It’s all fucking bullshit. And yes, I know my children read this.
Let’s start things off. If I’m going to be honest and vulnerable I need to drop this act of thinking I’m better than anyone else. People have created this facade of a “perfect” life that I have that I thought I needed to live up to. Follow these rules, don’t curse, keep the house perfectly clean and organized, keep doing more and more and more. But I can’t keep it up anymore.
I don’t think I’m better than others. In fact, I’ve caused so much damage and hurt to the ones I love in the past that the depression that I carry is self-inflicted. I worked through my childhood traumas in therapy and learned to forgive others. But I stopped after I got through the childhood issues because I was terrified of looking at myself as an adult.
Let’s be raw. Let’s be vulnerable. Let’s speak the fucking truth for once.
I was a narcissistic, mentally and verbally abusive husband to my wife. Not in the way that it is portrayed on TV where I am just constantly screaming at her, or telling her she’s not good enough. In fact, I don’t think we have ever gotten in a screaming match with one another. There was never any physical abuse. But I made her do things, say things, feel things that she didn’t want to do. And I made comments to her that would tear her down and belittle her.
Now, to be clear I am not this person any longer, nor have I been that person in nearly 4 years. But while I have been better, I still never treated my wife the way she needed to be treated.
Let’s be honest.
About 6 years ago I decided that it was finally time to lose weight. And if you knew me back then, if I was doing something everyone else needed to be doing it too. And I hyper-fixated on it to the point that I was going out in the middle of the night to ensure I was hitting all of my physical activity goals for the day. It was obsessive and unhealthy. I put an expectation on my wife that she needed to be losing weight too. I didn’t discuss this with her, but I thought my needs were more important than hers. So me being the person I was, I lost the weight very quickly because I put all of my attention into it.
But my wife was busy taking care of the family. She was raising our children. Cooking all of the meals. Doing all of the appointments. Everything.
So, obviously she was not able to lose the weight like I was. And now finally looking back, it had nothing to do with her effort, but everything to do with the fact that she did not have a partner that would take the emotional, mental, and physical burden from her. Her body was just coursing with stress everyday, all day.
But I was being a fucking narcissistic husband and didn’t look to see how much the weight of the world was crushing her, and how she just needed me to be there and to hold her hand.
My weight loss became an obsession. A very, very, very unhealthy one. To the point that people were telling me that I needed to stop and I needed to see a doctor.
Prior to this I was going through periods of depression from feelings of abandonment from my childhood and my friendships as an adult. I felt abandoned by my family who I felt never saw me. I felt abandoned by my close friends as an adult who decided to cut me off with no warning. I thought there was seriously something wrong with me.
So I thought maybe it was just me. Maybe people didn’t see me, they just saw this fat kid that no one wanted to have around. So the weight loss was my attempt at making friends and being seen by others.
Two important things to know during this time. One, I was losing weight for the wrong reasons. Two, I started drinking during this time. This one is very important.
I never drank before, except the one time we went to Ireland for our 10-year anniversary. I was petrified of drinking because I grew up around alcoholic people and behaviors, and it honestly scared the shit out of me. I did not want my kids to experience that, and I did not want to be that person to my wife. But during this time I used it as an excuse to be more sociable. “This is just a thing adults do to loosen up and make friends.” And it kind of worked. When I drink I become very social and very happy. It made me more OPEN but not more VULNERABLE. This again is another important thing.
While I was doing all this, and losing this weight, and drinking, and being social, I was also ignoring my wife who was still at home building our life. And the more weight I lost, and the more social I became, the more alone I felt, because no “friends” were sticking around. All the conversations I were having were shallow and didn’t lead to any friendships.
So I began to fall into a massive depression. And you’ll understand how massive it was…
I made a decision to end my life, but not by doing anything drastic. Granted, there were many scenarios that played out in my head, and there are many places that I can not go because of the thoughts I experienced there.
So I wanted to basically work myself to death and continue to lose weight to an unhealthy level.
I didn’t want to be alive anymore. I didn’t deserve the life I had and I believed my family would be better off without me if I were gone. But I didn’t want to leave a mess.
So I basically starved myself and kept pushing myself to lose more and more weight. And I got down to a very unhealthy level before my body hit a plateau. And I became angry.
Why was I being denied something this?
My depression was so bad that it got to the point that not only was I hurting, I wanted others around me to hurt as well. And I had no one else in my life so who did I take it out on? My wife.
Something to know about my wife is that she has always given so much of herself to make me happy. And something that I should have appreciated became an expectation. I knew she would do anything that I asked her to do. Absolutely anything. Even things she never wanted to do herself. Even things I never wanted to do myself.
I couldn’t get to the point in my depression where I could physically take my own life, because I always had the guilt of leaving my wife behind. But if I could get her to divorce me, I would no longer have a reason to live.
So I began telling my wife that I was interested in other people. That I was attracted to them and that maybe we should talk about having an open marriage. And of course, she said no. And I would accept it for a few days before I would begin to push the subject again. “Hey, look at these videos.” “Hey, what do you think about this person.” I was intentionally pushing her away and hurting the person I loved so deeply in the world because I hated myself so deeply.
And then she started to play along for a bit. She thought this was making her husband happy, and no boundaries were really being crossed yet, so why not? So the conversations kept going and things would be talked about more during intimate moments and we both had this charade that we were playing for one another, which in honesty neither of us wanted to play to begin with.
Things continued to escalate because she continued to meet me with the things I was saying. She didn’t seem to pull away, but I didn’t see that she was just desperately trying to connect with her husband and for him to wake up and quit being a fucking idiot. My depression continued to decline. We got to a point where conversations started becoming more of a reality. Jokingly we both joined Tinder just to see if the idea of actually meeting another person would become a reality. I matched with someone on Tinder, no clue who they were, or even if they were a real person, but I talked to them for a bit. I was sent pictures and nothing ever came from it because it’s not something I wanted and I shut it down fast. I also had conversations with someone at work at the time. It never became anything, but we thought they were someone that would be open to the things we were talking about. Thank God that was shut down quickly as well. I didn’t tell my wife how uncomfortable it made me, because I thought she wanted it to continue.
My depression kept sliding. Work was exhausting me. I had a boss that treated me like garbage. I wasn’t getting paid for the work I was doing. I felt like I was failing my family. I didn’t want to be here anymore.
My wife was the one person keeping me from ending it all.
So I did the single most dumbest fucking thing I ever could have done and lied to her and told her I was attracted to someone that she was always compared to. Obviously this was a big deal, but she didn’t pull away like I thought she would. So I pushed further. Then we began talking about this person in other ways. And it got to a point that I had convinced her that that is what I actually wanted in my life.
She said she believes that’s what I really wanted because of my “physical” reaction to the things we talked about. But I remember the struggles of actually being able to “finish” and I got really good at learning how to fake. Me being fake is why things were different.
I asked her to do things for me that just absolutely make me sick to my stomach. I asked her to tell this person and in doing so my life absolutely fell apart. It obviously was not taken in a good way (nor should it have) and in fact there were lies and accusations that came from those conversations that to this day hurt so incredibly much that anyone would make those claims.
Nothing ever progressed past this point because neither of us truly wanted it and we knew as far as we pushed that boundary, it is not one that either of would fall over.
In trying to push my wife away so that I could end my life, I stole and destroyed parts of her that I promised I would protect.
She finally got to a breaking point where she knew she had to speak up and stand her ground and 4 years ago she told me it was time for me to move out.
And everything changed. My wife had finally stood up to me and told me where she was with things, and we finally expressed to each other that neither of us wanted the things we talked about.
And seeing the reality of what I was looking for – my wife telling me to go, my kids out of my life, suddenly I didn’t want to be gone anymore.
I changed that day. But not as much as the change my wife went through during the times I was making her into a person she never wanted to be.
I have not been that person since that day. But I also was not the person I needed to be for my wife. She needed to heal from the things I did to her. She needed to talk through them. She needed to have a partner that would help her heal.
And I was so fucking mortified and disgusted by myself that I thought the best option would be to bury the past and not address it.
Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.
I live every single day knowing the pain that I caused to the most amazing person I have ever met. And I cry and pray about it a lot. But I was so fucking scared of hurting her more that I thought talking about it would make things worse. I thought that owning up to the mistakes I made and being honest would make things worse. I have nightmares and wake up in the middle of the night having panic attacks because of what I did.
I hate myself for what I did to you. My depression now is not from the childhood traumas. It’s not from the work stresses. It’s because of the pain I caused you.
And I have been so incredibly fearful of hurting you again that I completely withdrew myself from everything. Our intimacy changed because I was so fucking scared of doing or saying something to you that would hurt you again, even though I wanted to be with you as much as you wanted to be with me. I started talking less because I thought only stupid, hurtful things come from me. While you all were walking on eggshells around me because of my emotions. I was walking on eggshells that weren’t even there thinking I was going to hurt you again.
You ask me why. And I can’t make excuses. My behavior was deplorable and makes me sick. But the answer is I hated myself so much that in order for me to end my life I had to push away the person that I loved the most.
Let’s be raw. Let’s me vulnerable. Let’s be honest.
I lied to you when I told you that I fell in love with being a father before I fell in love with you.
I loved you within the first few weeks of us messaging each other on Myspace. I fell in love with your laugh. I fell in love with your smile. God, your smile. I fell in love with the gentleness of your voice. I fell in love with the way you would just say “hey!” I fell in love with the way your touch would heal so many wounds. I fell in love with the way you listened. I fell in love when you were the one person who was able to get me through my grandparents passing.
There was a reason we got engaged so quickly. There was a reason I came home to get married and to stay with my new family.
It’s you. And it’s always been you.
It should have been about you. It should have been me who was showing up to help you emotionally, mentally, and physically. It should have been me who was waking up with the kids in the morning. It should have been me who was screaming to the world how proud of you I was on every accomplishment you worked your ass off for. It should have been me who was showing you every day just how important you are. It should have been me who was reminding you how appreciated you were.
But I didn’t do those things. This whole fucking mess is because of me. Because I made our lives about me.
This whole situation breaks my heart, but I have no anger towards anyone but myself. I caused this mess, and I shouldn’t ask you to help clean it up. So I’m not going to. It never should have come to you putting an end to things before I finally woke up. But I’m here. And I’m working my ass off to be the father my children always needed me to be, the husband you always needed me to be, and to create a safe space for everyone around me.
I don’t want you to put in the work anymore. I’m the one that needs to show up and put in the work.
Let’s be raw. Let’s be vulnerable. Let’s be honest.
You and I are communicating more in these past 2 weeks than I think we ever have before. And there are no filters. There are no concerns about hurt feelings. The things that need to be said are being said. And its been amazing. Because it’s making a difference. To know that you will be honest with me and call me out on my bullshit is so relieving. To know that you are telling me where I have failed you helps me to fix those things and be better. There’s a whole lot that we still need to talk about, but it’s so great to know that these conversations can be had.
How many things have we already learned about each other in these past 2 weeks that we did because we both made assumptions about the other person? How many scenarios have played out in each other’s minds because we thought we knew what the other person was thinking?
It’s absolutely stupid to think how much things would be better if we weren’t afraid of talking in the past like we are now.
It’s probably too late. I really hope that it’s not, but I know that what I have done in the past is a big issue. And I know you feel you can’t heal through those things with me.
But I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be here waking you up in the mornings to get a jump on the day. I’m going to be making you and our daughter breakfast every morning. I’m going to be helping pack your lunch when I know what it is you want. I’m going to be sending a good morning text every day until you believe that the words come from a place of love and not from obligation. I’m going to be reminding you that you look good in the things you wear. I’m going to tell you how good you smell. I’m going to wake our daughter up in the mornings and cuddle with her before her day starts. I’m going to help our son get ready for the day and to ensure he is eating breakfast. I’m going to be best friends with all of our children and give them the attention they so desperately crave. I’m going to take care of our oldest daughter and ensure she is taking care of herself. I’m going to go to therapy and work through the adult issues that I’ve gone through. I’m going to go to family counseling with our family so we can work through the shit I’ve put you all through. I’m going to be taking our kids to their appointments. I’m going to be calling and making the appointments myself. I’m going help our kids with their homework. I’m going to be leaving work on time every day. I’m going to be going to their school events when they come up. I’m going to be cleaning the house. I’m going to be taking care of all of the laundry. I’m going to be making sure no dishes are left on the counter after the dishwasher is loaded. I’m going to be helping with the grocery list and shopping. I’m going to be helping with the meals. I’m going to be playing games, watching movies, and tv with our kids. I’m going to be soft and kind with my words. I’m going to be loving in everything I do. I’m going to show up. I’m going to be putting your wants and needs above my own. I’m going to be looking for ways that I can do more for you. I’m going to show you that I see you. I’m going to show you that I hear you. I’m going to surprise you with Starbucks and know your order. I’m going to listen to the things you are interested in so we can have open discussions about them. I’m going to be supportive. I’m going to push you to be the best version of yourself. I’m going to be vulnerable with you. I’m going to see and hear you even when words are being spoken. I’m going to tell you about my day and get rid of the word “busy” from my vocabulary. I’m going to look you in the eyes when you talk to me. I’m going to put the phone or controller down. I’m going to take our kids out on dates. I’m going to take you for coffee every chance I get. I’m going to take you on dates, no matter how busy life gets. I’m going to be a partner.
I’m going to do something I never made you feel before…
That you are worth fighting for. Every damn day. On the easy days, and especially on the hard days.
I fucked up. It’s the biggest fuck up of my life. But I am taking full accountability.
The people we were 2 weeks ago were no longer compatible with each other. But I’ll be damned to believe that you and the person I just talked about above are not compatible.
We have a history, and with that history comes a lot of pain, but it also comes with a lot of good. The memories we have together. The trips we’ve taken. The family we’ve raised. The life we’ve built. The accomplishments we’ve achieved. The struggles we went through to get there. But even in the pain we have seen each other at our worst. We know each others faults, and we can see when there is growth. We have fought, but we have fought for each other. We have loved. And we have loved for each other.
We have to start from the beginning. I don’t want the life we had before. I don’t want things to be about me anymore. I want them to be about you and our children.
But I want you to know how fucking much you are worth fighting for. I will never be the person I was before. And I will never make you feel less than again. I will respect all of your boundaries, and I will hear YOU when you speak, and not what I think or what I want you to say.
And I will always be here.
And I will always be fighting to get you to fall in love with me again.