How a divorce, an affair, drama, and chaos changed my life for the better.
I was MIA last weekend because we were celebrating The Bearded One’s birthday. We went out of town and enjoyed a weekend full of breweries, delicious food and tons of laughs. As we were out and enjoying ourselves, I found myself reflecting on just how lucky I am and how we got here.
Flashback to the summer of 2013 when I got engaged and married. A few months later, we got orders (former milspouse, yo) to head to Virginia in the spring of the following year. The move was crazy hard – I was leaving my family and everything I had known for all 26 years of my life. The marriage was comfortable, albeit lacking some things, but what relationship isn’t? We moved to VA and I had a hard time finding a job and spent about three months unemployed.
I finally got a job as a retail manager, at a store right down the road from our house. I worked crazy hours but enjoyed the people I worked with so it was manageable. I was especially grateful for my work friends since I had trouble getting close with a lot of the other milspouses. I was feeling very lonely a lot of the time and we weren’t connecting much at home. The hours and interactions with actual, real humans who enjoyed my company continued to not happen at home and continued to drive a wedge between my then-husband and I. He would spend most of his time at home in the garage or in front of the TV, and I was feeling starved for attention. We didn’t fight much, but we also didn’t talk much either.
Later that year, we attended a Christmas party for his job. I caught him in a lie that, however small, threw me over the edge since it involved his interaction with another woman. During that time, I had been connecting more with my coworkers as well, so we had a rift between us the size of the Grand Canyon and neither of us were making the effort to fix it.
Between December and the following spring, we went back and forth with fights, disappointments, talk of fixing things, followed by more disappointment. We were never on the same page about our efforts and that alone was a big indication of the future that could be. I continued to close off and fill my time with anything else. The months escalated into chaos then devastation then back to chaos. It was aggressive at times and became a really terrible situation.
We hadn’t slept in the same room since Christmas and the worst part for me was that I wasn’t telling anyone the whole story. I was pretending on the outside that it wasn’t happening. During that separation, I started developing feelings for someone else. I knew how dangerous that was. I knew it was a bad idea. But I did it anyway. It’s one of the few things I regret about the whole situation – the pain that action caused others. I technically had an affair. And although we were separated, I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, no matter how free it made me feel or how it was the only bright spot in my entire life at that time.
I feel incredible shame even now saying that word, “affair”. The relationship itself was wrong, absolutely. But it opened my eyes to the things I wanted in life. I wanted attention, affection, laughter and great times together that had nothing to do with video games, TV or someone’s car. I wanted to get out and explore life with someone. It was never supposed to be this someone, but it clearly showed me the things I had swept under the rug in my marriage and how they were much bigger things once other aspects were out of balance.
That summer, I took a trip to Mexico. By myself. I racked up a huge phone bill because of the accosting phone calls, the tearful arguments, and the hateful messages. It just wouldn’t stop. My family was in the loop now and the destruction of my marriage even strained my relationship with my dad for a while – one of the few other things I regret about the whole thing.
For the remainder of the trip, I turned off my phone and started waking up with the sunrises. I explored the town by myself. I ate lobster pizza and got to know some of the merchants along the street. I read books and journaled and napped outside.
During that trip, I realized some other things in my life had to go. I had to cut ties with the main distractions. I had to decide how I wanted to move forward.
I came home to pleading notes of apology and “let’s fix this” and I just couldn’t. We finally eased into better conversations and even spent time together to see if we could reconnect, but it wasn’t happening. All trust was gone. Terrible things were said. And done. There was no going back. And I realized that this wasn’t the person – or the life – I wanted to spend forever with.
I moved out, with much drama and “punishment”, shortly after returning from Mexico. The next few months were some of incredible chaos, poor decision-making, and misery. Every moment of my life felt like I was walking around in a fog. I constantly felt stoned, although I wasn’t. I drank a lot, but even during the day, when I struggled to get through work, I felt like a zombie.
My living situation during this time was need-based but turned into a “relationship” of sorts. A decision made out of confusion, desperation, and depression, a terribly unhealthy situation. We were never “together” but it was full of guilt and torment, sprinkled with the occasional nice night out. There were certainly positive things about that time, but for the most part, it was a fog of stress, anxiety, fights, and depression. For so many reasons.
I didn’t allow myself time to grieve or process things as my divorce was in full effect. I turned to another human instead of to myself. I was harassed and verbally assaulted by camps of people supporting both new and old relationships. I felt distant from my family and friends. It was an all-time low.
Flash forward a few months and I was offered an opportunity to open a new property with the same company in the fall of 2015. I jumped on it. I rented an apartment with a new coworker – his preference for men was a definite selling point haha (no drama for me!) and made some fun friends while experiencing a whole new version of life. I hung out with my friends, I spent time alone. I learned to love myself and my life again. The marital separation was still happening and was still sometimes dramatic, but mostly, life was improving steadily. I was still working to distance myself from the drama and the more I did that, the better life got.
During this time, I met The Bearded One. I thought he was super cute, but seemed aloof. We hung out a few times, and he was flirty. During one of those times, I said, “I’d never date you. You’re too young, and we have nothing in common.” LOL famous last words. In reality, I liked him, but I knew that I needed time to heal and that the drama cloud was still looming nearby. Even though I brushed him off as a date, he continued to be a good friend, an incredible listener, and always thoughtful and sweet.
Months later, my divorce was finalized, and I started interviewing for an incredible job a couple hours away-a chance at the longer-term life I wanted. I had grown to really care for The Bearded One and when I received an offer for the new job, I talked it through with him. He was so supportive and kind and it was such a gift to be treated like the priority in my own life. Once I knew I was leaving the company we both worked for, I let my guard down and we started spending more time together.
He took me on our first official date to the aquarium. He was silly and kind and always supportive of me being ME. I had about a month off between jobs, and we spent it going on adventures, napping, and having endless laughs and conversations.
He was, and still is, my biggest supporter. We made the distance work and now we share a home. He loved Little Dog just like I do and now LD prefers to cuddle him (rude lol). He brought Copper into my life and now we’re a two-dog home.
All of this-this beautiful, messy, perfect life we share….all of it happened because I F’d my life up
All of this-this beautiful, messy, perfect life we share….all of it happened because I “F’d my life up”. Because I walked away from shoulds and expectations and the “good girl” thing to do. Because I chose me and my feelings and how I wanted to feel and be treated long term. Because I blew shit up.
I regret the hurt I caused others. I made some bad choices. But I truly believe that all of it happened for a reason. I had to be married to move to VA and later had to go through the destruction of my marriage to understand what I really needed in my life. I had to get the retail job to meet the person who would introduce me to this much better job. I had to have the job to transfer to the other location, where I would get away from my crappy situation and later meet The Bearded One. It’s fascinating to me to see all the pieces that had to fall into place to create this beautiful life that I love so very much.
I have made peace with my decisions. I have asked for forgiveness of some people, but mainly of myself and from the universe. I had to “ruin” my life to be given the gift of the life I live now. I wouldn’t change a single bit of this life and the lessons I’ve learned on the journey.
This is by far the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m in the most supportive, loving, healthy relationship I’ve ever experienced and I’m so grateful for the path that led me here. I had to learn what I wouldn’t accept, what I needed, who I really was, who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go. What a beautiful gift to be given the tools to build your dream life and the ability to put them to good use. #Grateful