The Sad Reason It Took Me Four Tries To Leave My Husband

Photo: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock
sad wife with husband behind her

I wasn’t thinking about leaving; I was definitely leaving.

"It’s lonely being married to you," I said. "I dream about meeting someone who will really care about me one day."

This was a really nice way of saying, "I’m tired of being mistreated." 

I never married the man I dated for nearly six years. My college sweetheart was my adult nightmare. He completely changed. 

RELATED: 10 Brutally Honest Signs Your Marriage Is Flat-Out Over

I wish I had run.

I wish I hadn’t allowed him to talk me into staying. 

Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever feel the same way about him.

Technically, this was his second chance. I had left after eight years of marriage. I packed up our toddlers and moved in with my sister.

I’m shaking my head even now.

Why do we stay long after the close?

Why did I go against my better instincts?

I knew I needed to get out of this relationship. It’s why I left the first time.

Once we were married, our relationship manifested into an abusive cycle. Things would be great for months and then twice a year all hell would break loose.

I would cry for weeks and not little itty bitty tears.

But a ravenous emotional hurricane that left my eyes swollen shut.

I’m not stupid nor am I a doormat.

RELATED: 5 Signs A Marriage Cannot Be Saved (And You Should Stop Trying)

Obviously, a man shouldn’t make a woman cry. Let alone, for weeks on end until she finally surrenders and picks herself up, and moves on.

There would be no resolution, just months where he lay emotionally dormant until it occurred again.

It’s unbelievable but he never made me cry while we were dating.

It’s why I gave him a second chance the first time I left.

He was on his best behavior for six years. I’ll never completely know why. I felt like I had my best friend back.

When the pattern re-emerged I was not sticking around. I had never signed up for this man.

Why did I stay ten years longer?

He spent two years winning me back and I believed him.

But as my friend always says, "A leopard doesn’t change its spots."

I’m not alone. It’s not because I’m a woman. There are plenty of men who stay long past when they first thought to leave. But no one talks about it. We try and cover up our marital problems.

We hide them from the world.

We invest so much of ourselves doing so, we lose sight of the danger.

We ignore our instincts

We are smarter than this, not one of us but all of us. But relationships are hard to leave. No one warns us they get even more difficult to escape the longer we remain in unhealthy situations.

RELATED: The Guilt, Shame (And Eventual Courage) Of Leaving Your Spouse

I was strong when I left the first time.

I was devastated but I was young and feisty. No one was going to treat me this way.

I wouldn’t tolerate it. I deserved better and I knew it. I understood how emotionally abusive his behavior was.

I was strong when I left the second time.

It was two strikes and you’re out. I refused to revisit the unhealthy cycle our relationship revolved around the first eight years of our marriage.

I had broken the code. I had not married the guy I dated. No more chances. I was out.

I was not particularly strong when I left the third time.

I won’t sell myself short because I had the strength to leave. But I was severely diminished.

Ten years of marital angst had left a shell of a once vibrant being. My husband’s uncharacteristic drinking and new bad behavior had added an extra layer to our problems.

It had not only depleted me, but it had also changed me.

How long did it take you to leave?

Why doesn’t anyone warn us relationships are no different than ball games?

Or at least they should be.

But instead of three strikes, it should be two strikes and you’re out.

Outta there!

RELATED: 10 Simple Ways To Tell Your Marriage Is Over For Good

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse or violence, there are resources to get help. There are ways to go about asking for help as safely as possible.

For more information, resources, legal advice, and relevant links visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline. For anyone struggling with domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474 or log onto thehotline.org.

Colleen Sheehy Orme is a national relationship columnist, journalist, and former business columnist. She writes bout love, life, relationships, family, parenting, divorce, and narcissism.

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