Twenty-two. That’s how old I was when I fell in love with my husband. It’s also how many years of marriage we’ve had now that it’s ended.
Now I’m a cliche. A jilted wife, I’m thrown over, a 47-year-old statistic. I’ve joined the 50 per cent club and not on the good side. I’m fodder for the gossip mill and this week’s entertainment. I’m suddenly single and not anywhere near ready to mingle.
I’m running the gamut of emotions: shock, despair, anger, fear. I rail, I cry, I scream. I can’t even talk anymore. One minute I was part of two and now I’m just me.
It happened in a flash. I thought our courtship was fast but the end of my marriage was much faster. They say that love blinds you but an unexpected break-up blindsides you so much more.
Our story was like a fairytale. The perfect how we met story. We were friends in high school but hadn’t seen each other for almost seven years. I was at a club and as I walked to the bathroom, a handsome boy grabbed my arm and said my name. I looked at him and asked, Do I know you? And then we talked and talked. The next day he looked me up in the phone book (I know!) and since he didn’t remember my stepfather’s last name, he went down the list and called every single Rubinoff until he found my father. And found me. How could I not agree to a date after all that effort?
We went out the next night, and that was it. From the first sweet, soft kiss at my doorstep, I was his. That night I dreamt of my wedding. As I walked down the long aisle, a tall, handsome man in a tuxedo turned to greet me. It was him.
And I just knew.
Our wedding was the stuff of storybooks and our honeymoon, even better. We had one fight in three weeks and it was because he wouldn’t ask for directions. I couldn’t get enough of him. I adored him, top to bottom and sideways, too. Sometimes I would crawl on top of him and try to squish myself into his body because I couldn’t get close enough.
Life with him held everything I’d been searching for during my unhappy childhood: love, security, faithfulness and warmth. He was the responsible steady foil to my wild, irresponsible filly. He had the sweetest deep brown eyes and they were home.
Of course marriage isn’t like that all the time. Life is not sunshine and roses and it has its ups and downs, bumps and creaks. Children, jobs, stress, they all take their toll. He has his quirks and idiosyncrasies and I have mine. But we weathered it together, or so I thought. I opened my heart and soul and gave my love with abandon. I didn’t always feel content with what he gave me, but really who does all the time?
I relished taking care of my family and my man. I know it’s not politically correct to say, but I loved being a wife. Doing things for him, supporting him, easing his way in the world—every one of those acts filled my cup. I believed my circle of love was complete and that my satisfaction in our life together was absolute. I didn’t know how wrong I was, or that I didn’t really know him at all.
The dirty details aren’t important, even though they’d make a good movie of the week. I could say that I believed that he loved me how I loved him—truly and without exception—but I don’t really know if he did. He might have, in his own way. Only he can answer to that. I could say say that I was naive and we had a breakdown in communication and things weren’t what I thought they were, and I’d be on the right track. I can say that I should have trusted my inner voice when it told me that what I had to offer him wasn’t enough. Then I’d be right.
I should have trusted my intuition. We women know things. Things we don’t want to know. I had whispers and inklings and suspicions that all wasn’t well in our world. I ignored them.
I shouldn’t have been shocked when one night, I jumped into bed, piled on top of him like a puppy and jokingly asked, Do you want a divorce? and his answer was Yes.
Next page: And here’s what happened next…