|Image by Victoria rt on Pixabay|
A decade ago, I made the decision to end my marriage. Increasingly, over the time we were together, he grew less kind and being in the relationship was destroying me as a person. Gaslighting was something that I only fully understood once a certain US President was in office, so I didn't have the words I needed at the time to describe what I was going through.
I tried asking him to be kinder on many occasions. He was dismissive and argumentative. Once my voice failed me, I wrote letters. He'd read them and dismiss my concerns.
It's not that there weren't good times. There absolutely were. But those happened less and less frequently.
As one might expect, I wasn't exactly in the mood to be intimate often given how I was usually feeling. To compound things, I hadn't realized I was gay yet and I wasn't over the miscarriage I had had the previous year.
By the time I chose to leave, we had tried counseling, which he gave up on quite quickly. I continued going for several sessions. My counselor worried he would become physically violent. It's an unfortunately common occurrence that a woman who tries to leave ends up dead. Thankfully, that didn't happen.
Prior to this, out of desperation, I had begun to treat him the way he had been treating me. That was a big part of why I sought counseling and why I ultimately ended it along with him having brought up the idea of divorce for the third time in the 6.5 years we were married. Throwing it back at him horrified me. It wasn't loving and I felt the kindest action was for both of us to be with different partners. It was healthier in other ways too as we were both drinking a lot in those days.
He never hit me, but there are many other ways to hurt someone deeply. People who had been through it themselves could see past the facade we had managed for so long. Some others, who couldn't fathom why we were ending, chose him and wrote me out of their lives.
I moved 4 times after that and it was only when the pandemic hit that I had the extra time I needed to properly heal. A lot of those moves were quick, so I didn't even have time to properly downsize my things.
I carried this around for far too long. In my opinion, we should have ended things sooner, but that's hindsight speaking. I was too broken to talk about this until now, so only a few very close friends knew the details. And there are more details, but I would rather leave it at this.
There are times I wish I had never been in a relationship with him, but I don't know who I would be if I hadn't. I may never have found my way to Ottawa and all the wonderful people I've met since that have come from living here.
A decade later, I truly hope he has found the happiness that wasn't possible with me.