is the mother to my two little girls. I know that she will disappoint, that is her character, I just don’t dwell on it. I use it as a learning tool and move on. The important thing is to put aside my bitterness and focus on my children, life is too short to kill your spirit with bitter and angry thoughts. Move on!
My divorce was finalized after 26 months, and I’ve since been dating and am engaged to a wonderful, unique woman that is everything I have ever wanted in a partner. What makes her so great? She helps me grow and be the man I want to be, all while loving me along the way! I’m happy that I never turned into that bitter woman hater that lives his life full of discontent with the opposite sex. I am so happy with how things have turned out and I know it won’t be an easy road to travel, but it also won’t be a lonely road either. In all honesty, what more could a man ask for? I’ve reached the sweet bitter end.