So often when we talk about relationships and marriages failing we speak about the things that were said that hurt us. Cruel remarks and punishing words. We repeat them to our friends and sometimes, our families when we go through the play by play of our marriage’s destruction as if it’s not our lives really, but a movie we’re recounting.
We recall the time our ex’s called us stupid or something bad. When our ex said he or she hated us, didn’t love us, didn’t care if we didn’t love him or her, or announced the relationship over or responding to our announcement perhaps. We reenact the emotions, timber of voice and dramatic tensions when we detail our final intimate conversations with our ex. The narration of our marital demise becomes theater.
While there were indeed, many words that hurt–many words that I enacted and repeated in the playbook of my brain, it was often the things unsaid that hurt the most and that I recount in my own head.
I remember all the times he never said I was beautiful or attractive. I remember all the times he didn’t say, “I’m proud of you.” I remember vividly the times in which I didn’t hear I love you or didn’t here, “It will be okay.”
For the last two years of my marriage, I wasn’t really a wife. I was a ghost wife. It’s not that I didn’t exist but that I didn’t exist to him. Sometimes, I would say something to spark an interesting conversation or perhaps a sexual invitation and it seemed to go unheard. I wondered if I had just become a specter of myself and maybe it wasn’t that he didn’t care, but that he couldn’t physically see me I had become so transparent. Light as air.
The things never said were the ones that hurt the most. The words that held the most power. At least the angry, hurtful words meant he wasn’t ignoring me. I would rather someone smack me in the face than turn his back on me. He buried me. He metaphorically took me and dug me into the ground to never return again.
Sure, there were days and moments in which his coldness melted and he expressed love for me but when he did, I didn’t believe him anymore. Who was the person in front of me? I missed the old person. I missed the old me I was when we first met.
Over a year later, I don’t reenact our fights or spoken words anymore. This thespian has left her stage. And I don’t return to those unspoken words or wish they were said rather than unsaid. I am at peace with the end, accept it, and have moved on. I hope that one day I will meet someone who lets me shine and doesn’t bury me metaphorically in the ground until I am invisible again. I know I have allowed myself to heal and grieve, and so there’s a part of me that wants so much to have fun and bask in love and joy again. A huge part of me that knows I deserve to be happy and cherished. In my head I know I am worthy of respect, attention, and someone’s time.
But it’s these unspoken words from my heart that haunt me the most and open those old wounds: the fear that perhaps I was ignored because I am ignorable and unlovable. That I am not beautiful, smart, lovely, and good. That I am not someone to be proud about or share things with. That in the end, I am utterly flawed and impossible to love.
Getting divorced is half of the battle. The bigger battle? Divorcing yourself from the untrue and unkind beliefs that you failed and are a failure when really, you just simply lived. Even in fairy tales the princess and prince find obstacles. Divorce was just one of them for me. In the end, I will grow from this and hopefully the quiet inner monologue of self-doubt in my head will fade into the darkness.
Besides, I was always better at comedic acting anyway.
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