My first marriage was a nine year exercise in co-dependence. Believe me, I don't say that lightly. We dove head first into a relationship built on controlling one another and indulging a neediness that knew no bounds. We should have known from day one that we were setting ourselves up for massive failure.
My first husband and I got married after being friends for years and dating for just three months. That’s right, three months. I was 10 days past my 21st birthday, he was only 20. I'd just gotten out of a relationship that ended with an explosive breakup that left me emotionally bruised, needy, and fragile. He'd just received a discharge from the military and left an epic ordeal behind in the Pacific Northwest, one that required his immediate departure from a very bad, very violent scene. We were damaged goods. Is It Better Or Worse To Marry Young?
Naturally, we latched onto each other. We decided we would create our own world, that we were all we needed. We fell into a vacuum, never staying apart for long and feeling like we were exquisitely connected. What could be more romantic than desperately needing each other and being together every day, every night?
I don’t know when that romance turned ugly. I know that after a while I felt claustrophobic and I didn’t know how to handle it. The rules of our marriage, decided upon in a semi-mutual manner, dictated that we weren’t allowed to spend the night apart. We spent every night together for nine years, even when we really didn’t want to. No overnight trips alone, no going to a friend’s house for the night to get away. Dating: Are Men Intimidated By Independent Women?
Distancing ourselves from fights was never allowed; the fights just had to continue, often until dawn, knock down, drag out, full-on emotional battles that never seemed to end. We forced the togetherness and closed in on each other tighter and tighter until we were both struggling to breathe. He would suspect me of cheating, or I would hear a rumor about him and another woman, and there we would be, screaming, throwing of household objects, restraining each other. I would try to leave, he wouldn’t let me. We would fight until the sun came up, never getting anywhere because neither one of us would budge, our voices getting weak and scratchy. Somehow, we'd reach peace for a short while before we would suddenly be at it again.