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Switch to Forum Live View This is a long story....
5 years ago  ::  Mar 08, 2009 - 3:24PM #1
Duafe
Posts: 20
My mind has been very tumultuous lately. Even now, I wrote down all of my talking points for this thread, then I considered not posting at all, and now I'm back to wanting to post. It seems that indecision is just my nature. I'm pretty sure it contributes to all the problems I have today.
Well, I guess I'll start at the beginning. My name is Tiffany. I'm 23 years old and I live in Los Angeles. Like many people, I grew up in an abusive home. My father wasn't an alcoholic, but he was physically and emotionally abusive nonetheless. I know he tried his best to be a dad, but his dad was also abusive and he just emulated what he saw growing up. Me and my younger sibs would get "punished" often. We are all still pretty scarred by it. To this day I wish my mom had just had the guts and resources to leave him early on. That would have spared us all a lot of pain.
I've always had depression and emotional issues, but I had always been a strong christian, especially through my teen years. I wasn't interested so  much in boys and dating as I was in Jesus and growing closer to God. I was in church more often than my parents were. I chose to go to college at a Baptist University. It was the happiest year of my life. I made so many friends and spent a whole year having fun and building on my spiritual life. At the end of that year I even went on a missions trip to Japan for three weeks.
When I returned from Japan, that's when my life started unraveling. It was during summer break. I remember I was on the computer one day, when my father suddenly started yelling at my teenage brother for some reason and started trying to push him over the banister of the upstairs hallway. My dad was actually pushing my brother into the banister, trying to break it so he would fall. I was terrified. I ran over to my dad and tried to pull him away from my brother. I was screaming and crying. My mom ran out of her room and began screaming at my dad. That argument ended with my father storming out of the house and slamming the door behind. He never did come back.
At the time, I had been "dating" a man I'd met over the internet. He was a west African science student living in Europe, and because of all this confusion, I started to rely on him heavily for emotional support. He would talk about getting married a lot. At first I refused, since we hadn't really known each other for long, but he was convinced that God sent me to him, since he had prayed for a girl who was a virgin and in college. I prayed about it and concluded that it might be the best thing to do, so that he could come to the U.S and we could be together. So I agreed to marry him. Eight months after we met, he applied for a visa and came to California and we announced our engagement. We were married a few months later. Looking back, I realize I should have been wiser considering the circumstances. But a lot was going on...my dad left, my mom got sick and ended up in the hospital, I got kicked out of my college because of my grades, my sister ran away from home...it was hard to think clearly during that time.
After we were married, we had no place to live, so we were staying with my mom. We weren't able to keep our house, so we had to move into a smaller apartment. That first year was hell. My youngest sister was also living with my mom and she was acting out with all her might. My mom was also dating a man who she later found was cheating on her and had wives in other states. Also Marcus was unable to work because he hadn't been approved to work in the U.S yet. So i was working and was unable to return to school right away. There was a lot of pressure and stress on me.
About this time, I lost my faith in God altogether. I think that life just got too hard for me, and the thing I depended on most, my faith, just wasn't holding up to the strain. My prayers often went unanswered and I started losing my desire to read the bible. All the questions and doubts I'd always suppressed as a christian began to creep up like weeds. They choked my faith to death in its most fragile state. Despite all my earnest attempts, I could never get myself to believe again.
At this point, I'd like to ask you to not feel sorry for me or try to formulate all the reasons why I lost my faith or try to guess at what I have been doing wrong. People have been doing that to me for years and I still don't have any answers. I assure you, I followed all the passages in the bible concerning faith, concerning believing, concerning trials and tribulations, but it seemed that for four years, the harder I try, the farther away I get. My objective is no longer to get my faith back, but to cope with the fact that it's gone. Thought I admit, in my weakest times, I do wish there was a way I could be a believer again.
My marriage has suffered a lot of strain. We have never been a financially stable couple. For three years we were living with friends and relatives and working low paying jobs just to stay above water. In addition, we argued a lot because of our cultural and personality differences. Several times I wanted to just pick up and leave. He was so mean to me at times it would make me cry. He didn't understand that I suffered from clinical depression. He just thought I was lazy. In addition he was often away for work, be it truck driving or living on-site as a security guard. I think for about a third of our marriage, we have lived separately. During those times, I was very lonely and I'd often be on the internet. I had a lot of emotional affairs during that time and I grew to resent Marcus. The only thing that kept me in the marriage was the fact that I didn't have any money or any place to go. Also we had a daughter a year after we married. She is two now.
About a year ago, he finished college and got a well paying job in Los Angeles, so we moved here. I was still very depressed and was going back and forth about whether to leave. Then in 2008, I met a guy named Barry through a mutual friend from an online community. We hit it off so amazingly. At first it was just a friendship, and I intended to keep it that way, but it wasn't long until I fell in love with him. He too had feelings for me. At the time I met Barry, I'd decided that I was going to leave Marcus for sure. And now I was even more sure of it.
Well, Marcus got wind of the relationship. He had been spying on my computer and even enlisted the help of one of his friends to tap into Barry's email account. That was a mess. Marcus wrote an email to me as Barry saying that he wanted to break it off with me.. Then he went to an online community that I belong to and used my account to post a bunch of slanderous things against Barry. I was so mortified and was sure Barry would never speak to me again. The morning I discovered all of this, I broke down in tears and was ready to pack all my things and leave to my mother's house. But I didn't, since our daughter was away at a relative's house that day and I didn't want to leave her with Marcus. I decided to wait a few days and then go.
I apologized to Barry. He was understandably upset, but he said that he still loved me despite everything. I felt so bad. And I was so tired of confusion filling my life.
The following night, I came home from work and Marcus was sitting on the couch, all teary-eyed. He told me we had to talk. He then explained that he did what he did because he was jealous, and that he was sorry for treating me so badly over the years and for always being away. He said I was a young mother when he started truck driving and that I shouldn't have left  been left alone to take care of the baby myself. He also said that he had been reading about depression on the internet and that he thought he understood it better. He really wanted to make the marriage work out. What he said that evening made me cry. He'd never admitted those things to me before and it felt good to get an apology. But at that point, I felt like I didn't love him anymore and that the apology was coming too late.
This happened last July. Since then, Marcus has been making a more serious effort to be more understanding and open with me. I believe this has lessened my will to end the marriage, but I still feel like it was a mistake to get married at such a young age in the first place. I don't love my husband. Not romantically anyway. Had I had more sense when I was nineteen, I would have realized that Marcus an I are polar opposites and if we got married, we'd probably put each other through a lot of hell (which we did and still do). And then there is Barry. I feel like he is my best friend and I really do love him. We can talk on the phone or over the internet for hours. I wish so much I had met him when I was younger, and he wishes he had met me when he was younger too. We decided not to pursue our relationship any further, though, because of my marital status. But I still love him. I think about him every day and it breaks my heart that I'll never know what could have been.
I know my life would be so less of a burden if I still had my faith to guide me. I found the beliefnet forum when I typed  in "why did you get a divorce?" into google. The girl I used to be would never consider divorce...she wouldn't let months and months pass before she went to church. But that is me now. I'm not a girl anymore. I'm a woman, but I have so much trouble letting of of the past. I still can't get over the fact that I lost my faith, my very foundation for life.
As for my marriage, I don't want to think about it anymore, but I can't help it. I think about couples that have known each other for years and love each other and have so much fun together. Then they decide to get married, and their friends and family are so happy for them. That wasn't me though. I still have friends and family who are mad at me to this day for getting married so spur of the moment. Not that I blame them.
I always dreamed I would marry my best friend. Someone who made me laugh and shared common interests and someone who I just clicked with. Someone I could be happy with. I know relationships aren't all rosy, but if they are solid at the core, then they can be enjoyable. I have no illusions that divorce and life therafter will be easy. But now I just dont know if it is worth it to leave. I don't want to suffer  because I am on my own, but just knowing that I could be with someone out there who completes me makes me so sad. I can't even tolerate love songs on the radio anymore.
If I stay, I'll be forfeiting one of the biggest dreams of my life. If I go, I will hurt Marcus and risk braving life on my own. I know I can take care of my daughter because I have done it on my own before, and he will always be her father. But at the same time, marcus has always been very supportive of me concerning school and he was always done his best to take care of us financially. I know he loves me, just in his own way. I don't know what to do. I am exhausted thinking about it.
Well that is my life story thusfar...thanks a lot for reading it. I guess there's a lot more I could've said but I think this is long enough. Hope that I don't sound too whiny or selfish here, because I was just trying to be very transparent about my life. Well I'm exhausted now and I need to go lay down for abit. Thanks again. Any advice would be appreciated.
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5 years ago  ::  Mar 08, 2009 - 4:56PM #2
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407

Duafe,

Welcome to the Divorce & Separation Forum, and sorry for the pain in your marriage that brought you here. We are still getting adjusted to our "new home" (Befiefnet recently changed the software that runs this site). There are many caring members here who are glad to share their thoughts, give feedback, and interact with you. You will likely hear some things that resonate with you, and possibly some things that do not. I hope you find it a useful experience.

You have experience much pain and difficulty in your life, starting with what happened in your family growing up. It is so sad that you and your brother had to go through such an upsetting and frightening series of incidents, and sadder still that you were abandoned by a parent. Perhaps the pain of your parents divorce is also weighing on your decision about whether to stay or leave your marriage now.

Part of you wants to leave the marriage, and another part of you doesn't. On the one hand you feel there is something you have missed out on for having married the way you did, and you now don't have the in-love feelings you feel should be present. On the other hand, you are afraid that ending the marriage might leave you worse off than you are now, and you are also afraid of huring your husband. Maybe remembering how devastated your mother was when her husband left you feel empathy for what you husband might feel if that happened.  Perhaps your husband's recent efforts to improve the relationship give some hope for having the kind of marriage you want; however, at this point all your feelings have died and there is no hope of resurrecting them. You recognize that he has been kind, caring, and supportive, and for you now without the feelings of love, that is not enough.

Blessings,
ArnieBeeGut
Beliefnet Community Host
Divorce & Separation

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5 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2009 - 10:44AM #3
Duafe
Posts: 20

Hello ArnieBeeGut, thanks very much for  the welcome and for your thoughtful comments. I hope everyone is getting settled into the new site well.


Well yes, me and my other siblings have been through a lot of hell. I wish things had been different but there's no use in wishing to change the past. Because of what happened to me it does make me more cautious about how I handle family issues now. I think that is why I am so undecided about whether to divorce or not.


My mom did feel a lot of pain when my father left. They were married for 21 years. The thing about my parents though is that they were all wrong for each other and I feel like they never should have gotten married in the first place. That's not for me to decide, I know, but for as long as I can remember they would argue regularly and fiercley, despite the fact that they'd been to counseling before. That's another reason I am contemplating divorce, because I don't want my daughter to grow up seeing me and her dad butting heads all the time. Concerning Marcus' emotions though, I wouldn't want to put him through that heartache because I feel he doesn't deserve it...but on the other hand sometimes I just feel outright resentful toward him and he can see it in my attitude toward him. He doesn't deserve that either.


Another thing that makes me hesitant to leave is that I will be on my own. I have to ask, is single life really so hard? Marcus always tells me, "It's tough out there. You have no idea." And statements like that hit me very hard. But also he thinks that I just want to be single so I can go out and be a party girl, which isn't the case. I just want to define myself and see what I really want out of life. Lonliness and financial worries are what scare me the most about being single, but is it so hard that it's barely manageable, or is it doable?


If I left Marcus, I can say I honestly would miss him. He was my first real relationship, I lost my virginity to him and he's been a constant part of my life for four years...like you said, though ArnieBeeGut, I just feel like someone being there isn't enough. There should be love between the two people. My marriage was so impulsive...I really didn't give myself time to think about it. I can seriously remember being at the altar at the city hall, looking at him thinking, "I guess he will do." I guess I was expecting a bed of roses for the most part.


Well thank you for the thinking points...it helps to write out my thoughts like this.

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5 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2009 - 11:03AM #4
Duafe
Posts: 20

I'm a musical person, so usually if I hear a song that relates to my situation, it resonates with me very deeply. So everytime I hear this song on the radio I feel it's speaking for me and makes me feel like I would be making the right decision in leaving:


"Where I Stood"
Missy Higgins



I don't know what I've done
Or if I like what I've begun
But something told me to run
And honey you know me it's all or none

There were sounds in my head
LIttle voices whispering
That I should go and this should end
Oh and I found myself listening

'Cos I dont know who I am, who I am without you
All I know is that I should
And I don't know if I could stand another hand upon you
All I know is that I should
'Cos she will love you more than I could
She who dares to stand where I stood

See I thought love was black and white
That it was wrong or it was right
But you ain't leaving without a fight
And I think I am just as torn inside

'Cos I dont know who I am, who I am without you
All I know is that I should
And I don't know if I could stand another hand upon you
All I know is that I should
'Cos she will love you more than I could
She who dares to stand where I stood

And I won't be far from where you are if ever you should call
You meant more to me than anyone I ever loved at all
But you taught me how to trust myself and so I say to you
This is what I have to do

'Cos I dont know who I am, who I am without you
All I know is that I should
And I don't know if I could stand another hand upon you
All I know is that I should
'Cos she will love you more than I could
She who dares to stand where I stood
Oh, she who dares to stand where I stood

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5 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2009 - 8:38PM #5
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407

Duafe,



You are correct, the past cannot be changed. Sometimes though understanding the past can help recognizing behavior patterns and the reasons behind actions. For oneself that is.


Is single life "harder" than married life? I don't think they can be compared - it's a matter of picking one's poison. As scary as it may be to contemplate a dramatic move to singlehood (and a single mom to boot), it may be easier to manage than dealing with a spouse.


At this point, part of you feels you have not had a chance to mature outside the context of this relationship, and you are wanting an opportunity to explore who you would be just as yourself, rather than being defined in terms of being married.


On the other hand, you are recognizing many good qualities in your husband, and while there is not the "spark" you wish you felt, you nevertheless care very deeply for this man and don't wish to hurt him uncessesarily.


I was unfamiliar with Missy Higgins, but I listened to the song you posted - it was quite haunting and beautiful. Perhaps I'm projecting, but when she sings it, I hear sadness in her voice that is at odds with the words being "clear" about leaving. I can definitiely see how this speaks to you.


Blessings,
Arnie

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5 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2009 - 11:14PM #6
Hatman
Posts: 9,634
Duafe-
First, Arnie's a musician, himself---violin, iirc---and quite good, too.  This probably accounts, in part, for his sensitivity to the feelings and emotions of others.

Second, you're still young.  You've only been married 4 years.  I have shirts twice as old as you are at this time.  *grin*  Right now, it's possible that you have projected onto Barry the qualities you think he has, but if I may be allowed to pretend to prophet-status for a minute, if you divorce your current husband and marry Barry, I suspect you'll soon find that Barry has many, many flaws, perhaps some even worse than your current husband.  That's the thing about imaginary lovers; they can be perfect.

I think that if you continue to see and fantasize about Barry, this will do little but inflame your desire to unfavorably compare your husband to him, and make it easier to leave him.  Even though many might say that your husband used you to get a green card, based on your description of his repentance and his honest, earnest attempts to reconcile and be a better husband, I'd say that he really does love you.

IIRC, you said you remembered thinking at the wedding ceremony, "I think he'll do," or words to that effect.  Did you love him at the time?  Did you love him when you were pregnant?  Did you love him when you delivered your child into his arms?  If so, you may gain a great deal of insight and understanding from a visit to www.retrouvaille.org, especially if you two can go to one of their weekends. 

I would think it a shame to rashly or hurriedly rush into a divorce before at least giving this marriage another honest try.  If you decide to love him, despite his flaws, you most certainly can, for a mature love is a daily decision, not a rush of endorphins that encompass the "in love" feelings, which fade over time---although they ARE quite drug-like---and pleasurable---when you're under their influence.  Since your husband is the only man you have been with sexually, you may also be wondering a great deal about what you're missing, too.  Take it from me; I doubt that there's much you're missing at all, save heartbreak and possibly an infection or three.

I am sorry for the pain you are in, and aware of your concerns for your child and your relationship.  I saw in your writings many of the arguments for divorce, including the opinions of your friends who felt you rushed into it.  If you continue to listen to voices like that, you most certainly will talk yourself into a divorce, and feel fully justified in doing so.  Whichever voices you long to hear in your head and your heart, you will hear them---now commending, now condemning you.

So if you definitely decide upon divorce, you should probably visit www.divorcecare.com, see if there's a meeting near you, and go.  You will learn many things, especially about how to protect the interests of your child and yourself, but you will likely also hear many stories about situations far worse than your own, and you may begin to feel more kindly toward your husband in comparison.  With life-experience, I strongly suspect that you will learn to value the bird in hand far more than the one in the bush.  I have seen far too many women and men want to leave their familiar-but-hard relationships to go with someone new, exiting, and romantic, and much easier---only to discover later, to their sorrow, that the one they THOUGHT was "the one" is in fact quite as full of flaws, imperfections, and outright crappiness as the one they left, if not more(for lessons that we seek to escape learning in one relationship we must learn again in another)---then seek to return in repentance to the one they left, only to hear, "Too late."

Warmest regards-

Hatman
"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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5 years ago  ::  Mar 18, 2009 - 5:59PM #7
sharon_bivens
Posts: 658

You jumped out of what you thought was a bad situation into a marriage with a man you met on the internet.


You fell in love with another man you met on the internet and wanted to leave your husband for this man...


I am probably wrong, but you seem to me to be searching for a father figure in your life, more than a man....


God is your Heavenly Father.   Please pray for strength and for confidence in yourself to make the right decisions in your life.


There is nothing wrong with being alone.  You do not have to have a man in your house, but there is something wrong with jumping from one situation to another one...


Hatman is right....You are young...You are changing and if you do not change together, you will be strangers.


There is a lot to be said here.  If your husband is a good man and a good father that counts for sooooo much in this day and age.  Be sure before you act.....For you are talking of totally upsetting his life...


Peace,


 


Sharon

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2009 - 3:28AM #8
Duafe
Posts: 20

Hi, I know it's been a few months but I couldn't really bring myself to come back to this thread till now. But even if it's late, thanks for all your honest and heartfelt answers. Arnie, thank you for your insight into the song because I think you described it perfectly.


Some things I realized about myself: Yes, I am at the beginning stages of a bad habit: Jumping from one relationship to another trying to find happiness. Thank you sharon for pointing that out. I don't believe in God...I did at one point but my former belief in God has left me very hurt and angry. I was an evangelical christian for most of my life and left my faith when I realized that my church had been twisting reality all along for its own purposes. I am trying to rediscover God for myself, though part of me is resisting. But that aside, I do believe I want a father figure or some comforting force in my life. Which is why I have to learn to love myself first of all. I know Barry can't fill that void and I am realizing now that he has his own flaws that I would have to deal with. And that is true of any man on the planet.


Another thing about myself is that I tend to make big choices spur of the moment. I am having to train myself out of this habit because I realized I'm going to get myself into a lot more trouble if I continue to think with my emotions so much.


I have been thinking things over and I am still leaning in the direction of ending the marriage. Like I said, I've done such a 180 between now and the time I was 19. The other night my husband blew up on me during an argument, saying that I've "changed so much ever since I stopped being a Christian" and everything he says I always have to disagree with him. I don't do this intentionally to annoy him, it's just that there is so little common ground between us that arguments often spring up. I feel more like a rebellious teen who has a strict father than a wife. And I don't think that's a fixable problem. We're just different. And I think if I stick around much longer we will either kill each other or become passionate enemies. My attitude toward him rotates between anger, depression and apathy and I don't think I can live like this much longer. It willl hurt both of us if I go but it feels like it would be worse to stay.


So, that's what I've decided... I don't know how soon I will move but I'm pretty sure that's what it will come to. Thanks again for all  your advice and encouragment. You guys are really great.

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2009 - 11:26AM #9
ArnieBeeGut
Posts: 1,407

You are always welcome here regardless of how long it is between posts! Of course we would rather hear more from you than less, and we also recognize that there is a "real life" out there with its demands.

You have been going deeply into this and finding out some useful things about yourself. Love certainly starts with yourself, as you are recognizing. And you are also perhaps realizing that you have accepted some things in the relationship that were really not okay with you. The changes you have been making have provoked conflict, which is inevitable really.

You are enjoying the changes in yourself in becoming more fully who you truly are, and are finding it difficult to continue on that path within the marriage. So you are now 100% certain that the only way forward for you is to end it.

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2009 - 2:02AM #10
Duafe
Posts: 20

Hello again Arnie! :) You are very intuitive and I feel like you are peering into me, which is a good thing. Yes I have been contemplating this a lot and have had a lot of sleepless nights because of my marriage. I'm sure the hardest part is yet to come but at least now my spirit is settled concerning this. Thanks for your insight, it's much appreciated.

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