Saturday, June 26, 2010

Happy Antiversary

On this day, seventeen years ago, I married the wrong man.

It was a beautiful wedding, a dream come true.
My mother made my dress and my bridesmaids' dresses.
My best friend and my sister were gorgeous bridesmaids.
I felt beautiful.
It was all I'd ever wanted.
I was that little girl who had always dreamed of her wedding day.
I'd been planning it since I was about 10.
I was in such a hurry for it to happen, that at 24 my dream came true.
But I was impatient, I forgot to wait for Mr Right.

My first husband was good man, mostly.
He was good looking and popular.
He was athletic, a cyclist and loved to surf.
His mother was a Torres Strait Islander and his dad was English, so his family was a very interesting mix of cultures.
We travelled to Europe and met some of his relatives in England.
We laughed a lot.
He was fun and funny.
But I always felt he was waiting for me to turn into what he wanted.
He was constantly pushing me to lose weight, even though I was only 57kgs at my heaviest with him.
He tried to be my personal trainer, and didn't take no as no.  Which is OK if you're paying a personal trainer, but I didn't appreciate my husband pushing me to run up hills when I did not want to.

I always felt that one day he would probably leave me.

I never, ever expected that I would leave him.
Even though I would often read the accommodation section of the newspaper and dream of moving out into a place by myself and maybe even having a life with someone else.

But of course it was one of those things I was never going to do.
I was never going to be divorced.
Marriage was for life, I always believed that.
No one goes into a marriage thinking it will end one day.

It took meeting my real husband to give me the courage to do it. And when I met him, I walked out on my first marriage within two weeks.
I was that sure.

It was the best and worst time of my life.

I'd met my soulmate.
I finally felt true love.
The feeling that we were born for each other.
It all felt so right, like God and the angels had planned the whole thing and that we actually had no choice.   We were like magnets.
When we were together it felt like we were in a bubble.
In the same space and protected from everything.

A week after we met I remember my real husband saying we were both the type who don't leave, we would only ever leave someone for each other.  (He was engaged to someone else at the time.)

But the cold hard truth of it was, we were the home wreckers.  We left two people and two families with broken hearts.  We hurt a lot of people, lost friends and my mother was distraught over the whole situation for a very long time.

I did waver at one point.
I felt so much guilt and shame.
I would constantly cry and begged God to tell me what to do.
Stay with my husband or start a whole new life with my soulmate?
A few weeks after I moved out and after the pleading from my husband to come back wore me down, I did go back for a couple of days to try and see if my marriage could work.
But the whole time I felt I was cheating on my new love.

My first husband called me all kinds of awful names when I left for good, but that was something he often did anyway.

In the very long run, after countless dark days of tears and wishing I could press a 'fast foward' button, we made the right decision.

I believe my ex-husband is now with someone who is much better suited to him.
My real husband and I are coming up to our 8th wedding anniversary and have two absolutely, perfectly beautiful children.
And while the gloss has worn off, it still feels like we were born to be together, that we will always love each other and that we would never leave.

It took years to get over the pain and loss of divorce.
Some of the most difficult things to deal with apart from the obvious were getting used to saying 'me' instead of 'we'.
And having a new 'we'.
And replacing the old significant other's name with the new one.
Thought patterns are like habits.
After almost 10 years of using one name in all of your thoughts, replacing it with another took a long time for my brain to adjust to.
It's mortifying using the wrong name, but it happened.  And very occasionally still does.
And losing a whole life, his family, his parents, his brothers and sister, his niece and nephew, his friends, were all a huge part of my life.  Then suddenly, they weren't there any more.

Then, of course, there are the children.
I didn't have any with my first husband which I am constantly grateful for.
At least I could walk away with no strings. I don't see or hear anything about him anymore.
But explaining to my children that I was once married to someone who wasn't their dad is not something I ever wanted to do.
I have already told my son.
I dropped it lightly into a conversation when it was appropriate.
He just accepted it and didn't ask too many questions.
I suspect there will be more questions when he's old enough to understand what it really means, though.
I want them both to grow up knowing, so it's not a dirty secret that pops out at a time when they least expect it.

Would I change things if I could go back?


I learnt a lot from my first marriage.

I experienced racism first hand.  It's amazing the things people say when they have no idea you are married to a black man.  I learnt how ridiculous it is to judge people by their colour and felt how awkward it is to be in the minority, having people stare at you for being one of the few white people in a room.

I learnt love is not a fairytale.
I think I would expect a lot more from my real husband if I hadn't already been married before.
I know that ups and downs come with every marriage.
If I met my real husband 10 years earlier and we had the usual rough patches, maybe I would be thinking I'd made a mistake, that the grass might be greener somewhere else.
But after you've lived with dead grass, it's sweet to realize that all you have to do is water your brown grass and it will be green again within no time.

Do I regret the pain I caused?

Of course.

Sometimes life leads you in a direction that you didn't expect, but is right for you.

Everyone says it but I couldn't agree more...

Everything that happened in my past has got me to the point where I am today.
And I do not want to be anywhere else.

But anniversaries, or antiversaries even, will always bring back memories.


  1. I know some parts of this story Thea. But thank you for sharing it all in its entirety.

    All hurts aside, how wonderful that you are now in the place you wanted to fast-forward to....

    Hugs to you. xx

  2. Thea, please don't take this post down. I despair when I hear people comment on how terrible it is to leave a marriage, "what about your vows" and all that stuff.

    If you know in your heart it was the right thing to do, then you made the right decision and we should all celebrate you, your courage, and your love for your true love.

    I know I do.


  3. You've written beautifully and from the heart Thea. We have a lot in common ... I married first at 25. I don't think anyone ever goes into marriage thinking it will end, and it hurts so much when it doesn't work. Losing a whole network of family and friends as well. But so good you tried to make it work, so good you found the person you are meant to be with. I love that you appreciate what you have too. I think sometimes people come into our lives for a time and a reason ...and it's all part of the journey of getting to who you are. xo

  4. Sure makes my life sound easy!
    You were pretty strong through it all though.
    Love what you've said about watering brown grass. When you are with the right partner it is so worth watering that brown grass.

  5. Thea, most importantly you made a good decision for you. I often think one of the best gifts we can give to our kids is to find our true happiness - it allows us to give more joy to our children and shows them a path towards their own. Your grass metaphor is very poignant, I love it.

  6. Thea Thank You for sharing! I to was in a similar situation except without the ring and with a child and domestic violence! Reading your post made me cry, it has reminded me of my past, but they are tears of joy that i got out and im perfectly happy where i am today with hubby and kids! You did nothing wrong you followed your heart!!
    I'm Glad you now are happy and it sounds like you have the perfect hubby and kids..
    And please don't take the post down xx

  7. I've obviously missed some earlier comments - and I wouldn't take the post down either!

    This is your blog and your life, and you have lived it the best way you can. You HAD to get out of that marriage. It was not good for you, or for him. Perhaps the previous commenters (I presume) saying marriage is forever...were not aware of the domestic violence you suffered. But even with that aside - if you're not happy, why live a miserable life? And why bring children in to that life? It does no one any good at all.

    Glad you and Hubby found each other, and God has blessed you with children. xxx

  8. Thea, my dear, I feel like you've written a page from my life, right down to the racism. Only difference was that my kids were from my 1st marriage...the one that my oldest child asked why I had divorced Dad yet. Everyone thinks they know what love and marriage is when they are young, but they are usually wrong. Some of us require a life lesson be learned before realizing what we really want in life. Bless you for sharing.

  9. Thea thank you for your honesty and for sharing your story. Life isn't a fairytale and we sell our kids short if we let them think it might be. You did the right thing for you and I am so glad you are happier for it. Hugs and love xxx

  10. I am glad you haven't taken this down either.

    Another blogger I know refers to her first husband as "Practice" - if things aren't right, I personally think you have to make the proper decision for yours and your previous partner's happiness to move forward.

    Kudos to you for doing so.

    I had a LOT of living in my past before I went the way of child and children. I don't think it hurts for them to learn that sometimes there are whole chapters to your book before they came along - it is the trying to hide things that are the most hurtful.

  11. A beautiful and heartfelt post, Thea. So honest and real.
    Thanks for sharing it. xx

  12. Beautifully written. There are lessons in every journey, and to see them is a thing of beauty.

    Thank you for sharing. I'm so glad you found your 'real' love. x

  13. I didn't know this story and am so glad I read it. I am utterly impressed by your honesty in posting it, and in not sugar-coating it. I'm well and truly with Carol D above- while I believe you give it your best shot (and I know you went into it doing so) I also don't think that it's a travesty to get out of a marriage that is damaging you and/or your spouse. It's a travesty to stay... life is long and we need to embrace it and do the best we can for ourselves. Good for you. xxx

  14. You're so brave to tell this story.
    You have only one life, honey. It is your responsibility to live it as well and as fully as possible.
    Love and kisses.

  15. Wow Thea. I can't believe I didn't know this! I feel like other things you have gotten passionate about suddenly make a lot more sense. Especially the racism issue a while ago.

    No one lives your life but you. And you are so brave for making that decision which must have been so incredibly hard at the time.

    I've never before thought of the scenario where you have to tell a child you've been married before. It kind of breaks my heart you have to do this. Not because it's not right, but because you love your children so much, you don't want them to think of you as anything other than their Mum and Dad.

    I hope that all came out right Thea. I think you are wonderful xxx

  16. Thank you for sharing this - good on you. I hear echoes from my own life...

  17. what a beautifully told story and what a lucky "real" husband you have


  18. These are the posts I love the most - a closer view of authentic experience, not sugar-coated, but beautiful in their vulnerability.

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Thea...another amazing post. xoxox

  19. "I was that little girl who had always dreamed of her wedding day.
    I'd been planning it since I was about 10.
    I was in such a hurry for it to happen, that at 24 my dream came true.
    But I was impatient, I forgot to wait for Mr Right."

    I could have written that word for word. I call mine my starter marriage. I'm amazed at how many people I meet have done the same. Determined to be married by 25, then suddenly realise that it's not all sunshine and roses.

    It's wonderful to hear that you're now in a happy place!

  20. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It really does prove that everything always works out for the best, even when it feels like it might not. Despite it being a really tough road for you, I'm so incredibly glad that you've found your happily ever after. xx

  21. Thea, what a beautiful, honest post. I'm going through a divorce now (with two kids in tow). It's hard. I've felt immense guilt, but I also believe that while it's painful now, ultimately we will both be better off as we'll both have the opportunity to find something more fulfilling.

    I don't think we can judge another's decisions. It's up to you to live your own life and follow the dictates of your heart. If others judge that, that is their failing.

  22. thank you for sharing such a personal story. I too found my soulmate was not the man I married. Although we had just separated when he appeared in my life and I thought it was too soon and rebound and all that stuff. I was lucky that that my divorce was pain free for all of us. I have a daughter from my first marriage and so my former husband, was and is still part of my life - although in a very small way. He found happiness too, for which I am grateful. My soul mate and I are still together 34 years later.

    I am so glad you found your soulmate and had the courage to take the steps to have your life together. xxx

  23. That's the beauty (and heartache) of true comes when you least expect it and can and quite often does turn your whole world upside down.

    As much pain as you may have caused others in leaving your husband for your soulmate, I think it's a great thing that you did, you followed your heart, something so few actually do.

    A bit of unhappiness and pain for a lifetime of joy and wonderful, most definitely worth it and I hope you enjoy every single minute of it.

  24. An "Antiversary" - I've never thought of it like that before. But it's funny how you always remember.

    My wedding was set for 26 March 1988. I was going to be a "bicentennial bride". Except I pulled the pin in December 1987. I had the dress. The church and the reception were booked. It was like a runaway freight train but somehow I managed to stop it. Thank goodness I did.

    It was one of the hardest things I had ever done.

    I was desperate to get married. So desperate I nearly married the wrong man.

    The only reason I got the courage to break it off was that I'd met the RIGHT man. Not that I knew he was the right one back then. I just knew that I had feelings for him which was WRONG when I was about to marry somebody else!

  25. Thank you for sharing this. I get it. A lot. xxx

  26. Wow. I think its done me the world of good to read this post. Thankyou, thankyou! xo


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