Right now, I am feeling a strange combination of guilt and shame, because the truth is no, I just don’t love him. I’m not even sure when I really did. I feel like I have sinned by lying about it and saying it anyway even though I knew on some level it wasn’t really how I felt. I feel awful because I’ve told him I did love him, and I know he is hurting because I am not coming back or returning affection in any way, at all. I imagine him sitting there all alone, feeling heartbroken, and I feel SO GUILTY about how much I am enjoying my life right now. Is this a normal way to feel when you’re the person who has done the leaving? I’d assume it’s one of the most common ways to feel in this sort of situation, unless you are a heartless person who sincerely could care less about the other person at all.


I had this weird thought the other day as I was talking to this girl at work about the legalities of divorce in this state. She’s been there, done that, and was giving me some advice on getting certified copies of everything and some other things I should remember to do. As I stood there talking to her, my mind drifted a little and I imagined how it might look to her. She doesn’t know the story, and had assumed I was the one who filed for divorce. When I told her no, it was him, I’m not sure but I think I noticed a funny little smirk on her face; like he divorced me because I must have done something to drive him to that action. I know this is just me, being paranoid and projecting my own insecurities onto situations and conversations I have with other people, but I just wonder sometimes. I mostly don’t care what people think right now. But at weird moments like that one, I wish I knew how I actually look in all of this.


You know what’s interesting? I think I really feel that, by leaving the marriage, I have sinned in some way. I’m not Catholic, or a firm believer in any particular branch of Christianity that condemns you if you break the holy bond of matrimony. I haven’t had this drummed into me by parents who railed against divorce. And I don’t live in a time when I’d be an outcast and shunned for this crime against proper society. So why this sudden “I’m a sinner” feeling?


It’s those VOWS. The vows were very real to me, very concrete and I meant it when I promised to stay with him no matter what happened. At the time, I really did. But what the hell happened between that day almost two years ago and right now? How did I shift over to “I take it back, I don’t want to do all of those things anymore” in such a seemingly-short period of time? Am I truly a liar because I went back on those vows? Do I deserve to be punished somehow for this? Honestly, yes, I think I do. I just don’t know what form that punishment will come in; maybe this feeling, this horrible guilt, IS my punishment.


And then I start doubting. What if I just didn’t stick it out long enough? What if I was just simply being weak or lazy…meaning I would rather cut and run than stay and do hard work on things? Everyone knows that every marriage has its hard times, and the people who can make it through a crisis are the ones to be admired and are then rewarded with strong, healthy marriages. But then there are the people like me, the ones who GIVE UP. I wonder if the rest of the world looks at us like liars, failures, cheats and bums. Like the half-assed members of society. The ones who are afraid of hard work. The ones who can’t be trusted or relied upon.


I feel less-than all of the sudden, that’s my point. Not because “ooh, I don’t have a husband” but rather, “I’m one of the lazy quitters.”


I’m finding that I push thoughts like this away most of the time, just like I push thoughts of him out of my head, too. It’s getting easier to do that. I just focus on something good, happening right now, and feel better. But the stupid less-than thing comes back anyway once in awhile and I can’t get it to shut up. I hate realizing I broke someone’s heart. I never wanted to be a bad person. I try so hard to be a good person, every day, actually—so to realize this about yourself, that you ARE a catalyst that possibly allowed someone else’s world to fall apart, it just sucks.


Maybe I need to see it another way. When in doubt, I turn to cheesy metaphors. So here goes: maybe it’s like when you open the door to let a wayward bird back out of the house, but as you close the door you squish a lizard in the doorjamb. You didn’t mean to kill that lizard, and you were only trying to save another animal’s life. So was it a sin, then, to kill that lizard? Most people would say “of course not” because it wasn’t premeditated. It just happened in the process of doing something else that was actually done with a good intention. Every light side has a dark side…all of that.


I left STBX in order to make peace with myself, to get away from a negative situation. I did it for myself. But in the process, I hurt him. I wish there had been a way to do this without hurting him. But that wasn’t a realistic way it would play out. He probably could have gone on for years and years in this mediocre marriage because in many ways, it worked for him (financially, mostly, but also it was nice having someone there, doing half the work, being supportive, etc), and me saying I “just wanted out” of it and moving out a week later must have been kind of crushing.


Oh man, I just re-read some of this and I want to smack myself, because why should I care? Why let this bother me, at all? It sounds counterproductive and foolish to let emotions like this float to the surface. I’m doing well, right? Everyone’s telling me I am. So, OK. Now I have to believe it, for real. And feeling down over his broken heart isn’t going to help me believe I am OK. So I have to stop it. Now.  


[By the way, I wonder what the deal is with that metaphor-house, with birds getting inside and lizards hanging out at the door. Why is that home such an attractive trap for wildlife? Maybe that house needs to invest in some solid, strong screens. And possibly pest control service.]



9 responses »

  1. That’s not a metaphor I’m familliar with, so I won’t touch it..

    The rest, however, is, I still think, normal, and the next typical, predictable and reasonable stop on this journey. Sure, in a perfect world the ideal is to find that one great-and-true-mythical-perfect-meant-for-you-match. BUT I honestly believe that not every one of us gets to achieve/attain such. Sure it’s out there…but is it out there for all of us? If it is, it’s what we make of it, and let’s face it. REAL LIFE HAPPENS. BULLSHIT HAPPENS. PEOPLE ARE NOT PERFECT. Sure, we all have the best of intentions, we all learn what love is, what real love feels like etc… we all make those same vows (well, not me, I wrote our own and I deliberately left all of that traditional stuff out because I didn’t want it to come back and haunt/bite me if I didn’t stay married).

    People get hurt. People cause hurt. People become selfish or doormats, and then are either in it for themselves and their own personal gain, or become so selfless they no longer have the sense nor the will to save themselves.

    I really think you saved yourself.

    You DID give it your best shot.
    You have to trust the you that you were when you made the decision, 4 months in, to stay.
    And you have to trust the you that you were when you finally heeded the still, small voice weeping to “get out!”

    It’s ok to feel bad that someone else got hurt, but don’t forget YOU got hurt, too, and everything about marriage, from the decision to get hitched to the fighting, to the resolution or dissolution… TAKES TWO PEOPLE!

    You did not build this on your own, nor did you tear it down on your own.

    So, don’t sit around too long in the doubt/insecurity/regret puddle. You’re only going to continue to get wetter and more uncomfortable.

  2. Thank you for weighing in… you’re right, I can’t sit around feeling bad about this when it’s not going to help me in any way. I like your puddle analogy; way better than my stupid bird/lizard one. 🙂 And I do tend to forget, at times like this, how long it hurt for *me,* during all that time I did give him. Maybe I am forgetting how deep the hurt felt at the time because now I feel so much better. Whatever it is, I know it’s counterproductive and I know I’ll snap out of it.

    Well, maybe ‘snapping’ out of it is the wrong way to think of it. I know it’ll be more on the gradual side, just like this complete transformation of how I am living my life on my own has occurred. Writing it out like this helps me pinpoint what the issue might be at any given time. I just know today I am feeling “mehhh” when really, nothing is wrong and I don’t have a single issue on my mind that would be bringing me down. I guess it’s the masochist in me that, at times like this, has to go searching to FIND something to be upset at myself about. Yeeeesh. I gotta quit this.

  3. I think that it all has to surface and come out, whatever it is, and that it’s healthy to acknowledge all of it here, in a safe place, where people can put you back on track! 🙂

  4. You know what is best for you. And what was best for you in that situation was to get out. People change, times change, relationships change. This does not make you lazy. In fact, I would have called you lazy if you had stayed and suffered along every day because then you would have been too lazy to make your own happiness. The whole love/not love situation is a tough one because often familiarity and security can be misconstrewed as love. But that does not mean you never cared for him. So you feeling bad for making him hurt is natural. However, you did not do it on purpose. And if he was intune with your feelings at all he would see that you never meant to hurt him but that you were unhappy and you both together was never going to work. He is in the blaming stage right now. You are in a much more healthy place and are much better off in the long run because angst and hate hold you back.

    I don’t think any of that made sense, so I’m sorry. 😉

  5. Are you kidding, VP? That made perfect sense. I could hug you right now, I swear. 🙂 So just pretend I am huggin’ you right now. There. Ahh.

  6. I don’t think you’re a quitter at all. Loving someone is such an active process: it has to go hand in hand with respect and trust–I feel like if any one of those components are not there, it’s basically impossible for love to exist. You mentioned that your mum doesn’t want to see STBX anymore because he broke his promise he made to you when he proposed. I don’t know that it’s helpful at all to point fingers and say, “Well, he broke his promise first”, but such a breach certainly doesn’t foster respect or trust, and I think it’s only natural that the love has been slipping away over time.

    Again, I don’t want to make blanket statements, but in my own experience, it’s been that such people that manipulate in such a fashion are only projecting their own insecurities. It’s cliched, but I think the whole “you have to learn to love yourself because you can love others” bit is true–STBX has a lot of work to do in being OK with himself before that can happen. At a certain point, he’s going to have to stop blaming others for his own problems because his demons are driving away people that honestly care about him.

    I think he’s the lazy quitter in the relationship for not taking responsibility for himself, and I can’t tell you how wonderful I think it is that you have the strength and self-respect to free yourself from that dark place and make a better life for you. Would you like me to sing a Bette Midler song now? Coz I totally will.

  7. All I know is that when you were with STBX, even before things went really bad, you were very closed off to your friends and to us. You didn’t have a true smile on your face, and your body language was very tense, always. And I’m not exaggerating when I say ALWAYS.
    But now you are the happiest I’ve seen you in YEARS. You smile with your eyes now too, and you are relaxed and laughing a lot. You look better too, you seem so much brighter somehow.
    It doesn’t take a genious to see that you are finally doing what’s best for you. If he was best for you, you’d still be there. Just because you were best for him DOES NOT mean he is best for you!!
    You owe it to yourself to enjoy your life too, not just him. Sorry if he’s “in pain”, but he kinda deserves it in my opinion. Any relationship that does not enhance your life is not worth keeping.

  8. I just want to SHAKE YOU for thinking you deserve to be punished, even though I totally understand why you might be feeling that way. You did what’s healthiest for YOU and that in no way means that you didn’t take your vows seriously. It takes a strong person to walk away when (in some ways) it would be easier to stay and be unhappy.

  9. Yep, what VP said. You are an awesome woman and anybody who would look down upon you for making the best decisions for YOURSELF is an ass.

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