How It Really Feels To Be Divorced In Your 20s

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sad woman

Horrible. Absolutely horrible.

By Funny Nanny

You feel like a failure. You feel like it's the end of the world. You feel like you ruined everything, and your life is over.

You probably know your life is not over, but that doesn't help the feeling. You also know that you're blessed to get out while you still can, before there are kids and debts—but that will not make you feel better either.

It seems the world is becoming a better place to live. We are fighting for rights. We are accomplishing big things. People are traveling, exploring, developing. Learning and adjusting. Yes, we definitely have it easier than people 60 years ago, but that doesn't change how things are still perceived.

My situation, my life, my decisions have been a shock to many people, including myself.

Almost a year later and I still can't believe it's over. I can't believe I actually left him, after only a year-and-a-half of marriage. After a perfect wedding, after staying in this foreign country because of and for him, I left him.

Almost a year later, many people don't even know I'm divorced, because I am an embarrassment for my family. In my country, you stay. My now ex-husband even mockingly told me: "I thought you people never get divorced, you coward!"

Am I really a coward? Am I a failure?

I met him 3 years ago. I was still fresh, my English was not bad, but I was insecure and single for over 3 years at that point.

He was cute, with blonde hair and blue eyes. He made stupid jokes and made me feel special, like in American movies. My life was a fairy tale, and he took me on an 11-hour date. He kissed me and respected me.  We talked for months and couldn't be happier.

When time came for me to leave the country, we couldn’t imagine that. How could I leave? Why would I leave when we love each other? We got married soon after, and I moved in.

I tried being a good, Christian girl. So, we didn't live together before marriage. But that's where I made a mistake.

I didn't know then. I didn't suspect that he was not who I thought he was. When all of it was over, when he was fighting for his life and after I was gone, his family told me they thought I knew. They didn't want to say anything before, because we looked so happy.

He was not a bad man, but he wasn't good husband.

He wasn't nice. He wasn't respectful, and he wasn't kind.

He was like a piece of furniture I had to walk around. He was like one of the children I had to take care of. He was not there, yet I didn't see it then. He was (and still is) charming, and he always made me think it was me. He got me to go to therapy to work on my paranoia. He wanted me to be someone else, to look different, to be different, and I didn't get it. If I hadn't witnessed it, I still wouldn't get it.

Months later, I discovered he was abusing pills, he was an alcoholic and had no control over any of it anymore. I found out he didn't have little problem (like he told me before), but he was a hardcore addict. He met me days after leaving rehab and never continued the program.

Am I a coward for leaving an addict?

Things became so bad that I left. I tried. I cried. I went to AA meetings. I took him to the ER countless times. Then I left.

Now, I am fighting judgment. No one stops to ask what its like. How am I? People see I moved on. People see me happy, and they judge. They are angry and provocative.  They don't understand, and they don't ask.

I'm in my late 20s. I'm starting over. I can act like it never happened, but it did. It altered my behavior, and it taught me so much. It helped me grow and appreciate little things (like my new man brushing his teeth more than once a week).

I can't say I regret my marriage, but it hurts to be tricked, lied to, judged and mocked. It hurts to be alone and lonely.

It hurts getting divorced at any age, I'd imagine, and I am grateful I got out in- time. But I will not get the chance to be a bride again, to have that experience of pure happiness, pure love, pure joy and excitement. 

If I ever get engaged again, people will roll their eyes and maybe even refuse the wedding invitation.

I did it all already. What else is left to do? That hurts me. I am ashamed, scared and sad at times. I am not enjoying my life, and I'm constantly rethinking what I'll do. What can I do? How can I be smarter next time?

I still feel like I need closure. I didn’t let myself be hurt or sad. I needed to save him, and I needed to save myself. I didn't have time to accept the fact that I am 20-something and divorced, when my best friend never even had a serious relationship.

I need to be at peace with the fact that maybe I am a coward and that I should’ve stayed, enabled, saved, cried and worked for both of us. I should have been the wife I vowed to be. I broke my vow. I broke my promise. I need to learn to trust myself, to trust others, to have faith, and to forgive myself.

I know I will never forgive him.

Until he wakes up and his little bubble of enablers gets him to see what he did, I cannot forgive.

I was divorced after a year-and-a-half of marriage in a foreign country. Now, I'm learning, living, hoping, crying, getting up, and making it work.

That is what it's like to be divorced in your twenties.

This article was originally published at BlogHer. Reprinted with permission from the author.