Yesterday, I went into my attorney’s office to sign divorce papers. It was a complete out of body experience.
It was as if it wasn’t me doing it. Someone else was because I couldn’t possibly be the one getting divorced. We are only two years in. My marriage isn’t over. My husband doesn’t have a girlfriend. My husband is faithful to me. My husband solely loves me like he vowed those hundreds of days ago. We are soulmates. Soulmates don’t divorce.
But then I kept seeing my name smeared all over the paper in ink. Blue ink. Had to be blue ink they said.
I had to keep telling myself to be resilient, hold strong, don’t break down. I am certain many other wives have felt the same. You have to think, This is the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter if you love them or that you made a promise. He doesn’t want to be with you anymore. He doesn’t respect you enough to tell you the truth anymore. You need to respect yourself now. That you need to heal. That you deserve better. I know you want it, to keep trying, but you love a ghost. The person you love doesn’t exist. They are enjoying someone else’s company, they don’t want yours anymore. That giving them more and sacrificing more doesn’t mean they’ll come back. That he doesn’t want to come back so you need to take this next step and move forward. But you love him. Don’t do this, you don’t want this. But he is already gone.
All of this while staring down at that blue ink. Your eyes, cloudy as the tears form, but you keep your sunglasses on to pretend that you are fine. This is nothing. Like signing for a package or at the checkout counter.
But it isn’t. And when I walked out of the office, the world felt horrifically heavy. Like it was missing something. Like I was alone.
And as I watched the cars whiz by, the lights change from green, yellow, red, green, yellow, red, that the world continued on. It does that. It keeps going. It doesn’t wait for you. Unfortunately, you must keep moving with it. Somehow you string together those broken pieces of your heart and carry them. Drag them, push them, toss them over your shoulder, do whatever you have to in order to keep moving.
Yet, what nags at you in those silent moments, when the universe forces you to be still, is how they aren’t the only ones who broke a promise. The same vows you made at the alter are now void. You are breaking your promise. You have to. If you’re ever going to move on and share your tender heart with someone else, you have to let go of those ceremonious words that filled you up all those years ago. Exhale them out. Know that you meant them, that you wanted nothing but to keep them. But now you can’t.
I can’t promise that I won’t take up lots of room on the bed,
I can’t promise I’ll stop hitting you on the arm every time you let one rip,
I can’t promise I’ll stop pulling faces whenever you are trying to brush your teeth,
and I can’t promise to not get grumpy when I am desperate for food
I can promise to love you through quiet days and through chaos,
through welcomed laughter and inevitable loss.
I can promise to love you through every accomplishment and through ever fear,
through a river of wealth or through the toughest drought.
I promise to love you with every bone in my body,
every muscle and every joint, for you are the fibers that hold them all together
I promise to love you with every breath I take,
whether it be quick with youth or as it slowly fades as the seasons pass.
And I promise to love you with all of my heart,
with every beat until it beats no more.
I not only gain a future with you as my husband, but I get to enjoy the rest of my life with my best friend, my booger green, my loopy happy, my soulmate. I will always be here no matter what.
My vows. I broke them, too. No matter what — guess I couldn’t truly do that. I couldn’t stick around to wait and see if my husband would fall out of love with another girl and come back to me. To be faithful, not matter what, even if he wasn’t faithful to me.
And you see it in movies, where a couple splits up because one is cheating on the other, and then months later they realize they want to make it work, and it’s scripted as this painfully beautiful moment where they say it’s going to take a lot to bring that trust back but they are going to fight for it. They love each other.
It happens in real life. This scenario happens. So I think to myself, maybe I’m the one who isn’t being faithful? Maybe I should let him do this and see what he really wants. But then I’m reminded that our marriage isn’t 10 years, 15 years, 30 years in. We don’t have children or a mortgage or a completely encapsulated life together. It was 2 years. Just two. No matter what should not bring this kind of pain at two years, pain that is a choice.
No matter what stood for when times got hard with sickness or financial instability, not infidelity. No matter what stood for when we fought, and bickered, and had to make tough decisions together, not trying to understand why our phone bill is riddled with another woman’s number.
No matter what is the most precious, delicate, forgiving statement that we should never take advantage of. It is there for the dearest of times. And that is what I, and many others, need to remind ourselves. That love is not perfect, it will make mistakes, but it does not deceive willingly. It will strive to do what is right.
And, if I am being honest, a part of me still has this embedded hope that my husband will leave his new love and come back to me before a judge waves his magic gavel and pronounces us torn from one another permanently. It’s sentimental and torturous. Hope really does die last. She just sits with you, lurking in the shadows of your chest. She makes you feel like the little kid who was just told Santa isn’t real and yet waits with cookies and milk Christmas Eve, praying that it isn’t true.
Perhaps I believe in miracles. Or perhaps I am just believing in something that isn’t real. The fairytale love I once thought we had, was just that. A fairytale.
Love, B. R. Wren