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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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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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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Best Friends to Marriage to Divorce

When I was 15 years old, I met my future ex-husband. We became friends in high school and for over 5 years, he always playfully accused me of friend-zoning him. Eventually, I realized that I did have feelings for my best friend and we started to date. After a couple months, he decided that he was going to join the army so he dumped me and left for basic training. When he got back from basic training, he decided that he wanted to be with me again and so we began to date once more.

After a few months, I found out that he was getting stationed across the country so he asked me to marry him.

I said yes.

A few weeks after we got engaged, he called me crying on the phone because he had made out with one of his friends. She used to write to him while he was at basic training. He came over and collapsed on his knees in front of me, begging for forgiveness. I forgave him. A few months later, we ended up getting married and we moved to North Carolina together.

The first couple of months of marriage were blissful, as they should be. By the third month, I started to suspect that there were other things going on behind my back. So, I snooped on his computer and found out that he had been video chatting with a girl that he was in love with years ago. They continued to flirt and video chat, and I found a message saying that she had stripteased for him on the camera the night before our wedding.

I was so angry that I ended up trashing our entire apartment. I told him that I was divorcing him and that I wanted to go back home, but once again, he fell on his knees begging for forgiveness, and I forgave him. Another year went by, but nothing was the same. I never trusted him, I was always assuming that he was cheating on me, and I couldn’t get past his past transgressions. Eventually, he sat me down and asked for a divorce because he couldn’t handle how bitchy I was all the time. I tried to explain to him that I had a good reason for not trusting him but he said it was all my fault and that I should have trusted him since he apologized.

We eventually agreed that divorce was the best option. Unfortunately, we had to live together for another six months since he was still stationed. I found out that he was still talking to the girl that gave him a striptease over Skype, and that he had been emotionally cheating on me with her since before we got married. I discovered many conversations between them where he constantly told her how much she loved her and wanted to be with her, and how much he missed her.

He eventually got himself purposely kicked out of the Army by failing his physical test, so the army sent us back to Colorado. I had to live with him and his dad for two months until I could find my own place to live. He used to bring the girl over that he had emotionally cheated on me with. It was incredibly painful seeing that this man that I had devoted my life to, would rather be with a drug-addicted child. I had to tell myself constantly that even though I was in pain, it wasn’t worth being with somebody that wasn’t going to treat me the way that I deserved.

My ex and I were only married for a year and two months. The six months following our separation was probably the hardest six months of my life. I felt like a failure because my ex had told me that the reason he cheated on me was that he wasn’t attracted to me anymore. I had gained some weight after we had gotten married and he said it was my fault for getting fat. He had a hard time performing well in bed and after we split up, I blamed myself for not being able to please him. Looking back a few years later, I now know that his behavior was not my fault and never was and never will be. He had behavioral and sexual issues that were not my fault, and I cannot continue to blame myself for the way that he acted. I am now with a man who cherishes me and treats me like a queen and I will never look back.

At the moment, divorce can feel like the end of the world. But you will survive and will make it through, regardless of what your brain tells you. There were moments where I wanted to rip my hair out, slam my fist into the wall and scream and cry until my throat bled, but I made it through and that is all that matters.

– Mia, 26

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We were never really head over heels, just practical

We were high school sweethearts and he was my first serious relationship. We were friends initially and he kept asking me out until I finally agreed. We hardly ever fought. He was a great guy, very intelligent.

After about 9 years we got married because it seemed to make sense financially.

We were never really the head over heels type. Our relationship was very practical. I was never super attracted to him on a superficial level. People would comment that oftentimes we just seemed more like roommates and for a lot of that, that seemed true.

He had graduated law school and started working a high-stress job which affected him at home. He became depressed and wasn’t interested in doing much besides sitting around watching TV and eating.

I started going out more, hiking, engaging in hobbies. And it was becoming more and more clear that our paths were diverging.

It did take a while to realize it though, after 12 years of being in a comfortable relationship with someone, it’s hard to know when it should end.

We ended amicably. There were tears, but there was no being vindictive or trying to destroy each other. There were no major assets kids involved so legally speaking, everything was a piece of cake.

It can be much more obvious that you need to leave when the relationship is bad or your partner is abusive, but it can be very hard to know if you should leave when you are in something that is mediocre.

I’m in a relationship now that has everything that was missing from before and am much happier. Sometimes I feel guilty about the divorce, but ultimately, I know it was the right thing for me.

It can be much more obvious that you need to leave when the relationship is bad or your partner is abusive, but it can be very hard to know if you should leave when you are in something that is mediocre.

– Anonymous, 32

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