Once upon a time, in another life, I had a vision for my marriage.
I would tell Joseph how I imagined our life in our old age. We’d have a house with a porch and we’d sit together in our rocking chairs in the evening.
Giving up something that doesn’t exist has been harder than giving up the spouse that does exist. The emotional investment makes me feel naïve. Was there ever a chance that when we retired, we’d still like each other?
My resentment and bitterness from a lifetime of our bad marriage would have killed my desire to spend evenings with him.
Watch: How I knew my relationship was over. Post continues below.
I blamed myself during the marriage. Not in an, "Oh goodness, if only I were a better wife" kind of way. More like, "If only I were stronger and could suck it up better". It was my fault I was hurt and angry because I shouldn’t have felt that way in the first place.
In so many ways I thought I had broken the cycle of my upbringing when I simply modernised it. I still internalised the rage and pain after the other person had long since moved past it.
The feeling like I didn’t have a right to ever be angry and definitely not to vocalise it.
As a kid, I needed parents who didn’t want me to be an emotionless, rule-following robot. As a wife, I needed someone open to hearing when I was upset; conversations where I brought up my hurt ended with me apologising after the tables turned on me.
In the final stretch of my marriage, I didn’t have the energy to fight anymore. I scheduled my crying time to skim the pain and anger from the surface before they boiled over (typically between 5pm and 6pm, while driving to get my children after work, Monday through Friday).