I realised I no longer wanted to be married to my husband while having sex with him.
He was on top of me and his body just felt so heavy. For years, I’d shouldered his weight. Now I was literally being crushed by it.
With each thrust, he seemed to push me deeper into the mattress. As it was, our bed had a permanent indentation in the middle of it, thanks to him.
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Those days, my husband spent almost every waking hour on our bed. He was unemployed. He got up around noon, took an hour-long shower, then climbed right back in between the sheets.
He spent the rest of the afternoon and evening reading about conspiracy theories from the vantage point of our conjugal mattress. After we lost everything in the 2008 financial crisis, he also lost his mind.
He became convinced that chemtrails existed and that every school massacre was a hoax.
We were broke. He’d bankrupted me. I couldn’t even get an apartment on my own without someone else co-signing my lease.
My mother was dead. My relationship with my father was strained. I had no one to help me. How would I survive?
Part of me even still loved him. Despite how angry I was, I still wanted our marriage to work.
We had two children together. How would I support them if I left my husband?
I remembered the good times. When my mother got sick, my husband was there for me. He comforted me when she died.
When our financial situation was better, we travelled the world together. When we were home, we discussed politics. At least we used to.
Back before he went crazy, my husband always had something interesting to tell me.
Now he drove me nuts with this conspiracy rambling.
It wasn’t that the sex itself was so awful. It was that we had so many problems, I couldn’t feel close to him.
Because I couldn’t feel intimate with my husband, I couldn’t enjoy the sex. It felt like he was an alien on top of me. I no longer recognised him.
Ironically, I was the one who had encouraged sex. I’d hoped it would heal us.
Sex was only making things worse.
With each thrust, I felt myself being pushed deeper into the mattress, a shallow grave. Each pivoting of my husband’s pelvis displaced more figurative soil. He was burying me alive.
I felt the sheets against my naked skin folding around me, shroud-like. The sheets were one-thousand thread count when we first bought them, Egyptian cotton. The sheets had been luxurious new, purchased when we had money.
Now they were threadbare after being washed so many times. Sleeping on the sheets all these years, f**king on them, my husband laying on them for entire days, refusing to look for work, obsessing over one insane idea after another — the sheets had deteriorated just like our marriage.
Mamamia’s award-winning podcast The Split discusses navigating separation. Post continues after audio.
It occurred to me that my husband wasn’t just f**king me— he was f**king me over. He had been f**king me over for years.
He was the reason I couldn’t leave. He was dragging the kids and me down with him.
I had to divorce him, but the idea terrified me.
I turned my head to the side, catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror affixed to the inner door of an armoire that lay permanently on the carpeting of our bedroom.
The armoire door had been unhinged during our move to this rental. My husband said he’d re-assemble it. He never had.
The broken armoire door was a reminder of everything that was broken in our lives. As I stared at my reflection, studying how my belly splayed out at my sides, the extra skin jiggling with the motion of the sex, the realisation hit me hard and fast — as hard and fast as my husband’s thrusts.
I’d reached middle-age and would grow old with this man if I didn’t do something.
I would die with him if I didn’t make a move.
Yes, I knew I’d be lucky if I got anything in child support. I knew it would be challenging to figure out how to get an apartment on my own with my bad credit. I knew I’d encounter difficult times ahead if I divorced him.
But I also knew I couldn’t stay in this situation. Even still, it took me another year and a half until I finally worked up the courage to move out.
Still, I’ll always remember that night as the moment I realised I wanted to divorce my husband.
People in unhappy marriages often have a moment of clarity when they realise their marriage is officially over.
This was mine.
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