Break Up Stories

Send Them Away With Love

Time tells many stories, with multiple scenarios, but only one outcome for this hopeless romantic.

I could never get enough of her. The way she filled my soul with positivity, the way she smelled after cuddling all night, that look she got when she caught me staring at her in a daze of love, even the way she argued… I never felt more comfortable with myself, than when I was with her. She baked with such passion that every bite had you begging for more, even when you were about to burst.

I was and still am in love, but unfortunately when you start noticing too many red flags, there’s a time to gather the memories and save the love for yourself, whether it’s your decision or not.

For a few months, her and I individually knew the expiration date was upon us and fast approaching. Small arguments here and there became more and more prevalent, yet we stayed together. Why? Quite a few reasons, but mostly…

We were still deeply in love with our best friend.

We tried communicating our fears, hopes, expectations, annoyances, etc etc, but one thing was missing… Effort. She asked me to listen more intently. Not a shameful request. Her feelings and ideas were important, not just to her, but also to me. I loved hearing about her day at work, her memories of high school and friends, her troublesome past, and everything else in between and around the corner, but she needed to be heard for the moment as well.

I’ll admit, when she first brought this to my attention, I wanted to make it right by just flipping a switch and being that better listener, but I didn’t understand how to fix this, since I didn’t understand how I wasn’t listening. The second and third times she pointed out my flaw, I began to feel attacked, because how could I listen any more intently without literally writing every single word down; which I had been doing – writing notes. The fourth time, I simply argued back, “This is who I am, take it or leave it”, but that’s not how I truly felt.

I wholeheartedly wanted to make this right for her, make her feel 100% appreciated and adored, because that’s how I felt towards her. She was my idol, my partner, my “Otter-half”. She deserved to feel secure about her man’s love. It wasn’t about the gifts, surprises, or abundance of time together… It was about the quality of each passing moment; I see that now, with perfect hindsight.

The lesson I truly needed to figure out was, “listening to understand, rather than listening to respond”, but I’m not there yet.

It’s not fair to her to make her be patient and wait. She deserved to be embraced fully and i missed pieces. Admittedly, I’m upset with myself for failing on such a wonderful woman, but these lessons were the consolation prize to take and share with the next chapter of my life.

Do I wish for her happiness? Daily.
Do I dream of her? Nightly.
Do I want to make things work with her? Yes and no. She’s a fierce friend. Someone you can trust your life with and she completely trusts you. Yet, her and I just don’t have the same life goals.
Do I hope to meet someone exactly like her? Absolutely! She taught me a way of thinking and seeing the world in such a positive way, and I’ll forget to be grateful.

We hope to be close friends once again, given a little distance, but until then I will do what my Mom used to always say, “Send them love and send them away”. I will always love her for being the right woman at the right time, for all the right reasons, but not my end all be all; as much as it hurts to say.

– Hopeless Romantic, 31

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Divorce Stories

I remember every moment that made me fall in love with the man who one day would destroy my ease to love freely.

I met the man of my dreams when I was 20 years old, working at Ameristar as a barista. He was the epitome of tall, dark(tan) and handsome. It was love at first sight. He worked there too, at the steak house, as a server. I was a young girl, barely old enough to know better. Turns out the man of my dreams was 10 years older than me, previously married, and separated, not even divorced. But I didn’t care, I loved him. I remember the day he asked me for my number, I remember the day the girl who worked as a hostess and a sub-barista, told me he called me his girl. I remember every moment that made me fall in love with the man who one day would rip my heart out.

From the first time we hung out, until that final day that he left, we were inseparable. I moved in with him almost immediately. We were like kids, in love and didn’t care about anything or anyone else. He was fired from his job, and so I quit mine. We decided it was us against the world. He was wrongfully terminated so he was granted one year of income, I was not so lucky.

We had decided during one drunken night that I would ‘dance’ with some of my other dancer friends at a popular strip club here. Little did I know I was not the right girl for that job and quit not long after starting. His best friend owned a party bus, all we cared about was the next show, the next concert or the next party. I should’ve packed my bags and ran then. How could any man that says they love a woman let them be a stripper and party every day when nothing good could come from it? A man, who is going through a divorce. A man who loved another woman the way he would never love you.

But being the young, naïve woman I was, I did it, I went along with it. We saw some amazing shows, I- I mean we had the time of our life. Until reality hit. One day I found out he was doing drugs, hard drugs. And I didn’t know how to stop him. I fought him on it, I tried to leave but always came back because I loved him so much. I thought we could conquer the world together. Until I found out that he had drug problems way before we met. I was so naïve to these drugs, I had no idea that I was fighting a fight I would never be able to win.

About a year into our relationship we went to Lake Powell with a bunch of friends and his grandfather. His grandfather was drunk and fell down the stairs and broke his back. No one knew what has exactly happened and grandpa never told anyone it was that bad. Once we got home Danny and I took grandpa to the doctor because we felt a lump on his spine. Turns out he broke his back and didn’t tell anyone- not one person. So the doctors told him that at his age (76) and he was starting to fall a lot that he should live with someone. He chose us.

The last thing, a 21-year-old wants to hear is that their 30-year-old boyfriend has a grandfather who is too old to take care of himself and is moving in. But that’s what happened. That day changed the rest of my life. Grandpa was Danny’s enabler. If you don’t know, you know now, that enablers are the worst people in an addict’s life. This only allowed Danny to be worse. You’ll understand more soon…

We moved out of our master bedroom, we had a 4 bedroom house, he kept in his divorce from his ex-wife, we paid her for it together over a period of 2 years. We made the basement our home, and the upstairs grandpas (it was bi-level) so he would be able to grow old there and not have to use stairs. We changed our entire life to help this man I didn’t know anything about, other than that Danny loved him so much, he was his best friend. I couldn’t say no, I had to support my husband, even if I knew it shouldn’t have ever happened.

Grandpa was a well-off man, he had multiple properties, and so when he moved in with us he was living in Blackhawk, CO and his other home in Arvada, CO. We decided to remodel them and rent them out, to cover grandpa’s medical bills. Did I mention I was 21, and that we both worked at AMERISTAR!? We had no idea what we were doing! I hardly lifted a hammer before this, let alone remodel a home. But there we were- gutting grandpas Blackhawk house because of a water leak. Let me tell you- this took three years. Three years of learning, three years of you-tube tutorials, three years of doing something and redoing it. Three years, until this house was finished. And I tell you what, those three years taught me everything I needed to know, I learned everything about building a house with my partner by my side.

It turned out that Danny felt different, I found out he was doing drugs again, from his friends.

One night there Danny lost his mind, and we had a huge altercation causing him to leave, and he chose to steal a car, and I chose to call the police on him- I convinced myself the only thing I could do was get someone to stop him before he killed himself. He was caught, on i25 and Hampden’s exit ramp after trying to speed through a stop light and he was in an accident. He was arrested and taken to jail, and grandpa, his partner in crime was sitting in the passenger seat the whole time and never tried to stop him.

I left-finally.

Grandpa called me and asked me to come back to help take care of him, thankfully he did because he got pneumonia. He and I discussed that Danny probably should find somewhere else to live, that he needed to change. But just when we decided that, Danny was let out of jail on a PR bond. Grandpa decided to change his mind and we were gonna help Danny, but he had to go to rehab. So there I was, back in the mess.

We met in May 2011 – His grandfather moved in July 2012 and Danny was in rehab in March 2013.

We had discussed marriage, he never proposed until the day before he admitted himself into rehab.

I’ll never forget that night, I was so mad at him. We had a 2006 Audi A4 and he made me drive us to Red Rocks in a snowstorm, at 8 or 9 at night. I didn’t know why, I can remember it so vividly, he made me pull up to the roundabout, where we always were on that party bus. He got out of the car, acting like he was checking the front bumper of the car and was telling me to come to look- I was pissed! I got out and he was playing our song at the time- motivation by Kelly Rowland. I got out of the car yelling something like, “what are you doing?!” and he’s down on one knee and takes out this gorgeous ring (he picked the perfect one).

At this point I can’t believe my eyes, after everything he put me through, after making me feel like nothing, he still wanted to be with me, I kept thinking, if my Danny is really in there behind all of his addiction problems, maybe we can really do this. Back to that night, now he is balling- and I start crying too and I said yes.

I wore that ring with pride, even when he admitted himself to rehab and wouldn’t let me see him or talk to me. I was in love, we had a great go, 2 years of fun, crazy, wild nights, years of working on that house together. We still weren’t done with it when he went to rehab. I was a stupid, stupid girl.

Three weeks into rehab he decides to talk to me. The drugs made him believe that I was trying to hurt him, kill him actually. Funny thing is all I ever tried to do was love that man.

Alright so here we are, April/May 2013 and my fiancé is home, my life is finally ‘normal’, he is going to classes for drug addiction, I went with him to every class, every court date, I held his hand a stood by his side even on his darkest days. He changed, he was my Danny again. I was in love. I was happy. He was an adrenaline rush kinda guy, always seeking his next thrill. We snowboarded, and snowmobiled, went to Mexico twice a year, went on cruises, went to Florida, went on road trips, camping and lake days. We owned a boat, motorcycle, snowmobiles, four-wheelers. We had two dogs, boxers.

We spent every day together, we owned our own business together, so we were free to do what we wanted. Grandpa was still living with us but getting older and harder to take care of. We hired caregivers for him. We were trying to have babies, we were happy and weren’t even trying to be, everything was perfect.

I’m not sure where the line between perfect and falling apart crossed again. In the winter of 2016 I had been in College, we went to Steamboat for my Spring break- we brought grandpa. There was a huge blizzard. Danny left in the middle of the night to take the snowmobiles into Rabbit Ears pass so we would be able t ride- that snowstorm was so bad. I was scared, snowmobiling is scary when it’s snowing that hard, and you can’t see anything! I chickened out and he was so mad at me, he left me there. He made me get out of the car and he just left me. In the middle of no-where, with no phone, no wallet in the middle of a snowstorm.

I just sat by the bathroom crying and embarrassed- unsure what to do, or if he was coming back. He came back hours later, with grandpa. I lost my shit. We had such a big fight that we drove back to Denver in this storm for 6-7 hours to get home, just to drop me off with my sister, he wouldn’t even let me go to our house.

I had decided that enough was enough, this was the end of it. He wouldn’t even let me take one of our FOUR cars, I had to purchase one so I could leave. I moved out, and changed my phone number, I took my dog and my stuff and left. Turns out he went to visit his family in Texas.

About 4 weeks later I had been up all night crying and writing an essay for my astronomy class when Danny called. My sister gave him my number. He said he was so upset and that he missed me and all that crap a man says to get you back. I was determined and said I couldn’t do it. He said then can you come to get grandpa because I can’t take care of him anymore (he was power of attorney and could give his rights up to me- back up power of attorney). I told him grandpa didn’t want to be with anyone besides him. I had no choice, I took that responsibility, so I had to make sure grandpa was taken care of. I went and picked up grandpa and took him home- Danny was living in a hotel for some reason- and Danny came back to talk to me.

For some dumb reason, I took him back, because he held my heart. He was my heart. Even after all of the bad shit he put me through, none of that outweighed all of the good, fun, crazy in love times we spent together. There was no way anyone could’ve told me different.

We decided to get married, “to prove to each other we wanted this.” On April 28, 2016, we went to the courthouse- not even dressed up- we didn’t say our vows- there was not anything special about it, we signed a piece of paper and were married. The saddest day of my life, next to the day he bought a one-way ticket outta here.

I knew that day the only reason I married him is because one day he would leave me. I knew one day he would break my heart again, but at least he couldn’t take everything we both worked so hard for.

A year later we went on a cruise and I cheated on my husband. With a firefighter. He embarrassed me, a drunken fool on our “honeymoon cruise”. We missed our flight there because he was so drunk they wouldn’t let him on the plane. I was a hysterical mess. We got another flight that next morning, and we landed in Fort Lauderdale right into a mass shooting. We were stuck on the plane for 12 hours. Still, I wasn’t mad, I made the best of it all. We were going to see my cousin and her boyfriend. I missed her. We got to the port, we were on the boat for two hours, and he was drunk.

This is when I figured out this man, that says he loves me, doesn’t. He was perfectly ok with making a fool out of me and him. He broke his shoulder falling drunk- he probably doesn’t even remember it.

I cheated on my husband. No one knows, well until now of course. I prided myself on being a faithful girlfriend, finance and then wife, and I ruined it. I knew from that moment things were never going to be the same. I knew it was over, it was only a matter of time.

On October 25, 2017 Danny was finally released from probation. I always knew that he would leave me after he got off- guess what, he did. November 2017 he left. He bought a one-way ticket to Texas and never looked back.

I was so mad at him, the night before he left, we had been fighting, I thought it was like every other time- need space. I told him to go to Texas, see his dad, come home and we will get marriage counseling. I had never slept on the couch before, and I was so angry with him that I did. Even though I knew he was leaving that Monday morning. I heard him walking around, I heard him leave, I heard that front door close and I didn’t get up, I didn’t chase after him and I didn’t tell him how much I Loved him.

I let him go.

The only text I got from him was that he left his truck (a brand new 2018 GMC) in the parking garage, where it was to be picked it up. It took me a day to go, I was gonna leave it to be towed but then that’s my money too. I took a lonely train ride to DIA to pick up that stupid truck. And I am sure glad I did. I went on a train, just another face- no extra attention- no one knew me or why I was there. No one to judge me, just strangers passing each other in the day.

That moment I let him go, I had to.

I didn’t hear from him for weeks. I tried to reach out to him, I called his family. He shut me out. Not one word of why. I know, I cheated, but as cowardly as that is, I also didn’t ever tell him, or anyone for that matter. So, here I am left with his grandfather, our three dogs, and our home and businesses, in the middle of college and trying to keep my life from doing a complete nosedive.

One day at school, he finally decides to call and try to talk to work things out, we decide to put grandpa in a home (he was in hospice and it was so hard to care for him at this point). I was going to move to Texas, I was willing to try anything because, after 7 years, it doesn’t matter what happens you still love someone.

We couldn’t even talk for an hour without fighting. A couple of days later I got a call from him, “I’m sure you know by now I am looking for a divorce lawyer and will be filing for divorce.” I had no idea. Slap in my face- so I found and hired an attorney and we filed for divorce in November 2017.

This story just gets messier. My life is like one long, dramatic movie.

I was doing homework one day when a friend asked me to dinner, he knew how unwell I was handling this all, I was drinking a lot, and not really eating. We went to dinner and I fell in love. We started talking/dating, and I knew I had feelings for him, so I let Danny know I had met someone, in December.

On January 10th, 2018 grandpa died. I received a call on my way home from work- from a family friend- not my soon to be ex-husband who I spent 6 years of my life caring for his grandfather. I was angry- I was hurt and finally pushed to my limit of hatred for a person.

How could someone just leave? How do you have no words- not one word- not one reason.

I couldn’t get Danny to talk to me on the phone until about mid-February- keep in mind our last conversation was November. And the only reason why was because now we were inheriting everything and had to split it all up. So now not only are we fighting about our divorce- grandpa is gone and we have to agree on everything to allocate our inheritance.

Some people say its lucky- that it all happened at once– I was living an actual life fucking disaster and couldn’t find my way out. What a way to rip everything from a person’s life in a matter of a month, my entire life as I had known it for 7 years, was over. And the only person that could fix it, wanted nothing to do with me.

My lawyer was the worst- she had the flu for two months- in the hospital, her representation was horrible. I was broke- I couldn’t afford any other attorney fees. I stuck it out and got nothing. He got everything. I got my inheritance, of course. Which he has done everything in his power to not give to me.

As of today, while I am writing this, a year and 7 days since grandpas passing and he still owes me parts of my inheritance, and I am going to have to sue him for it.

Our divorce finalized May 8th, 2018. This is how bad my lawyer was, I didn’t even know I was divorced, I had to contact them. May 25th, 2018 should’ve been our 7-year anniversary. Still no words from the man who I shared my world with for 7 years, he was my best friend. I thought I was his. I guess not, he remarried September 2018, to an illegal immigrant- oh man did that hurt. What hurt even worse was calling him days before said marriage and him asking me how we got here. I wish I knew how we got here because I would’ve never let that moment happen.

He used to call me sugar, that was one of my favorite names, I’ll never forget that. I wanted to name first my son after his father. But I never had the chance to. He left and left me, and our three dogs, he didn’t deserve to have a son with me, that’s why we never could, he didn’t deserve for me to love him the way I do, and always have.

He doesn’t deserve anything good, but I don’t wish ill upon him. I know that after 7 years it takes two people to ruin a marriage or relationship. I do not blame him, or myself, I blame moments in our relationship. I am not angry, but I will always be a bit broken – I asked my mom when this would stop hurting so bad, she said it never stops you only learn to live with the pain. And she was right, I carry that pain every damn day.

It’s unfair. I loved him so freely when he didn’t deserve it. Now I feel like I can’t love any other man the same way- because now I have to protect myself so I never feel pain like that again. Which is not fair- to me or my future- and I am working on being able to love freely again, it’s all I can do.

I hope my words are enlightening, and please don’t forget no matter how much one person can hurt you, that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

-Damaris, 28

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Divorce Stories

We were heading down different paths.

I met my ex-husband at an event we both attended in Dallas, TX and we started dating long distance. I lived in Salt Lake City, he lived in Denver, and the quick one hour flight made it easy to see each other at least every other weekend. I was in love! And he ticked all those little boxes that I had in my mind for my “perfect match.” You know, the perfect on paper guy that everyone else approves of and who will look amazing standing on that altar with you.  Awe the fairy tale.  I moved to Denver after we had dated for a year and a half and moved right in with him.

We got engaged at that same time. (I did insist if I was moving cities that I needed a grand gesture from him)

We had a year engagement and then got married. It was such a fun year!  All the planning and dress shopping it was everything I imagined.  I was completely swept up in the wedding planning phase.  But, looking back if I’m honest with myself things started to fizzle once we were living together. There were little habits and personal differences that started getting under my skin. But those were such small things I thought they didn’t matter.  (Spoiler alert it’s all those little things that matter the most)

Next, my ex-husband got an amazing offer to move to London for his job. The free bird that I am was 100% on board for this adventure from the get go. And moving to a new city, no biggie! We had a blast and traveled all over Europe together. We really were best friends! But the sex? Non-existent, and we had only been married for a year.

After about a year in London is when reality started to sink in. We were on completely different pages for where we wanted to go in life. He wanted babies and to create a happy little family. Which is awesome, but I didn’t. I had finally gotten the chance to individuate in London, away from my family and external influences and really discover who I was. I felt like a huge fraud and that I had tricked my ex into this relationship. Which isn’t true because I was representing my feelings as best I knew them at the time. But now I wanted more, I wanted something completely different.

The turning point for me was reading a book I had been given. The last chapter was called “A Different Way to Look at Relationships” and a question was asked, “Do you think it would be fun to be completely monogamous?”  Immediately I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach and my heart said a resounding NO. Then it asked “Would you like a series of relationships?”, “Would you like multiple relationships at the same time?”, “Would you like to be monogamous but open for certain instances?” My mind was blown, because I didn’t even know that these were options in life. I just thought there was this one path.

We decided to get divorced.

My friend said it best when she told me that it really is like a person dying.  The relationship has become its own entity and it died. It was the hardest most excruciating decision I have ever made. It consumed my life trying to get to that decision. Luckily I was learning about new tools to use to express dark emotions like rage, anger, and grief. I mourned intensely and got through some deep mud.

Looking back on everything I do not regret any of it one bit. I had to go through all of this to learn and to grow into the person I am today. I think that my ex feels the same. We are still on good terms and I truly want him to be happy and find exactly what he is looking for.

Now I have a very different view on marriage and relationships. I don’t really care so much about getting married but more about conscious connection and deep love and presence.

We were together 5 years total – 2.5 dating and 2.5 married. And that’s my side of the story.

– Stella Blake, 33

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Break Up Stories

Three girls, Three states, four broken hearts.

I had a troubled life from the very beginning. I didn’t care about anyone but myself. I was the epitome of ignorance is bliss.

I left my hometown of Los Angeles California to be with a girl in a different state. I met her online and immediately wanted to know her for who she really was. While I was still in California she had gotten into a serious accident and couldn’t call me for 2 days. Not a single text or update. She finally got back to me and it was then I realized I cared about her a lot. I decided to move over there and be with her, no money, no living situation set up till she offered her place to stay after she had talked to her father.

Fast-forward to my arrival. New places new beginnings. We get to her place and to my surprise her dad had no clue I was coming let alone staying with them. It was winter so he let me stay. We had a lot of fun for a few weeks but something seemed off. She would always tell me it was that time of the month and we couldn’t have sex.

We went out and we argued more and more every day. Seemed like nothing was going right. I asked her dad about her accident she had while I was in California he said what accident? She was lying to me the whole time. I broke up with her on December 30th 2 days before the biggest day of the year. (We NEVER had sex)

She still begged to be with me but I couldn’t do it. I bought a ticket to move to Idaho where I lived when I was a kid. My flight was for January 6th about a week left. Since I was stuck inside her house for another week we still hung out but I made sure she knew I wasn’t interested in her.

It’s now December 31st at about 8 or 9 pm at a pool hall that we frequented at most of our days. I see this girl playing pool. (We will call her girl 2) She was gorgeous. I tried to hang with my friends that knew her and sure enough about 20 minutes in I get girl 2’s name.

We hit it off right away. She asked me if I would drive her somewhere and I said yes. But another guy came in the middle and said he was taking her. I wasn’t going to argue over someone I just met and it’s a good way to keep her thinking and playing hard to get. I did not see her much for the rest of the night. The ball dropped and everyone had their new year’s kiss. Except for me and my x girlfriend.

The next day I came back to see if girl 2 would be back there. She showed up about an hour after I did. I met up with her and we talked. Eventually we got to the conversation about my lack of a new year’s kiss. She didn’t have one either so we decided we would be each other’s.

For those 4 days I kept trying to see her as much as possible. I ran to her house from the pool hall because my x wouldn’t let me borrow her car (understandable). I was risking being left on my own out in the cold just to see her. I’d drop my x off at work and drive to girl 2’s school just to hang with her for an hour or 2.

The last day I drove to her house one last time. She gave me a ring and I gave her my bracelet to promise each other we would see each other again. Little did we both know it would be 8 years till we saw each other again.

I got to Idaho and we continue talking and being so happy for 3 days. During those 3 days I was also talking to my first love from about 2 years ago, we will call her Girl 3. I kind of missed her. The 4th day I get a knock on the door and it’s the police. I was going to jail because of a warrant. No time to warn anyone. I basically fell off the face of the planet. Mind you, I found out my sister told the cops I was in town and where to find me.

In jail I had time to think and do my own contemplating. Do I go with this amazing girl that I just met that’s in a state I was in for a month and a half or do I go with what I know and go back to my first love? I went over it in my head a thousand times and decided I’d go with my first love. I didn’t want to risk a new relationship with someone I kind of knew for someone I spent so much time with in the past.

I got out of jail and I broke up with girl 2 to get back with the former love of my life, Girl 3. About a week goes by and my former first love stops replying to me completely when I finally realized she did this just to keep me from seeing girl 2. It worked and then I was alone, regretting my decision to leave girl 2. I tried to contact girl 2 about a month later but she had found a new boyfriend.

I kept thinking to myself I could have any girl I wanted and was invincible. I was wrong. 

-Rusty, 30

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Break Up Stories

He had another girlfriend while we were together for five years.

When I met him he told me he was often busy. So he essentially put us on a schedule. I was allowed to see him on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays. I was never allowed around his family. Anytime I saw him on the weekend I was only allowed a short amount of time with him. I wasn’t allowed to put on Facebook that we were together. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures with him.

Basically, we were Secret.

But he had me believe that he was just such a nice guy that just liked his privacy and liked having his own time so there was nothing to worry about.

But then one day one of his friends message me on Facebook and told me is that he was still dating this girl from high school. So I looked into it and tracked her down. She confirmed that they were still together and that he would see her on the weekends and twice during the week. She also would go to his dad’s house so that’s why I was never allowed at his dad’s house.

So it all came together and we both decided to dump him. Keep in mind he had been cheating on both of us for five years and neither of us knew anything. So we both left him and if he swore up and down that he didn’t love her he loved me but I called b*******.

So I started going out with friends and going to bars and I met someone new. I had been seen the new guy for about a week when my ex heard about it and came to the bar trying to win me back.

Somehow he sweet-talked his way back into my life. He changed for about a year. We now live together but I’m starting to see his old ways pop back up. Oh, I also accidentally left out the part where when I dumped him he crashed his brand new Camaro into a wall to try and get my attention. Probably shouldn’t have gone back to him. But for some reason, I can’t help it.

And looking back I always knew something was up but I didn’t want to believe it. Like, I caught him lying all the time and I made excuses for him. It got to the point where I would even lie to my friends and family for him because I didn’t want them to question him.

I always knew something was off I spent a lot of time hurt crying and upset about our relationship. But I couldn’t leave and I don’t know why. He’s a smooth talker and very manipulative. I never should have gone back but I did and now I’m in the same predicament I was in before.

-Anonymous, 25

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Divorce Stories

Divorced After 17 years of marriage, and happier.

My wife and I met in 1984, we married in 1986, and we separated in 2003. I was 41 and she was 32 when we got married. 

I honestly don’t know when our divorce was finalized, as it wasn’t a big deal. We had worked everything out by July 2003, so the divorce was a mere formality.

We did try marriage counseling, but it seemed that everything that went wrong was my fault. The counseling did not accomplish anything.

We had a number of different issues, including how we raised our children.

It also bothered me that she gained a great deal of weight and would not take steps to become healthier.

Eventually, there was no intimacy left in our relationship. It was at that point that I decided we needed to separate, although she hardly was averse to the idea. Our divorce was postponed primarily to allow time for financial benefits for her.

At this point, my wife and I have essentially no contact, and I would say that I have no feelings either positive or negative toward her. We are able to talk and to cooperate regarding the children but rarely is it necessary to do so.

-Lou, 73

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Divorce Stories

Married at 18 and Divorced by 21

So I married my high school sweetheart.

We met at 14 and dated all through high school.

He joined the navy.

We got married at 18 when he was at home on a break from boot camp/ a school before he was stationed at Coronado Island in San Diego.

He deployed while we were married for about 6 months then I joined him in San Diego at 19.

We started to deteriorate from there.

I eventually left him at 20 due to fighting, unhappiness and his aggressiveness. We had cops called on us at one point & covering bruises was a normal thing. I left and never really saw him again.

We separated at 20, official divorce at 21.

At 24 I saw him at a bar and after several drinks, I ended up going home with him, which was coincidentally his last day in SD.

He moved to Nebraska to be with another girl who already had a kid. They got knocked up like 2 months later with her never knowing I stayed with him the night he left.

After we divorced I stayed in SD, dated one of my best friends and traveled the world.

I also joke my marriage was the best mistake I ever made.

I’m now back in Colorado almost 25, single, bar manager at Tellers taproom and no regrets with how my life turned out.

-Anonymous, 25

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Divorce Stories

After 25 years of a horrible marriage, I love myself now.

First I was married for 25 yrs. Most of it was unhappy. The relationship started great…then it was up and down forever. We started out living together 6 months into the relationship we were pregnant. I loved him but wasn’t sure if he was the “one”.  I wanted the baby, though. So many things pointed to “not a good match” but HE decided he wanted to get married.

How did he propose? He threw the ring at me. He convinced me that I couldn’t raise the baby on my own. I loved Rick because he loved my family…he loved my mother and father…sex was good… but I was the provider. He had different jobs but never had one that he could grow with…We were raised differently.  

We were both Catholic and that helped me because I wanted someone who lived in our faith. There were good qualities but I was so sucked in…I just went with it. He didn’t abuse me physically but I felt mentally abused.

Eventually, we had two more children…I just thought…”this was my life.” I don’t regret any of my children, as they are outstanding human beings. They are my life. This life wasn’t easy. I struggled with my personal identity. I didn’t have any strength.  

Back to the relationship… So one day I caught him masturbating as he watched porn on our computers. My self-esteem couldn’t get any lower.  It wasn’t that he watched porn but he would masturbate after sex… Was I not good enough? I thought to myself, shit…I can suck the nails out of a board! WTF? I wanted to go all night sometimes but he was only able to perform once a night… I eventually lost interest in having sex…with him.  I felt unattractive. I started losing me! He told me he couldn’t help it and it wasn’t me…he learned it from his dad.

It wasn’t just the sex. It was also the lack of romance. When we dated he would leave me notes with a little flower…or any gesture of love but when we got married, he had to be coaxed or he would do it out of duty, husband duty.  I loved flowers…I would tell him that a gesture goes a long way. Again, I was made to feel I didn’t deserve it.

I had affairs. I tried to find someone who could find the beauty in me. I decided to look for a part-time job…to change things up. I worked full time and worked at an art gallery. It changed my life. It was great. I changed the way I dressed. No more frumpy clothes…not even to work out in. I felt good about myself. I was back!

Fast forward… I had the opportunity to retire. Rick told me, “just wait, you put in your years and then I’ll take care of the family”. Well, he took it back. I said, I can leave with benefits…he said, ” no you can’t”. I did and he couldn’t take care of the family. I ended up working my ass off again.

We saw marriage counselor after marriage counselor through the years. Nothing changed. We saw a priest and the priest said…this is not a marriage and Rick you need to take care of your wife. I needed that. It’s all I needed to hear because this whole time I thought I was wrong. I was brainwashed.

Rick had an addiction. An addiction to porn. I found 100’s of films and magazines are hidden in the garage. My children could have found them…I threw them away. He lost it. He got mad at me. That’s when I knew he had a problem.

The last straw… with a year he left a trail of his addiction. The first strike, the girls opened their computer and porn popped up, the second strike, their computer got a virus…the third strike… Mia sat down on a chair…there was something wet on it…it was semen! NASTY NASTY!!! His new job required him to travel. While he was on one of his trips, I took everything out of the apartment and left with Mia (the other two children were in college).

I still felt, “how am I going to do this”? I had money in stock…I worked all kinds of jobs…I hated myself for not leaving earlier. I hated myself for not feeling strong and independent.  

I looked for men to love me, to want me… I didn’t feel my independent self. She was lost years ago.

How did I get me back?

I asked for a divorce and he said he would never divorce me.  He was and still is a bitter man even though he is engaged.

I re-met a man, whom I had had a brief affair. He loved me through the relationships he had after we had broken up. He contacted me and we became friends…one thing led to another…and we’ve been together for 4 yrs. I still didn’t feel like myself though…I still wasn’t healed. I almost checked myself into a mental institution but a friend got wind of my illness and said, “come to Denver”.  

It was the first time I ever felt I had wings. I was scared. I had my teenage daughter with me and I had to fight and rely on myself…because we weren’t divorced he wasn’t giving me child support. I put it in God’s hands.

Today I am the woman I had always wanted to be. My soul is good. My heart is in heaven. I am strong. I am independent. I am happy. My boyfriend will be moving this summer.  

As for Rick? He asked me for a divorce…he had found a woman to love. It was on his terms. Did I seek a little revenge? Well, you know what they say about losing weight…blah blah…I feel and look great… he doesn’t (because he doesn’t take care of himself). His fiance is a mean person. His family does not approve because she has come between them. They hated me at first but now understand. We communicate for the children but I could care less about him…I do care about his family, perhaps more than he does.

I love myself now.

-Anonymous, 54

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Break Up Stories

An Irish Goodbye

Trigger Warning: self harm, drug use, heavy alcohol consumption, and suicide attempt is described in this piece.

Aside: the relationships described were nonmonogamous in nature, meaning that the people therein agreed that the people they loved were free to explore love with more than one person. Ideally…

She had blue eyes, dark brown hair, and a name as Irish as Shannon O’Connor, but I prefer to leave it out. Instead, I think it fitting to refer to her as Sally, as her favorite author was JD Salinger.

Sally worked as a barista at the same coffee shop as my ex (call him Ben), usually sharing shifts. I, being a total creep, spent entirely too much time hanging out with them while they were working, thus “incidentally” resulting in my being invited out after work with the rest of the staff. At this point in my life, I was the clingy, distrustful, but outwardly sane type. My insecurity, exacerbated by Ben foolishly allowing me to catch him sneaking around with several women he worked with, mixed with an enthusiasm for “getting an A+ in my first real open relationship,” eventually led us to an evening of dancing and publicly acceptable debauchery. And then the three of us ended up at her place with a bottle of whiskey and a pile of powder and no good ideas. One embarrassing attempt at a threesome and a lot of negotiation later, she and I decided to go on a date, just the two of us.

Initially, we both tried very hard to impress one another. She was a reader, capable of very deep feeling and with a horrible history of heartbreak. We enjoyed playfully scoffing at other people’s horrible taste in books. I was…I honestly don’t know what she saw in me at that point in my life, as I was Hell bent on self destruction through the most fun, manic means possible. I thought I was emotionally honest, but now I feel like a vampire. She told me of her struggles with mental illness, sharing her most precious books with me. Notes in the margins, bookmarked pages; she showed me her soul, warning me how delicate her heart was.

I had no idea how to handle it. I fell in love with her very quickly, but this immediately caused serious problems with Ben. Living together, I doubt my habit of returning home late from most activities made him feel terribly secure in the relationship or his trust in me. I wanted to dive into every moment with her, without concern for my other relationships. My nonprimary partners were not bothered by my new love, but the one I lived with was capable of making my emotional environment highly unstable, which he did. While probably not entirely on purpose, this behavior was likely a reaction to insecurity getting the better of both of us.

One morning, I came home from a date with her acting almost manic with dilated pupils. Ben suspected that we’d been doing drugs, but I’d only had two homemade Moscow Mules earlier in the evening with dinner and a cup of coffee in the morning. Knowing that Sally imbibed occasionally, Ben suspected the worst.

While I spent the day vomiting and sweating out whatever was in my system, he questioned her about any possible source of illegal chemical intoxicants which might have made it into my system without my knowledge. She was distraught, but admitted that she knew why I was so sick. She had apparently been engaged in a binge the week previous, and remembered she had hidden her drugs in the bottom of several of her cups, but didn’t remember which ones. After searching the cabinet, she found no cups containing illicit chemicals, and concluded that they must have been in one of the cups I’d used.

She’d poisoned me by accident.

Even though it was an accident, the trust between us was broken, and I did not feel the same toward her.

Suddenly, texts from her were cause for anxiety rather than giddiness. Working with Ben, there was no escaping the tension. Ben informed me that these feelings meant that I was not in love with her anymore, and that any action on my part was leading her on. This disgusted him, and he demanded that I be honest with everybody and break things off. My mind felt as if it were coated in tar, and I was unable to summon any emotion besides guilt. So I dodged hanging out with her for a few days, but tried to be textually supportive and present as I thought was my duty as a girlfriend. She happened to be experiencing some serious family unrest, necessitating her relocation, which was not affordable at the time.

Then she got fired. Ben told me the news when he came home from work, and shortly thereafter, she texted me and asked if she could come over. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I said yes, apologizing in advance for being distant and not talking much. We sat on opposite ends of the couch, silent for about 15 minutes. Ben was watching us from the kitchen, pretending to be cooking.

She turned to me, looking at the coffee table as if she could cut it in half with her gaze, “It’s over, isn’t it?”

My jaw dropped, and my face said it all before I could form the words, “I don’t know.”

It was.

She sat on the couch, keening, for what felt like hours. Ben rushed from the kitchen to hug her, looking worried, and held her as she cried. Between sobs, she drank whiskey she’d brought from home. Not knowing where to go, since it was my house, I sat there beside them and watched, wishing I were invisible. Rather, I wished I was anywhere else, and preferably somebody else. Ben walked her to the door, and returned to my side on the couch. How did I feel? I felt numb. He was proud of me, because that had seemed very hard. I supposed it was for the best.

She continued to text him as she drove home, and with my heart so heavy, I thought that this must also be best. After all, she was lacking in emotional support, and I had him. It was obvious that I would have to share. Within minutes of her leaving, it occurred to me that I had seen her drink a lot, and I panicked. Her texts did not help, and went from frantic to despondent. She narrowly avoided an intoxication checkpoint, and called Ben, begging him to pick her up and drive the rest of the way to her house. He assured her that she was smart enough to make it home by herself, and he was too tired to be a safer driver than she, anyway.

I overheard the conversation, and snapped. How could he say no to a cry for help like that? What kind of a person was he? I immediately dragged him into the car and set out to find her. I grabbed his phone, pretending very poorly to be him, hoping to find out where she was and save her from that mess. After searching for checkpoints between our house and hers, I sped to her apartment, parked illegally, and kicked in the fence in her building’s parking garage. After thoroughly twisting my ankle, I convinced Ben to come after me. I dragged him through the maze of homes, and proceeded to knock on her door in noisy staccato, for what amounted to more than a few minutes. I was determined to wake the neighbors.

A tiny voice came through the door. “I’m fine. Please go.”

“No you’re not. I’m not leaving.”

I began to dig in my purse for something to get through the door, but before I could find a hammer or credit card, she unlocked the door. I grabbed the handle and squeezed into the dark hallway as fast as I could. Immediately, I smelled blood.

Her forearm was covered in fresh cuts, and as she wiped away the tears from her eyes, she left a smear across her face. It was everywhere. I pointed toward the bathroom, and she led me to her sink, which was worse than the kitchen. I grabbed a towel and pressed it to her arm, “I’m so sorry, I know I’m not the person you need for this.” She wept, avoiding my eyes by staring at my hands and the towel, which was slowly turning red.

“I wouldn’t have done it. You didn’t have to come.”

“This is enough that I have to.”

After bandaging her, and cleaning up most of the blood from Sally and her apartment, Ben and I sat on her couch. She was weeping silently in his arms, and I sat a few feet away, waiting until sunrise. Ben drove me home, annoyed that I’d forced him into such an awkward situation. Once in bed, I remained there, smoking heavily, numbly wasting several days until the reefer was gone. Ben assured me that I would get over it if I just got out of bed. But it was my ex girlfriend, Jordyn, (who wasn’t Ben’s and my ex yet) who came to my house, pulled me out of bed, dragged me to hot yoga, then tacos, then a bar, and waited until I cried it out.

Polyamory shines when life is darkest, and if it weren’t for my nonprimary partners and close friends, I never would have escaped the obviously abusive relationship with Ben, six months later.

I got in touch with Sally, a year after I kicked Ben out. I still had her favorite book. It still had all of her notes. I felt horrible for the way I had left things, and was determined to return her treasure. We had dinner, and my crush on her returned. I tried to be a little physical with her, hoping that she felt something in return. After several occasions on which we should not have spent the night together, she turned away from me when I tried to kiss her. Nope. I couldn’t just be friends, so I stopped answering her texts. I was too confused to tell her that I wanted her back but didn’t know how it could ever work. She stopped communicating with me after about a month.

I still feel awful about that graceless and cold exit, and I miss her, but I firmly believe that that door must remain closed. Unlike the man who tries to save the scorpion and gets stung, I choose to accept that there is too much risk for harm, rather than hope our natures will change.

-Alex, 29

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Break Up Stories

Letting Go Can Sometimes Take a Decade or More

I met Hannah when I was 14. We were drunk at a friends house and ran out into an adjacent corn field and shared our first kiss under a full moon that blanketed the summer night in a pale glow. We were instantly in love, or at least I was. We spent the rest of the night making out- in the closet, on my friends bed grinding with our shirts off while my friend watched form the other side of the room. It was not the most romantic evening, but it lasted with me the rest of my teenage years.

It wasn’t until I was 18 that I would see her again. The friend that had introduced us brought her up to me one night. He was ignorant to the fact that I had tried to reconnect with her dozens of times over the years, sending her AOL instant messages to no response and trying to find any mutual friends that could convince her to respond. She was a dream to me, but she went to another school and I had lost hope of ever seeing her again. She had stopped corresponding with the friend that introduced us, so I was overjoyed when he brought her up again, except… it was just to tell me that she was a total slut. I was at once excited and distraught. I said “You just wait and see, I”m going to make her mine!”

He had also told me that she was an artist now and that was my angle. I looked up her AOL instant messenger name again and struck up a conversation with her., letting her know that I had just completed my first semester at an art school in Georgia. She was enthralled and a few days later I was at her door despite the fact she had a cold. We instantly bonded. She neglected to tell me she had a boyfriend, not that it would have stopped my eager attempts to get to know her. We spent the night talking, realizing how much we had in common. She showed me her artwork. It was impressive, almost as impressive as the way she talked. She had a magic to her, like some kind of angel I had seen in a vision.

Things progressed fast. A few nights later I almost fell to my death climbing into her second story window. We made love and she snuck me out of the house in the morning. A week later she asked me to promise to marry her. I did. A month later we had a mushroom fueled “marriage” at a New Years Eve party, overseen by a Catholic school girl. We consummated the bizarre ceremony by making love in a spare bedroom without a door. People from the party passed by and watched. I wrapped her in an American flag that had been pinned to the wall and we spent the night in a bliss I have known only a handful of times in my life.

I went back to school in Georgia, 15 hours south. We talked every night. We made plans to reveal our marriage to our families, although it never happened. We were devout in our personal faiths, a kind of neo-shamanism mixed with non denominational evangelical Christianity. It was a weird time.

It was made all the weirder by the fact that I was facing seven years in jail for multiple felonies I had charged against me from a party I had thrown after my senior year of high school. She was still in school and becoming more and more alienated from her social sphere. I was OK with the charges, as I was sure I would be let off with a couple years probation, well, that was what my lawyer told me. Things were going just fine until I got in trouble with the law and kicked out of school. I was sure that I would go to jail. I went home and fell into a deep depression that left me without a voice. I couldn’t speak. I was sure that my life was over, that I was going to jail, and my new wife would leave me. I stopped returning her phone calls. The last call she made to me was from her senior cruise, and she suggested we start seeing other people.

The next time I saw her was a few years later when I had followed her footsteps to an art school in Baltimore. I remember seeing her walk towards me in the hall. She glanced at me and it looked like she was looking at a ghost. So much of my life was wrapped up in trying to reconnect with her. I was seeing a woman named Laurel, but was never in love like I had been with Hannah. Not only did I follow her to a school that was far too expensive… after one lunch with her and learning that she was pursuing videography, I decided to do so as well. We ended up in a few of the same courses. She had guys falling all about her, and the night I went to her house to profess my love, she told me she was leaving school to go to the school I had been kicked out of in Georgia. She had just broken up with her nearly boyfriend and her neighbor told me it was a really bad time to try and start something. There was one night she spent at my house in a spare bedroom after we had all gone out dancing. I had to resist the urge to tell her then, which would have been very difficult to explain to my live in girlfriend. She moved and I tried to move on and make the best of my existing relationship.

It was ten years before I began to get over her. I had a ruptured appendix and was on heavy pain killers. I called her out of the blue and we talked for hours. Many things had changed. I was living in Colorado by now and she had moved to Georgia. She had a daughter by now from a guy that was out of the picture and she had just started a new, seedy job to pay the bills. She was writing a book about it and asked if I could keep a secret. It was more than I could handle. Eventually I tried in vain to profess my love for her again. She didn’t respond. She asked me to delete all messages and email, all drafts of her book, and told me it was best if we didn’t speak anymore. I did so, and it is probably for the best. It wasn’t until a few years later that I was able to put all these things in perspective and let go of her. Sometimes the best was to love someone is to let them go.

Last I knew, she married a lawyer near Atlanta and got a decent job and has been raising her daughter with him. I try not to think about her anymore.

-Anonymous, 33

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