Throwbacks: the end of my marriage

As part of my throwback series, one of my priorities was posting some of my ‘end of my marriage’ series from my old blog.

I will forewarn you: this is probably the most heart-wrenching writing I have ever done and re-reading each post and every single comment brought tears to my eyes. A lot of them. Not because I am still sad about being divorced, but because I am incredibly happy with where I am now in life in every way, and as my friend Jeannine wrote in one of her comments on my old blog: “I’m so sorry you had to be hurt to find your way to where you are now…I truly feel it was for the best.” Friend, that couldn’t have been more true then, and now.

The beginning of the end of my marriage ended in October 2008…here are some snippets from each of these posts…strung together to flow as well as I can (and if you’d like to read the full posts and don’t have the old blog URL, I will email it to you directly if you leave a comment here):

I asked him what was wrong, he didn’t answer. I asked him if he was ok. He didn’t answer. I asked him if he was stressed. He said yes. I asked him if it was work. He said he didn’t know. I asked him if it was his family and he said no. I asked him if it was me – fully expecting him to say ‘stop being stupid’ – and he said yes. I asked him what he meant. He said he didn’t know. He was facing away from me in bed, and curled up, and he refused to look at me. I shook him slightly and asked him to explain what he meant. By that point, my heart had sunk, my body was shaking, my knees were knocking and I was scared. This felt real, and scary, and the first inkling in my mind that something was definitely – perhaps permanently – wrong. And to think it could be us was so unfathomable to me at the time, that I was in utter shock.

Then he said it.

I’m not happy. Something is wrong with me. I think it’s us. I think I don’t want to be married anymore.


I was crying, shaking, bawling, but at the same time, I was angry. I didn’t understand, I thought he was jumping to conclusions. HOW COULD IT BE US?! It has never been us. So, HOW COULD IT BE US? After almost 9 years together and 2 years of marriage and never a fight between us.

How could it be us?


I was stunned.

He said it. “I want a divorce.”

And he was adamant.

I told him that I didn’t think it was us, I think if I wasn’t there, he would miss me and realize it’s not me. He was still adamant, but we agreed that I would move out for the week and live with my sister. No contact. No phone calls, no emails. That was a Monday night. I packed up a week’s worth of clothes. I was crying. I couldn’t see straight. I was numb. On my way out the door, I gave him a hug, and a kiss on the cheek, and I was bawling. I told him that I loved him. He told me he loved me too, but his eyes were a million miles away, and his face looked crushed. He knew was killing me from the inside out, but he was still doing it.

I drove to my sister’s house, bawling. I walked in the door, and she was in the kitchen. My brother in law was on the couch, and he just sat there and didn’t say a word (I think he was trying to respect my privacy, perhaps). I walked into the kitchen, looked at my sister and just broke down and cried. She held me, tighter than anyone has ever held me, and we both bawled, and cried, and cried some more. Despite how close we are, we never hug. Ever. But I couldn’t let go, I wanted to just hide in her arms and make it all go away. At that moment, I knew.

There was no turning back. My marriage was irretrievably broken. The pain I was feeling was irreversible. The saddest, hardest, most painful feeling I have ever felt. It literally felt as if my heart was breaking. In my mind, all I was thinking, over and over was, I’m 29 and I’m getting divorced. No, no, NO, this is not happening…what happened to my life? My perfect, wonderful life?


Wednesday morning. Two days after I left the house. The longest days of my life. Pete called me at work just after 9. I asked him how he was. He said he was fine. I said I missed him. He said he didn’t miss me, he felt a wave of relief, he was happy, and he didn’t need the rest of the week to decide.

It was me.

I was stunned.

…I got in the car, and was shaking, and started to cry. I called Jess (who was back in the office) and told her, and she was about to leave too and come with me, but I told her to stay, I needed to talk to Pete. At that point, I decided I had to tell my mom, really tell her. I had hinted at it in an earlier conversation, but did not nearly tell her the gravity of the situation. I cried all the way home, blurting everything out to her as I drove. I’m sure she didn’t really hear half of what I said, but I could feel her pain for me. And that made it even harder for me, because I knew she wanted to protect me, and take this away for me, and she couldn’t. She knew what I was about to go through would be life-altering, and all she could do was sit back, watch, and be as supportive as possible. It was hard for me, because I knew she was hurting for me, and for some reason, that was so hard for me.

I walked in the door to the house. It was silent. I felt like I’d been gone for weeks. I sat down, I cried again. I waited for Pete to come home and suddenly, I knew what I had to do.

I had to let him go.

Our marriage as we have ever known it is over. It’s broken, and it’s broken so quickly and so badly that there’s no turning back.

He didn’t know if this was the right decision, but it was the decision he had to make. And knowing there was no turning back was the decision he had to make. Little did I know that that decision would end up being more right for me than it was for him. I saw the confusion in his eyes, I saw the fear, and the worry (what if I am making a bad decision?) but he still made it.


Some might think I didn’t try hard enough to “win” him back, or “keep” him, or fight for my marriage. But I tried. I tried so hard. I suggested we rekindle, maybe it was just that. I tried to suggest counseling, he wouldn’t do it. I tried whatever I could…but he was unwavering. And because of that, because he was so willing to just GIVE UP, and walk away, I lost respect for him…if he couldn’t respect me, our marriage, or our life by TRYING, then he wasn’t the man I thought he was.

And I deserved better.

So, I made the decision not to try anymore to retain my marriage…because, no matter what, it would never be the same between us. Never. It was already too far gone, I was already too hurt, and he was already too far gone. I knew it was going to be a long road, but at the end of it all, I knew the one thing I wanted to retain, was our friendship.


The ‘atomic bomb’ of divorce affected so many around me, like an atomic bomb or a tsunami, a tidal wave of damage around me is how I felt the effects of divorce were. One of the most poignant and memorable moments from my divorce was the very last ‘real’ conversation I had with my Nonna (Italian for ‘grandma’) before her passing (little did I know, the day after this moment, she had a massive heart attack and within 5 months of multiple heart attacks and strokes, my beloved Nonna passed away, on May 20, 2009. I will never, ever forget this moment. I can still feel her arms around me and her hands holding mine…)

…my Nonna pulled me next to her, as she sat in her favorite chair, and looked at me, and could tell I was really sad. She held my hand, hugged me close and talked to me quietly. She said “nonna is always thinking about you, and praying for you. I love you, you are strong, you will be ok. I love you honey, and am always here for you.” And she gave me a kiss on the cheek, and let me cry, and just sat with me. And it was a really powerful moment for me, and I am so thankful God gave me that special time with her, its significance will never been forgotten.


Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.


Wow. Revisiting this series brings it all rushing back. One of the most difficult periods of my life, yet it feels like a lifetime ago. I never want to feel such pain again, but at the same time, I am grateful to have struggled through it and not only survived, but thrived. I wouldn’t be who or where I am now. I wouldn’t have the job I have. I wouldn’t have M in my life. I wouldn’t want my life any other way than right now. I am firmly planted right where I am meant to be.

Divorce, I truly believe, was meant to happen not TO me, but FOR me.

63 thoughts on “Throwbacks: the end of my marriage

  1. Wow. Amazing story, and brave of you to post it all here. How awful to be blindsided like that – you didn’t suspect a thing? Can you see now how it happened? It sounds like you guys were together since a young age – maybe he just wanted freedom? I can’t believe you guys never fought.

    Very glad you are where you are supposed to be now. Sometimes you need the bad to appreciate the good. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I figured it was a good way to give the Cliff’s Notes version of things that hadn’t read about it before. And yes, I was completely blindsided. We didn’t ever fight, I had no clue. I never really got a hard and fast reason, I think we simply because best friends, not lovers (really good roommates!) and I never saw it. In hindsight, I am thankful, of course, but I actually don’t think he ever got the closure he really needed, as I don’t know that he knows what compelled his decision. We were together from age 19 – 29, so yes, a lot of learning and living that got stunted, I think too (more for him, less for me).

  2. It makes me so sad that you had to go through such heartache. But it’s how you deal with the obstacles that define you. And you are obviously strong. You have taken this, learned from it, and are so much better off. Like that quote, that end was just a beginning

    1. Thank you Heather. You’re right, it does define, or redefine who I am now, and my life feels like it is truly a life I am living now, for ME, and I don’t think I ever did that before.

  3. I remember reading this then and crying. And here I am again reaching for tissue.

    The thing is, you just know when it’s too late. You can’t explain that to anyone and no one can explain it to you. It just feels like a door slammed in your face.

    So happy that this is a “past” post. 🙂

    1. You should have seen me last night when I was pulling this together. Bawling. It just brings it all back. I never want to be in that place emotionally again. And ya know what? Even if it were to happen again (or anything of that emotional caliber), I think I’d be much stronger to handle it. But you are so right, it does feel like a slammed door in the face. Absolutely.

  4. Jeannine was right, Jo. All for the happiness and love you have now, all worth it despite how emotionally traumatic it was. You know my story so I can totally relate. Crazy how we didn’t even know that there was the possibility* of being as happy as we are today. : ) Miss you, friend!

    1. It really was worth it, for you too, wasn’t it. How powerful it is now to look back and look at now and see the ridiculous differences…and the men we have both found as a result? amazing. miss you too!

  5. I am going to be sort-of nice because I don’t know Pete…but what a fucking coward (I’m colorful, I’m sorry). There also, for as heartfelt as this story is, something missing. Something I feel like that can’t come from you, maybe only Pete would know. You can’t turn your feelings off overnight like that. What’s that butt nugget up to these days? Do you know? Hopefully miserable in a bowl of Cheerios somewhere 🙂

    1. LOL! I LOVE your comment, that made me smile. Not because Pete and I aren’t friends now, because we are, but because I love how angry this made you. As I guess anyone from the outside looking in would. And I completely get it. I can’t explain why it didn’t bother me as much as maybe it should have. Yes, I was absolutely let down that he just walked away from 10 years, but if he was willing to do that, he doesn’t deserve me or what we had, our life together. I honestly don’t think he knows, to this day, what made him do it. He went into flight mode (6 months after our divorce, he admitted he made a mistake. So I will give him credit for that, even though it was clearly far, far too late). He lives 10 minutes from me. We get together now and again, or email to catch up. We are friends, as hard as that is to believe to so many.

  6. I read this before, and I have tears again. It is so powerfully moving and heart-wrenching. The thing is, you are right about realizing that if he didn’t want to try he wasn’t right for you. The big difference between your situation and mine (aside from me having kids) was that my marriage stayed together, DEAD, for another 11+ years. Contrasting those two together only proves that you were right in that thinking. Staying together for me didn’t make anything better. It was permanently over (in 1999) that moment D___ said he didn’t want to be married to me anymore. We never got past that. It is a fatal blow to the security and trust, and it was smart of you to see that and move on as you did.

    And look where you are now! Life is sweet.

    1. Aww. Glad it struck you in a way that is powerful because it is similar to your own experience. I’m sorry you lost those 11 years, but at the same time, you’ve learned a lot along the way, and even more so now. And you have something truly blossoming with S. Worth it, wasn’t it? Life IS sweet.

  7. Ok, I probably shouldn’t have read this while I’m sick, much more emotional than usual. But I sit here totally bawling – this post threw me right back into that painful time with you sis. It was heart-breaking for me to watch you endure such pain and hurt. A pain and hurt you did not deserve, did not ask for. Yet here you are today – stronger than you’ve ever been. Yet where is Pete? Has he grown? Changed? Evolved? Found the happiness, confidence, love that you have? I doubt it highly. His loss. Your gain. So very proud. xo

    1. Aww. No crying when you’re sick 😉 It threw me right back there too, sis. And ya know what? You, me, Jen – we are beyond closer than close now more than ever, and I am thankful for that. We’re a tight bond and we always will be.

  8. To read the different parts all pasted together here made me feel for you even more. You deserve your happiness now! Your past can only make you appreciate what you have now.

  9. I am sure this was hard to revisit. Occassionally I go back to the early days of my blog to read and its just so strange to me now. It all seems like a lifetime ago. I almost can’t fathom that having been my life.

    But for anyone who tell you that you didn’t fight hard enough…they have never seen what you did. “his eyes were a million miles away.” When that happens…they are already gone. It doesn’t matter how hard you fight or believe. That is when you simply have to walk away, as you did. I knew MX was gone but my pride made me fight and in the end it wasn’t good for either of us.

    1. I am glad you can’t fathom it being your life either. Amazing, isn’t it? I agree with you on the fighting for it – if there is only one person, fighting, it’s not a fight. It’s already a lost battle.

  10. whew. that took my breath away. i was the one who pulled the trigger with my ex, so my process was different. but so much of what you say is true.

    and for the record: you are 100% right that divorce is something that happens for us, no matter whether you’re the action-taker or the one who sustains the blow. when the smoke clears, what rises from the debris is you, somehow changed, forged stronger than ever.

    you’re one hell of a writer, my friend, in good times and bad.

    1. Thank you for the compliment on the writing, you’re very sweet. I find that when I have something to say that is very difficult or painful, it is very easy to write and write and write. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? And yes, divorce happened FOR me and it happened FOR you and your ex. It’s meant to happen, truly believe that.

  11. wow, baby, powerful stuff. teary but so powerful! I love your persevering spirit and your lovely victory over this past sadness. You are a much stronger young woman because of overcoming this, and I am so proud of you!
    love mom

    1. Thank you mom, I am glad you read this too. And I didn’t mean to make you teary either! I am proud of me too…and of all of the support from our family too. It was what I needed then, and now.

  12. I remember when I first read that post, it haunted me. You really have come such a long way and who knew you would end up so happy?

    I hope that this is a lesson for a lot of people with horrible breakups behind them. sometimes it seems so hopeless when you’re dealing with the hurt, but in the end, you realize you were limiting the “happy” in your life.

    1. Wow, really? That’s really touching. And it is a lesson to those going through terrible breakups…it’s hard to deal with the hurt and still try to remain happy. Sometimes impossible, but when you can get past the worst of it and move forward, that’s when it all starts to feel happy again, right?

  13. OK, this might seem totally weird, but I have to say it anyway. You know what I take from this? So much respect and even envy (yes envy) at your ability to have behaved so practically and with self-preservation in mind during this situation.

    I held on for dear life long after my self-respect had disappeared. I felt like ending my life. And you, you were upset and disappointed and understandably devastated but still kept a level head. You lost respect for him and refused to fight for less than you deserved. I wish I could have been like that.

    As sad as this is, I still see so much in it to commend you for.

    1. It doesn’t seem weird at all, Marisa. You definitely take away from this what my goal was – to show the way I protected myself in this was about self-preservation and not in holding on to something I know would never be the same. Sure, I could have kept trying but I wouldn’t respect myself after for doing that. It was very difficult and sad and I mourned the loss of a lot, but at the end of it all, I am so glad I did what I did. As for you? You only learn from your past and you know that you will never do that again. That’s just as important.

    1. Thanks Akirah, it was, every time I read it, I’m right back there. It was hard to remove the wall, to trust, to take words at face value, and not wonder if there was truth in it. That was one of my biggest struggles when dating. Are they saying what they mean? Or are they BSing me? It’s really hard and just takes time and the right person to help you take the wall down.

  14. as i sit here with tears in my eyes reading this, i have a lump in my throat and feel so much sadness for what you had to endure, but wow, to read where you are now…wow. i think its incredibly brave of you to share such deep, emotional expeirences with us.

    1. Aww…I’m sorry it made you tear up, but I guess, in a way, it’s hard not to. It was a very difficult time in my life, feels like a lifetime ago now. And thank you for calling me brave. I am actually very proud to share this with everyone that hasn’t read it before. Truly.

  15. This post is powerful, it brings back a lot of memories of when I called off my wedding. It was the most painful and agonising decision I’ve ever made but definitely the best decision and I’ve never once regretted it. Telling him that I didn’t want to marry him was quite possibly or as I could imagine like going to hell, I felt like I was in hell telling me, so painful. I tried to have many conversations in the months beforehand telling him we weren’t right and we shouldn’t get married ( he never listened, we didn’t communicate that was one of the big downfalls of our relationship amongst many others), lets not send out the wedding invitations etc etc.

    I think Pete set you free, look at your life now, it really seems amazing, you’ve met wonderful M, you’ve a supportive family and friends and a challenging job and great health. You deserve the best, they do say that through heartbreak and pain, comes great happiness.

    1. Wow, Susan, I had no idea you called off your wedding. That must have been extremely difficult, but I am glad that you made the right decision for you. It has to be equally as hard to pull that trigger. Pete did set me free, what a great way of putting it. And I love that saying…through heartbreak and pain, comes great happiness. Amen.

    1. Aww. Thank you very much! As I said to Naomi, I am actually really proud to share this story with those that haven’t read it before. I am proud of where I’ve come and where I am now. And I hope it helps anyone else struggling through this, that they can and they will get through it.

  16. Sad.ness. Yet inspiring! Thank you for re-posting. It was hard to read. But of course you are only better now for all of it. I know I didn’t go through a divorce, but I understand the walking away part. I fought for my relationship with the EX tooth and nail until the day I knew for sure it was over. I saw it in his eyes and the way he was acting. I let him walk away and stopped fighting. Sometimes you just know you’ll be hurting yourself even more if you don’t let go.

  17. It was painful for me to reread this so I can’t imagine how painful it must have been for you to revisit this post. I’m sorry for the pain. As good as things may be, I still wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy. Pain is necessary for growth but I still dont open my arms to it!

    One thought and though its not relevant, I wondered if your ex ever regretted his decision and if his reasons changed or evolved as time marched on. I have just wondered this about my own situation and when I come across others. Maybe its the lousy excuses they give for wanting out. Regardless of the lousy excuse, mine, too, had his mind made up by the time he told me (or I found the papers. He was too spineless to tell me. Jerk). I don’t think he ever looked back. Not that I was aware of anyway. How sad to throw away 20 years of marriage. Well, I, too, am very happy with where I am today. I have lots still to get in order, as our life was a financial mess, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. For that I am so glad! Best to you for a fabulous future!

    1. Pain is necessary for growth – you’re right. As for your question, yes, he did admit to me, about 6 months after our divorce that he made a mistake and shouldn’t have just up and run so quickly. He told me he missed me and what we had, and knows he may never find that again. He said he imagined it was too late…and told him that it was. Flat out. It was a touching yet hard conversation to have, all wrapped into one. But the fact that he apologized gave me the closure I needed and gave me a little bit of respect back to him. It had to take a lot to do that. And for him? He may regret that forever. I hope not. But I’m glad not to have to have the regret myself.

  18. All I can say is: I’m glad you’ve come out on top of this whole situation. Some people never recover and “thrive.”

    Secondly: I’d probably hire a hit man on Tim if he ever did that to me (which, he won’t, but, still). 🙂

    1. Thank you – I think I have. It is a hard thing to do, of course…and I love the hit man idea! But I am glad Tim is a respectable man and would never do that to you. XO.

  19. PS: I was going to say I was mad at you RE: where is booshy on the blogroll? And then I realized you weren’t on mine.

    Half of that “sitation” has been rectified. 🙂

    1. Yes you ARE on my blogroll – under life/fitness/dating (the blogroll at the top is for divorce-type blogs I read – sorry, you aren’t divorced, thankfully, so you don’t make that list 😉 ) – YAY I am glad to be on yours!!

  20. that takes me back too. One thing you said about hugging your sister. When my best friend found herself suddenly alone because her husband left her I went up to see her in SF and we had a few times where we hugged and we had never done that either despite being friends since we were 6. Hugging is so powerful and I’m glad someone was there for you like that. Geesh I’m crying now just thinking about it. So powerful. Thanks for your blog and your honesty. Amazing how even looking back and knowing it was the BETTER thing it is still painful to remember.

    1. Thank you Livvy for sharing your story too…hugging is powerful and isn’t it funny that sometimes there are people you are really close to that you never hug? I’m glad you ‘got’ what I meant about that part. It IS amazing to lok back now and know it was the better thing to do/have happen.

  21. What a heartfelt post! I have tears in my eyes reading it as your bloggy friend so I can’t imagine how hard it was for you to reread and then write from a current perspective. I admire how you’re able to look back and figure out why. Love the phrase that you ended your post with, too! xoxo

    1. Aw! Thank you so much. It was really hard to re-read, especially the comments. But it also felt SO awesome and vindicating at the same time. Ya know? XO!

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