Before you read my story, please realize my intent. My intent is not to put my ex-husband on blast. My story is meant to let other women know that they are not alone. I recently had an incredible experience where I shared what I am facing. After the meeting, 21 women from all ages approached me and told me they had gone through a similar experience. It was then that I decided to create this website to be a support system for women who are still in the “mud.”
If you read my story, do me a FAVOR. Don’t just read this as a story. DO SOMETHING and take action. Or else, me sharing my story has gone to waste. 1) Please share this website so more hearts can be healed. 2) PLEASE use the website menu to find lists of books and other resources.
Note: This story was written while I was still married to my ex-husband. I chose to write it then because I wanted to capture the real emotions in my journey.
Once upon a time, I fell in love with the man of my dreams. We had the most romantic story. After our first week of dating, he sent me a Tiffany’s necklace and told me I was going to be his wife! He always opened the door for me—even if I was driving. He was Christian, handsome, buff, patient, honest, and intelligent–what more could I want? We talked on the phone for hours, we facetimed all the time, and we survived a 2,000 mile distance relationship. We had two weddings…one was an on-the-fly wedding where I picked him up from the airport in a wedding dress and we got married close to midnight. We were fun, adventurous, the world was our playground…and I honestly thought my husband was a gift from God.
Four months after we got married, my husband began to act differently. He started to show less interest in me physically and started to have extreme outbursts of anger. Because of my insecurities and not realizing my self-worth, I did not recognize that these were all symptoms of being in an emotionally abusive relationship. During some of our fights, he began to call me names. He began to swear at me, throw things near me, break things, hit walls, and he was intensely violent when angry–though he never directly hit me. He also became increasingly controlling. When we were out shopping, he would often ask what I was looking at and why. One time, he even physically prevented me from going somewhere in a store.
The day that changed everything: It had been a month since we celebrated our 1 year anniversary. That morning, I had made an appointment with a counselor because my husband was really starting to act disinterested–and I wanted to work on myself if the problem was with me. I told her what was going on, and she advised me to leave him and get help. She stated that I was in an abusive relationship. However, I refused to accept her advice. I was in denial; I wanted her to tell me how I could fix my marriage–not leave it. Little did I know, that her advice was right.
That evening, my husband left for work without saying goodbye. He always said goodbye before leaving for work. It was our thing. I was working at the community pool in our apartment complex and had told him to stop by before he left . It was literally a minute down the street. But, he didn’t come. I stared at my watch and cried. I had been looking forward to saying goodbye to him. Something was wrong. I knew it. But, what? For the first time in our entire marriage, I felt the need to check the phone bill. Looking back, I know it was God’s prompting. I had never reviewed our phone bill before.
I stared at the bill on the computer screen. No, this can’t be right. There must be some mistake. My heart was pounding so hard it felt like my chest was going to explode. Were all of these calls really made this morning and on his way to work? The whole time I was with the counselor desperately wanting advice on how to fix our marriage, he was on the phone. NOOOOOO! NO, NO, NO! I felt panicky; I felt like I couldn’t breathe. So, that’s why he didn’t say goodbye? I confronted my husband on the phone, “You called prostitutes? I can’t beli–” “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! It’s not what you think!” He yelled back. He hung up on me shortly after without an apology. My heart sank.
Upon further investigation, I learned that my husband had been calling prostitutes 6-7 times a day. In fact, he had been lying that he was at work–when he was actually with those women. I discovered it had been a sexual addiction that existed years before we got married. He had been brazen enough to make phone calls to other women while I was home with him. I couldn’t figure out how he had gotten all of this past me. Who was I really sharing the bed with? Who was this stranger I had married?
What devastated me the most is I saved my virginity and my first real kiss for my husband. And, I believe because of this, I was willing to make the marriage work with my “first love” at any cost–even if he wasn’t willing. This is what made me hang on for so long. But, in retrospect, there is nothing wrong with doing everything you can before calling it quits. In fact, you should ALWAYS exhaust every option before filing for divorce.
For the next two months, we tried reading books, sought professional counseling, and prayed. He claimed that he was trying his best to work on our marriage. However, my husband showed no true remorse or repentance–and made it very clear that things would not change. Even though I found all of the evidence I needed–I never received a full confession. During our last counseling session, he ran out of the room before it was over. That is when I knew things were taking a turn for the worst.
I cried many times on the bathroom floor for hours, wept on the phone with friends, and cried myself to sleep. I felt so alone. So, so alone…in a marriage. And, I kept everything a secret for months.
I finally decided to take a trip to see family and friends. I needed to get some space to think clearly about what to do. Before my trip, my husband told me that if I chose to stay in the marriage, not to expect change from him. Then, he gave me an ultimatum and said he wanted me to decide to leave or stay by the time I came back from seeing family. On the way to the airport, he told me that I would never be more important than his job.
The day I told him I wanted a divorce, he emptied out our bank account and left me with $70.00. I broke down when I found out I was dirt broke. I couldn’t believe that my man would break my heart and steal my money. Fortunately, I had a supportive family that immediately pitched in to help me get by during the next few weeks. I couldn’t believe he was the same man I gave up my career for, supported financially through medical school, and vowed to love ’til death do us part. Frantically, I booked an emergency flight for my brother and I to return to my apartment–I wasn’t sure what else my husband would do to my belongings or to me.
I arrived home and within a few days, I made arrangements to move out. The night before I left, I crawled into bed with my husband, put his arm around me and just wanted him to hold me so I felt alright. His arm was limp, but I just wanted to pretend for a few moments that everything was ok. I was about to move 2,000 miles away from the man I loved. The thought made me shudder. I wanted him to comfort me in my agony and pain…I knew it was the last time I would ever be this close to him. I laid there, wide awake.
Seeking comfort from the very person that hurt you seems ironic–but he was my lover, my best friend, MY HUSBAND. I cried. He was sleeping like a rock, unaffected, and oblivious to my tears.
On moving day, I told my husband that I still wanted to see if our marriage could work somehow. I knew I had to leave because things had gotten so toxic–but I didn’t want it to be permanent. I said, “I still believe in second chances.” In response, my husband told me that our marriage was “just a piece of paper.”
I dreaded that moment–saying goodbye. In my mind, I kept thinking of how I would say it, but there was no right way to do it. Saying goodbye to my husband was never supposed to happen. It was my worst nightmare.
It was dark outside. We had moved everything into the trailer attached to my little car, and everything was ready to go. He said a short goodbye to the puppy we had parented together, hugged my brother, and walked up to me. I opened my arms and held him as tight as I could, because I knew it may be the last time I saw his face. I didn’t want to let go. My arms were around him, my hands grabbing his neck tightly, and tears streamed down my face as I said, “Take care of yourself, ok? I am going to miss you so much. I love you.” And, he told me that he loved me too–and he gave me a kiss. A kiss that stung because it was a goodbye-forever kiss. A kiss that was both sweet and painful. I got in the car only to get back out. I ran to my husband one more time and held him. My heart was aching. I said, “I can’t believe I may never see you again. I am going to miss you so much,” My face was wet with tears once again. His last words were, “You are doing the right thing. I am sorry that I am not your happy ending.”
Ever since I left, I have been pursuing my husband for reconciliation. I attempted to meet with him several times, but he refused to see me. I learned that my husband quickly got himself a mistress–which explains why he did not want to see me. It was heartbreaking, and I allowed myself to be hurt all over again over the news. I even took her picture and placed it beside mine to see who was prettier. Can you believe I bought into the lie of comparison? I allowed the Enemy to make me believe that somehow this new woman had something to give him that I didn’t! I also began to get upset at her for being in a relationship with my husband, but then I realized that she probably is innocent and has no clue that the man she is dating is a seasoned liar.
To the outside world, my husband is a perfect gentleman. He has a successful career, is highly educated, and is charming in every way. He is wonderful with children, stops for homeless people, and displays a genuine sense of care for the community. To most, he is known for being well spoken, caring, and lighthearted. He also professes to be a very strong Christian and often brings God into conversations. It seems that I am the only person that has ever seen what my husband is really like behind closed doors. Unfortunately, the trap of sexual sin and deceit does not discriminate between persons. It is very easy to fall into temptation when we keep a life full of secrets.
I was told by one of his family members that I should just “drop” the fact that he was seeing prostitutes and move on. I attempted to prove that I was telling the truth and even was willing to show them evidence. However, most of his family and friends turned their back on me. Friends and family that I thought would stand by our marriage and encourage us to fight for it, failed. It has been sad to lose not only a husband, but all of the relationships that I gained through him.
Losing your husband’s affection and love is such a shock. It’s like a punch that knocks you down and makes you dizzy when you get back up. It feels like you can’t breathe…and if you do, you are going to die. It feels like your world is ending and you can never recover. It feels like if he is gone, then why do I exist anymore? It is almost worse than him dying because that would be easier to accept. But how do you deal with seeing your husband so happy with someone else–and feeling like you wasted so much time and love on one person? What was the point after all? Can I get a refund for my wedding dress–actually how about for the two wedding dresses for both our weddings?
For all the women who have been in my shoes, you know that doing little things you never had to do when your husband was around now reminds you of his absence. You begin to remember your husband when you suddenly find yourself: carrying luggage down the stairs on your own, clipping your dog’s toenails, fixing something, reaching something that you would have had your husband get from the top shelf, opening your own door, snuggling on the couch alone, missing that goodnight kiss before bed, going to a restaurant and hearing “table for 1,” and wishing you had someone to call after work named “Babe, Baby, Honey, Dear, Love….Handsome.”
And that is why I am sharing my story…if not for advice–then for comfort. Comfort to tell you that I am in this mud with you…and you and I–we will get through….survive and dare I say…THRIVE. We are women. Strong, creative, passionate…and our kind is what holds and gives birth to new life both physically and spiritually. We give men their strength, the gentle touch they need after a long day, comfort, a listening ear with a tender heart, love, passion, and that is why we can’t lose who we are because of men that mistreat us. Because, without a woman—marriage can’t work. We are important and vital. And, we need to stop blaming ourselves for being unattractive when our men walk away.
If you are severely depressed, I have been there. I was struggling with depression, heartache, brokenness, shame, guilt, embarrassment, confusion, anger–and emotions that can’t even be named. But you know what started to free me of the shame? Breaking the secret. Letting the cat out of the bag and not letting the enemy keep my shame locked up. It sounds ironic but it is true.
The longer you keep what is happening to you a secret, the less help you will get, the less prayer you will receive, and the shame will begin to build and build until it seems almost unbearable to live. I have driven my car and wished someone would just crash into me…I have looked out my window and wanted to jump….but you know what I realized? I WANT TO LIVE. Because I was Jen before I met him. And I am STILL Jen now. And I WAS SOMEBODY before I met him, and I AM SOMEBODY NOW.
If you are facing divorce: Don’t mix your ex-spouse up with everything good. Just because he is gone…doesn’t mean that everything good left with him. You have goodness in you…and if you think that you can’t possibly move on without him….that is a lie from the pit of hell.
You may think that your fairy tale was ruined by failure. Let me tell you now, that your fairy tale hasn’t come to an end. Because in God, fairy tales NEVER END.
Your story, as broken as it looks, can still end with healing and freedom. That, my friends, is a real fairy tale! It doesn’t have to stay broken forever–in fact, I KNOW it will become the most beautiful story. God is a God of redemption, and if we let him heal our pain–he never lets anything go to waste.
In Christ’s Love,
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