It takes two to be in a marriage. At least in my marriage. I know some people are cool with more. But this girl? It's two. And we had three. The circumstances around which ultimately ended the marriage. But still, I have this feeling that I failed. That I became a statistic. One of the 50% that fail. Though those aren't great odds anyway. But I feel like I failed. Like I wasn't wife enough or mother enough or partner enough. I wasn't enough of a friend, caregiver, partner, house manager, lover, etc. to make it work. To make him stay. So I failed. Yes. No. Maybe?
In the end I probably take too much responsibility for the divorce. (I know I do. My friends have made that VERY clear. Very.). I take responsibility because ultimately I was the one who said we were done. Granted, he had said it many times over the course of the months to the prostitot. But I was the only one trying to save it. And when I decided change promise #457 wasn't in the best interest of myself or my littles, I said enough. His actions? Sure. But ultimately I made the call. If I didn't we would be in the exact same place now as we were then. Him on his knees, crying and begging me to stay while texting her with his other hand.
Over the past four years I have learned there is a difference between wanting to be divorced and not wanting to be married. Four or so years ago when we reset to factory settings for the first time, I was in a different place. My rings were off, yes. I was betrayed, yes. As were my children. But I was willing. Oh so willing. On a beautiful drive with a forever friend, who took me away so I could think, I said - I want to stay married and try. I wasn't keen on my marriage but I knew I wasn't willing to divorce. You can be unhappy with the marriage and not want a divorce. I wanted to do the work and start again. So we did. Rings back on and off we went. Neither of us changed as much as we promised we would. And maybe, just maybe, I was never able to trust him the same way again. Or it was just that much more fragile and protected. So when it was broken it was well and truly shattered.
Fast forward some years. A sweet new baby, a tough season and we drifted apart. So normal with a new baby. Exacerbated by her early arrival and the challenges of a NICU baby and two kids at home. My head was down nursing every three hours and trying to manage the house and other kids. I didn't see the extent of the fragility. His head was down, too. Working and managing other things. Maybe he looked up at just the wrong time. When she passed into his line of vision as something more than what she had been. Who knows. And it doesn't really matter. It happened. Next.
In this phase of broken, rings came off again and we found a new therapist. One specializing in marital counseling and divorce mediation. I was willing and ready to try. I made the changes. Me, the house, the kids. All while trying to manage my post-partum depression and mental and emotional care. Then when it all went sideways, I shifted. I didn't want to be divorced. Still don't. Not a fan of this being part of my story. Of me not being able to make this work. Of this big fat F on my report card of life. But in a moment there was a shift. I didn't want to be divorced. But I no longer wanted to be married.
This was monumental and I still struggle with that inevitability. The sadness that comes from it. I still fight it emotionally. I do. My poor therapist. But not in a way that changes the ending. Well, to be fair, it ended 15 months ago when they resumed texting and hiding it. So maybe more accurately that it's not in a way that changes my ending. My divorce fund continues to grow. I ended my period of mourning and began my life of doing. I went on a date. Just...yeah. That happened. I move on. Slowly. Knowing, now, the sure difference between not wanting to stay married but not wanting to divorce. Having lived the options.
Did I make the final call? Yep. Sure did. Don't regret it. I know in my heart I tried as hard as I was willing and gave more chances than I had.
Did I fail? I don't think so. I wasn't perfect. Nobody is. But I kept my parts in the marriage. Maybe it's best to say the marriage failed and not any one person. That's nicer. Probably more true. But if I *had* to pick someone? Ahem, wasn't me. heh.