We were boyfriend and girlfriend in junior high. Despite our age we became very close emotionally. Both only children and recently seeing our parents divorce, we had much to share.
In high school, we didn’t date. It was because he was too “wild” and I was too straight-laced. One of those wild things was that he drank alcohol. I didn’t. Despite our lack of communication, we maintained an unspoken emotional connection. After 4 years of high school and 4 years of college, we reunited and it seemed like we never skipped a beat emotionally. He was ready to be “saved” from the party life and settle, and that sounded very nice to me.
Despite me being an extrovert and him being an introvert, our relationship seemed to work. He was my best friend. We never argued. We trusted each other completely. After 10 years of marriage, we had a child. While things weren’t perfect, they were more good than bad.
In the last five years of our marriage, things became more bad than good. I felt us growing apart even though we had grown up together. While he was still my best friend, I wasn’t sure if there was more than that. Of the four pillars key to a relationship: physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental; there was really only an emotional connection.
The fact that there was never a spiritual connection grew more troubling over time. He seemed to become less and less spiritual every year. I grew up attending church weekly, and I had continued to do that without him. For many years, my spirituality had been unfortunately, a habit of activities and not much of a relationship with God. However, I had started growing in my faith. It felt wonderful. I was feeling compelled to do the Lord’s work through some type of service. I began reading daily reflections and passages, and sometimes they felt as though they were written for me.
We had spent almost 20 years in the same home, which was very simple, but space was limited. As his dependence on alcohol increased, I had no choice but to watch it because we had only one common area in our house So, if the three of us were home, we would spend evenings in the same room while he drank (under cover), as it was in a glass mixed with something. It was silently painful. And I knew it wouldn’t be long until our daughter became aware of the reality.
Easy answer? Buy a bigger house. I know…sounds stupid, but we did it. He didn’t like some things about our house, and I wanted different space. So, we moved a couple miles away into a much bigger house with little maintenance. I didn’t have to watch him drink. We had a living room and a family room, but the very odd thing is that our master bedroom became his cave. He did nearly everything there. Watched TV, ate meals, drank. He truly began isolating without even realizing it. Every so often he would surface and speak a sentence or two. The only positive outcome was that my daughter didn’t have to watch her father drink and realize it.
During those last five years of my marriage, my father battled cancer. I spent as much time with him as I could, as I was his only child and he didn’t have a significant other. I was his world and I knew it. My husband was supportive of the time I spent with my dad and I was grateful for that. My dad’s care, along with my daughter’s upbringing became my highest personal priorities. Because my dad’s only wish was to spend his final months and days in his home, I was determined to do everything to make that happen. It was both challenging and rewarding.
My dad passed away on my daughter’s birthday. Shortly after he was gone, I had no choice but to focus on my life, which included my marriage. I told my husband that I was going to start counseling. He realized I was not happy, and so it began.