In the Beginning… (part 1)

i married at a relatively young age. i was 21 and right out of college, my whole life ahead of me, and i got married. Why? Because that’s what we are supposed to do isn’t it? i mean we grow up learning that’s what’s expected of us – go to school, go to college, get married, have babies, raise your kids, and so on. Since that’s what i was taught, it’s all i ever wanted, so the first guy who showed serious interest in marrying me was the lucky one to get me. i had no idea what it meant to be a wife. i barely knew who i was as an individual, now i would have to figure out who i was within the confines of a relationship. To top it off, in addition to growing up with the expectation of being a wife, i was also taught the importance of being a strong, independent woman, and to never let anyone hold me back. i don’t know about you, but i sense a little bit of a contradiction there.

My marriage got off to a rocky start and it should have been my first clue that it was doomed.i was away working at a weekend camping event and my husband was working as the technical director for an educational theater group. After the work day, we talked on the phone for a minute and i asked what he was up to. His response, “Oh I’m taking a few people from the tech crew out to eat.” Fair enough, i told him to have fun and i’d see him the next day. A few weeks later, i learned that “a few people” was one person and that one person was a SHE. We weren’t even married a year yet and he was taking another woman out to dinner. i also learned he kissed her as well. For me, a young newlywed, he may has well have had sex with her because it hurt just the same to me.

i remember one fight in particular during this time when I removed my wedding rings and threw them at his head. i wanted out. Of course, i didn’t think i could do it and i wondered, “Who else is going to want me?” so we stayed married. Looking back, 17 years later, i can see that we probably should have had the marriage annulled.

17 years is a long time to be married and not know that you’re in fact married to the wrong person. When it hit me and i realized what i had to do, i was scared to death because it meant i had to hurt someone who never really did anything to deserve being hurt. He wasn’t emotionally abusive and definitely not physically abusive. i mean, i guess there are things that could be considered, but the bottom line in my failed marriage was me. i was the one who rushed into it by saying yes when he proposed. i was the one who stayed with him even after he cheated on me. (By the way, this was the only time he cheated on me. There would be times in the future when he would be with other women, but it was consensual and a part of our lifestyle.) i was the one who stayed with him even when he failed to provide for me. (In 17 years of marriage, we only lived on our own for about 6 years. All the other years we lived with my mom.) i was the one who stayed, trapped, afraid no one else would ever love me if i left. i married a man i didn’t really love. i married him because i was in love with the idea of being in love and the idea of being married.

It’s funny how life never really works out the way we imagine it will. i always had it in my head that i would grow up, get married and raise a family. Well, i grew up and got married, but never had a family. i wanted one so bad, yet it never happened. It wasn’t for lack of trying either. i mean, at this point i’m actually kind of grateful that i didn’t have kids because my situation would have been made monumentally worse and i probably wouldn’t have left. i always imagined being a stay at home mom, keeping the house cleaned, cooking for my family, maybe even home-schooling my kids. i dreamed of being married to a man that had a job making enough money that i could do this. It’s what i’m made to do and i know this now. i lived with the internal conflict of being a strong, independent woman (even in marriage) and being one who is solely dependent on her male head of household. Don’t get me wrong, i’m grateful for the ability to support myself should it be necessary, but in an ideal setting, i would rather be at home, maintaining a clean house, making things with my bare hands, and providing a peaceful refuge for the one i love. It’s the way i’m hard-wired and it’s what makes me happiest.

The tricky part is it takes unconditional love and a fair amount of discipline to be in that kind of role. So, married i may have been, but there was a point at which my husband lost my respect and therefore my willingness to submit to him in the way a wife should and for 17 years, we muddled through a marriage that on the surface looked to be happy, but buried deep down truly was not. When i began slipping up, he lacked the maturity to take the upper hand and remind me of my role as wife. Even during the times when i wasn’t working, i was lazy and didn’t embrace my role as homemaker. For about the first year, give or take a few months, i was on it, but somewhere, i lost it and he didn’t redirect me to my proper place.

Being that i was raised to believe a man and woman were equal in marriage (which is shocking considering my mom stayed home with us kids until we were both in school full-time), i’m not sure i would have responded well to domestic discipline. i may have told him to “go fuck himself” and left. In fact, one of my non-negotiables for divorce was if he ever hit me, so since i was in no way consensual to domestic discipline at the time, i probably would have left him should he have tried it. All of this points to my age and maturity and understanding of what it means to be in a marriage. Simply put, i was too young to be a wife. i may not have been too young in number, but definitely in readiness to accept the task of submission. There are days i regret my marriage, but then i remember the good times and the fact that i did learn a lot about what not to do as well as what to do. i only wish sometimes that i had realized my marriage was doomed a lot sooner because i can’t help that feel like i squandered away 17 years of my life. Here i am now, 39 years old, and most of my life was spent being miserable while “faking” a happy marriage.

In 2006 i got my “dream job” working as program director for a camp. i poured my heart and soul into that job and when the permanent director was hired, i was shown the door. 2007 was the beginning of the end for me. i had experienced depression before, but nothing that lasted as long as this would. i met a girl on the internet and she filled my days with smiles and laughter. i knew i was physically attracted to women as well as men, but at this point i had never experienced being with a woman, so i had no clue what it would be like nor did i have a clue that i could fall in love with a woman. We spent countless hours on the phone or in chat. i found in her an understanding that was lacking in my husband. One day i confessed my feelings to her because i had to get them out there. To my delight, she told me that she felt the same way about me and we began making plans to meet. When i spoke to my husband about this, he didn’t seem to have a problem with it. In fact, it had been a fantasy for both of us that i experience a woman, we just didn’t know how it would work out. One thing i know now is that he never meant for me to have a relationship with her. Sex was ok, but no-strings-attached was what he wanted. This was my first red flag, but i missed it. It wasn’t until a few years later, looking back, that i realized this was my first cry for help in my marriage that was going nowhere.

She and i were together for 3 years. It was a long distance relationship, mostly over the phone with a few trips to visit each other throughout the year. i was completely consumed by her and spent every waking moment talking to her on the phone. Jealousy was prevalent on both sides. If i was on the phone too much with her, he got upset. If i chose to spend time with him and not talk to her on the phone, she got upset. i was feeling torn in two and this led to even deeper depression. This is when medication and therapy became a regular part of my life. At this point, i had a full-time job and i liked my work, but it was pretty stressful, so coupled with what i was going through in my personal life, my mind could only take so much. On a number of occasions, i thought about running away and moving in with my girlfriend, but the one thing that kept me from doing that was the volatility of our relationship. She and i fought all the time. If i had moved in with her, one of us would have ended up dead, i know it. She threatened suicide on multiple occasions and i even went through with an attempt via intentional overdose of my meds. I will tell you right now i didn’t really want to die and i’m still not 100% sure why i did what i did, but the hospital made a judgment call and released me after only 6 hours with the promise that i would see my therapist and doctor the next day. i complied, of course, and still can’t understand what made me swallow a bottle of pills.

When she and i broke up, i started dating another girl, locally, and she moved in with me and my husband. We dated for about 6 months and i realized she was only a rebound and it wasn’t fair to her if I kept pretending anymore. That break up wasn’t fun, but it was necessary. At this point, my depression and anxiety were at a peak, so i went on state disability and took some time off work. i often wonder if that was really the right thing to do, but on the flip side of the coin, if i hadn’t i wouldn’t be where i am today. i’m beginning to understand more the idea of “everything happens for a reason” because going on disability eventually led to me meeting Sir. i have to remember there is a reason things happen the way they do and all of this was just molding me and shaping me, perhaps even breaking me, into the submissive i am meant to be for Sir.

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