'I left the man I love to stay in my marriage. It's absolutely broken me.'

I met my husband when I was 24 and we fell madly in love. He was everything I needed and wanted at that time in my life. 

He was, stable, smart, kind and most of all soft-hearted. Coming from divorced parents and going through years of domestic violence, he was as the calm in the storm I needed.

We got married five years later and had a little boy a few years after that. My son had special need, required multiple surgeries and much care. We became co-parents and little more than that. We were just trying to survive the days.

We were exhausted and had no time for each other's mental health or wellbeing. My husband's idea of love was providing for us financially and keeping us safe. There were no conversations about my feelings or how I was coping, and I began to resent him.

Eventually I met a man. He was kind, caring, compassionate and most of all he really listened to me. I fell madly in love with him very, very quickly and every waking moment that I wasn’t thinking of my son I was thinking of him. 

Making love to him was like nothing I’d experienced before. He became the passionate, true love I needed. My husband was so disconnected he didn’t even notice. This went on for four years, before I reached a stage where I just couldn't continue anymore - it was destroying both of us. 

This man, my soulmate, decided to disconnect from me. He walked away. 

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I decided to stay in my marriage, not because I was in love with the man I married, but because I had to always be with my son. I didn’t completely like the way my husband parented, so I knew if I stayed I could always protect him and keep him safe. Make him feel loved and secure in his home. Something I never had. 

I didn’t want my son to ever fear being alone with his father, or think that his mother wasn't there for him. I made a choice. I chose my son and walked away from my happiness and soulmate. I chose to be a mum to my little boy and continue to protect him in the only way I know how. 

After four years of being with my best friend it was over. He decided to move forward with his life, as he should have. I wanted him to be happy; I was destroying him… so I let him go.

The days after were so dark, it was hard to see any light inside of myself. I wasn't just in emotional pain - it was physical, in my chest. 

I wanted to melt into the bed; I didn't want to function, be alive, feel. So I didn’t. I increased the dose of anti-depressants I was on, to numb myself even further. 


A friend once told me that at some point in life your smile changes. It goes from a big, cheeky smile, to a subtler, kinder smile. Once you have been broken hard enough, you never get that smile back. Once life breaks you, it breaks your smile forever, and then you live with your new smile. It’s still a smile. Your smile. Just a new one, with pain behind it now. It’s different. Not so sparkly, not so shiny. Just what it is.

It’s an unpopular decision to stay I know, especially in this new world of choosing your own happiness. However, this way I still get to make 100 per cent of the decisions around me son.

I decided what needs medically, what he eats, what play dates he goes on, what activities he participates in.

I still hold his hand and I'm there every day to protect him. 

I know along the way I’ve lost myself, my life with the man I let go, my heart. I will always love that man. He won’t talk to me. I understand why. Sometimes choosing your child and therefore your marriage comes at the highest price you can pay. Never feeling complete again.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

Feature Image: Getty.

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