My kids’ dad and I got married when I was only 21, and he was 20 years old, in 2002. We had already known each other for 15 years at that point. We said our vows 3 days before our oldest son was born so that our family would be complete and whole. From my side of things, I didn’t do it because I was in love. I loved him, sure, and I was happy. But I didn’t think about how things would turn out down the road, in the long term – I surely didn’t think it through. I just wanted what I thought was best for us at the time.
Things were blissful for us for a couple of years, and our small, private wedding was right smack in the middle of our blissfulness. We were inseparable then. We made good decisions together. Mark worked hard to support his new wife and family, and I was thrilled to be able to stay home with my baby Andy. We made a good team. We had a nice home, a vehicle, and our needs met. It continued for a couple of years, and we both wanted Andy to have a brother or sister, so we decided to add to our family. I got pregnant, and that’s when things started to go down hill. Mark was great at first, but as the pregnancy hormones kicked in, and I began worrying about how I was going to juggle family life with 2 babies instead of 1, and I worried about Mark’s maturity vs my own, we started arguing more.
One day, when I was 6 months pregnant with our second son Evan, we got into an argument in which Mark said things I considered to be unforgivable. And that was it for me. I didn’t give him a second chance, and did a few awful things to hurt him right back. Obviously, all these years later I see how wrong it was. But I didn’t know then. He quit his jobs and I moved out. Mark and I didn’t talk for about 6 months. I started dating another man, and as soon as Evan was born I ended up pregnant again, with Cory. At that time, the guy I had been seeing left me, and Mark and I decided to try and work things out. He stayed with me until after Cory was born, and then we started fighting again.
And so this cycle continued for years. We would split, have other relationships, those would end, and we would try to get back together again. Every time we got back together we would promise each other we would do better. And every time we split, we promised we wouldn’t put each other through the bullshit again. I so desperately wanted to make it work. I took those vows seriously “for better or worse, til death do us part.” I wanted to try to fix it, I wanted to resolve our differences or at least learn to accept them. I wanted to try and get back to the place we were when we were first married, happy and functioning as a family. But every time I tried, I felt I was the only one putting forth true effort.
In October of 2012 Mark disappeared. He just left the state and didn’t say good-bye to the kids. He didn’t call, write or send messages through friends. Nothing. Honestly, I should have filed abandonment on his marriage and the kids, and it all could have been over and done with right then. But I didn’t. And when I finally did track him down 11 months later, he told me he was unhappy with this girl he was dating in Ohio, and wanted to come home to his family. We talked for about a week on the phone, and I thought maybe this would be the time it would work. He came home after being absent for 1 whole year. I was furious, but willing to work it out. It didn’t work, period. Within 1 week we were seriously fighting again. He was lying to me about talking to other women, and there was nothing honest about him any longer. And that was it for me.
Now, nearly 12 years after we were those blissful newlyweds, the divorce is filed and we are in the process of filling out all the forms and deciding on custody and other technicalities. I won’t go into details on all of that, because frankly its none of anyone’s business but ours. But filling out forms and discussing those technicalities with Mark last night hit me all over again. All the happy memories, then flashing to the bitterness and distance we share now. How could it be? How can something so seemingly good, become so dark and empty? Those vows mean everything to me. And it breaks my heart and crushes my spirit to know I didn’t live up to them the first time.
It makes me fear for my future. I am so very happy and blissful with Sean the majority of the time, even when we disagree. But I also was with Mark. Am I doomed to repeat the past, or is it going to be different this time? I know I am much more mature, and much more able to use better judgment and control my actions. I am more compassionate, and I most certainly think through consequences before acting. I can honestly say I have learned so very much from my past. But I don’t want to make the same mistakes, and I don’t want another failed marriage. When I take those vows, they are to be permanent. I just wish there was a guarantee. I’m scared.