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.]