I got married when I was seventeen. Looking back and thinking about seventeen year olds today, I know this age is way too young to get married. Honestly, I think twenty something is way too young to get married now, but don’t tell a young naïve Nancy that, don’t tell her that thirty year old Nancy still feels too young, that this Nancy is still waiting for the moment that makes her feel like a full-fledged adult.
I told my parents that even if they didn’t sign the documents to allow me to get married, that I was still going to leave Fort Worth and follow him to San Antonio after I graduated from high school. I still can’t believe I said those words and how I got there is another blog post on its own. This post is inspired by a question I received on my previous post. I promise I will get to the travel part of this blog, but seeing how we can’t travel as much lately, I decided to continue working on my introduction.
I really wanted my marriage to work because we were so young when we got married and everyone expected us to fail. We were convinced that we were going to be the exception and that we were going to grow old together and think back and laugh at everyone who said we weren’t going to make it. I think that’s why it was so hard to let go, because I didn’t want to be a quitter. I didn’t want everyone who said we weren’t going to make it and that I was dumb for doing this to be right. Anyone who knows me, knows I love to be right and hate to be wrong, but that’s the wrong reason to stay in a relationship and I’m not convinced that is the reason I stayed for ten years when there was so many reasons not to stay.
I had so many I’m done moments, but I always stayed because I had that growing old picture in my mind. He isn’t a bad guy, I think that was part of the problem, I knew he wasn’t a bad guy and he did so many things that made him a great guy, someone anyone would want to be with. The worst thing he did was talk to other females, this was justified by him saying he never physically did anything and that he always came home to me and I got everything from him. We were stuck in a cycle of he does something bad, I get upset, he apologizes and we move on until the next time. It’s such a long story, this isn’t all there was to it and I plan on doing a blog series on this because looking back, I always ask myself, why did I stay for so long, when everything was telling me to run, even before we got married. I was so heartbroken for such a long time, I still cried over him even last year, but I had a life changing moment with my family at the end of last year and through all of that, I was finally able to let go of him and really solidify my relationship with Alex.
I always felt like an inconvenience to him; I do inconvenience Alex sometimes, but Alex doesn’t make me feel like he is going out of his way, even though he goes out of his way a lot. He made me feel bad about being myself, he would tell me that I’m different, that I’m not like I used to be. When we got together I was 17, of course I’m not like I used to be, I’ve grown up, I have evolved, I have experienced life, and I have learned things about our world; I was not a sheltered clueless kid anymore and he should have encourage my personal growth, but instead he hindered it. I was going to school and I had friends and he was always so self-conscious about everything, he didn’t like not fitting in because he wasn’t a person who went to school and things like that, he always needed to prove himself. I would be invited to things and I would say I couldn’t go without even talking to him about it because I was scared to have those conversations. If I spent too much time with one of my friends, he would accuse us of being lesbians. I also had a really good friend that is gay and he thought he was pretending to be gay to be close to me, who thinks like this?! Now that I think back on all the things, I wonder how I stayed with him for so long; I don’t have an answer for that yet, I think the idea and picture of what we were as opposed to what we actually were always kept me there.
I couldn’t just go for a hike, which is my favorite thing to do, because he didn’t get it, doing things I wanted to do was a bother, he couldn’t fathom how someone could do these things. I remember the first time I went to a concert with Alex, I kept apologizing the whole time for how crowded the concert was, I know it’s a concert and it’s meant to be crowded, but I still felt so bad for putting him in that situation. Alex laughed at me and said a concert is supposed to be crowded and we need to roll with it and have fun…had I been with my ex-husband, we would have left because it would have been too uncomfortable to stay because he would have been making comments and faces the whole time, so rather than deal with that, I would have left to avoid the situation. Imagine missing out on a shirtless Adam Levine because your husband was making faces the whole time…I just stopped trying to do things I wanted to do with my husband because I knew how they would turn out; the experienced would be ruined and I would feel bad about wanting to do them in the first place.
What was the “I’m done” moment?
We were both on our couch in our living room and I got a text from a coworker asking for his work schedule, this was a common occurrence from all my coworkers because apparently no one had figured out how to send external emails from work, but I always emailed myself the schedule and everyone knew I was good for it. I sent him his schedule and he sent a meme or something to say thanks for the schedule, I smiled. I was not trying to hide anything, I was right next to my husband, it was nothing, but to my ex-husband it looked like something. We got into an argument and we didn’t talk for a day or two. I had previously scheduled time off to go see my parents in Fort Worth with him, but with not talking to each other I decided to go by myself and give him time to cool off. I woke up and told him in the morning I was leaving and he just ignored me and continued about his day. I left to Fort Worth. I cried the whole 4.5 hour drive and waited the whole day for him to check on me to make sure I got there safely, this was the first time I had ever driven myself that far, but he didn’t. The next day I woke up and still hadn’t heard from him, so I thought maybe he just isn’t talking to anyone and keeping to himself. I logged into our AT&T application to see our phone activity (years of being with him had made me an expert at snooping) and saw that he was up all night talking to someone. I couldn’t believe that we had gotten to a point that he didn’t even care to see that I was alive, that might sound dramatic, but it was heartbreaking. I had never traveled anywhere without him, he was everything I knew for my whole adult life and even though it broke my heart, I decided that one of us had to care about me, and if it wasn’t him, it had to be me. When I got back to SA I told him we were done and I meant it, even though it was scary because I have no family in SA and I had never been alone, I was done. I don’t think he believed me because I had always gone back to him before, but before I was choosing us, and this time I was finally choosing me because for such a long time, I was the only one choosing us.
I went into my box of things to try and find a picture of me at 17 to add to this post and the first thing that fell out of my album was this note from my ex-husband. I have so many of these I’m sorry, please forgive me notes, but for now, here is this one with a picture of me on my wedding day at 17 (it was a backyard wedding, as you can imagine, one does not have a fancy wedding at 17).