How I knew when I'd hit the end of the road in my first marriage.
Every relationship has it ups and downs and “bumps in the road”. So, how do you know if it’s a bump, or the end of the road for you?
I don’t know what it is that signifies a bump vs the end of the road for everyone, but I can tell you what it was for me in my first marriage.
When I married my first husband, Dan, I thought, this is it. This is the beginning of the rest of my life. I’ve found the person who I’m going to be with forever! Well, clearly that isn’t what happened or I wouldn’t be referring to him as “my first husband”. So what went wrong along the way? When did I know that what was happening to our relationship wasn’t just another bump in the road?
It’s easy to look back with the 20/20 vision of hindsight and say, yep, I should have seen it coming. But, it’s not so easy to see it when you’re living it. Things start out so innocent.
To start with, let’s just say that I got married for all the wrong reasons. We were young (18 when we married) and I was pregnant. Yep, I’m one of those. I was taught at an early age that you had to take responsibility for your behavior. If you got pregnant, you got married. That was all there was too it.
If I told you I didn’t love Dan, that wouldn’t be true. I really thought I loved him and we had a great future in front of us, in spite of that little bump in the road called pregnancy. Sure, it wasn’t the ideal way to start a marriage, but we could work through it. Right?
I was thrilled, scared, and excited about the possibility of becoming a parent. So thrilled, that I didn’t notice how Dan was reacting to all this change. Here we were, fresh out of high school and he had this enormous burden of not just supporting himself, but he also was going to have to provide for his wife and child.
You see, Dan had grown up with a stay at home Mom and a working Step-father. His view of marriage and children was that it was the husbands duty to provide. If we hit a “rough patch” then I could take in a few kids to babysit for extra income.
Whoa! Say what??? That’s NOT who I was raised to be! I was raised in a family where both parents worked to provide the best for the family and for each other. My entire life I was taught that working was a source of both income, and self worth. For as long as I could remember, my mother had a job, and social life, outside the home.
I’m not discounting women who stay home, raise their kids and babysit on the side (if they choose). Not at all! I have tremendous respect for anyone that does that. It’s just not me. Nor is it who I wanted to be. I think it’s good if people can recognize that and be true to who they are.
The first two years of our marriage, I worked various jobs here and there. I started working for a small company with Dan. After our son was born, I waited tables for a while, followed by a series of manufacturing jobs. I was fortunate in those early years that my Mother-in-law was more than happy to babysit our little boy.
Things were going along and I thought we were happy. Keep Reading...
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