I'm Trapped In My Marriage B/C My Husband's Too Afraid To Divorce Me

Photo: Courtesy of the author
trapped in marriage

As long as he hides, my freedom from him remains uncertain.

As of December 6, 2016, I will have been married three years. Not too shabby, right? I mean, three years is pretty good, I guess. Technically, we should still be in our honeymoon phase. But we're not. Because we're not together anymore.

When I found out last fall that my husband cheated on me with a woman 28 years his junior, I sent him a pile of sh*t, as one does when they're totally blindsided. I was back in New York City at the time and he was in Paris. We had been separated for about two months, or at least I think we were separated, as I hadn't heard from since the end of the summer.

At that time, over the phone, my husband told me that he was thinking maybe we should get a divorce. That was the last time I heard from him. Until the night I realized he had cheated and confronted him.

At that point, I knew  or rather, assumed  that my divorce was just around the corner. So I did what any woman who wants to celebrate her impending freedom from a lazy, unemployed, deadbeat, and I threw myself a divorce party on the anniversary of our wedding day. At The Plaza. In New York City, again, as one does.

From the penthouse terrace, surrounded by my closest friends that night, we celebrated the new chapter in my life, without uttering his name even once. We were all dressed to the nines, drinking champagne, and racing around the two-story penthouse suite adorned in chandeliers, tufted couches, and everything you'd expect to have in a penthouse at The Plaza, like kids in a candy store. We were happy; I was very happy.

That was a year ago. I'm still legally married.

When I first found out about the cheating, my gut reaction was to not let him divorce me. Did he really think he could waste my time and drain my savings account, then move on to a homewrecker just as clueless as him? F*ck no. But after my party at The Plaza, I had a change of heart.

I didn't want to be tied to him, legally or otherwise, anymore. I wanted him to be not just a memory, but a completely forgotten piece of my life. I wanted to close the book on the whole experience — and then I wanted to light that book on fire.

So, through my father, as neither my husband nor I could be civil in emails to each other, we started talking divorce. At first, it was a matter of money on his end. As I said, he was (and still is) unemployed. (Unless we're considering one night a week doing covers at a cabaret in Paris employment. I, personally, do not.)

For months we bickered via my father. For months, my father pleaded with him to get at least a part-time job to pay for his half of the divorce. It wasn't that I couldn't afford the whole divorce, but it was a matter of principle. I'd be damned if I would pay for the whole thing after what he did. I'd be damned if I was going to let him get off scot-free like he had during our short-lived marriage when he spent most of his days napping while I worked upwards of 10- or 11-hour days.

But again, I had a change of heart. In the name of self-preservation, I came to terms with the fact that I would have to pay for the entire divorce if I wanted to be free. And man, oh man, did I want to be free of him.

At the suggestion of my attorney, my father reached out to my husband...well, estranged husband, and told him the news that I was willing to pay for it all. But a response never came. It's been almost three months now and there is still no response. No return emails, no return text messages, no return phone calls. Why? Because he's a coward.

It's amazing what we perceive in the beginning of relationships when we're wearing those god awful rose-tinted glasses and are unable to see clearly. He was not the sweet, daydreaming, hopeless romantic I believed him to be. He was, and is, a weak, scared little boy who, at almost 50 years of age, is nowhere in life because of these qualities; qualities I failed to see because of rose-tinted glasses.

So here I am, just past my third wedding anniversary and I'm still married. I am, for lack of a more poetic word, trapped in a marriage. I can't get divorced without his signature, an address to send the paperwork, or him at least giving the most minimal effort in all of this. I can't be free until he's able to grow some ovaries, woman-up, and face the reality of the situation.

He's been given the easy way out on this one  he doesn't have to pay, but still, he cowers under his blanket of irresponsibility, fear, and weakness.

I hope a year from now, as my fourth wedding anniversary approaches, I will finally be divorced. I hope this more than anything else. But as long as he hides, my freedom from him remains uncertain. It's embarrassing to carry around the weight of your past, especially a past that you wish you never had.

Oscar Wilde, one of my favorite writers, wrote in De Profundis, “To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.” I used to agree with this sentiment 100 time over, but no more.

My experiences with my estranged husband I want to deny and if it means betraying my soul, then so be it. He doesn't get to occupy a single millimeter in my soul. I'd chip my soul to bits before I'd let a single memory or proof that I ever knew him reside there.