Chapter 5, april
After eight very long and traumatic years of marriage, and one week after my divorce was final, I thought it only appropriate to get married again. Don’t judge me just yet, there will be plenty of time for that later.
Yes, I got married one week after my first divorce was final. In my defense, we had been legally separated for three years. I cannot recall why it took us that long to get a divorce. If I am being honest, we may not have even been able to afford the divorce, or we were just stubborn and not willing to give in to the requests of the other party. I know for certain that it was not because either of us wanted to or thought we would ever get back together.
I met my second husband in a giant mud pit. While out on a date with my boyfriend at the time, the tire of Roy’s truck rolled off his wheel and almost landed in my lap. It was love at first fright! I think he would agree that he pursued me quite persistently. If I remember correctly, it took me close to a year before I finally agreed to go on a date with him. He was not my usual type, but there was something about that confident persona and perfect smile that I just could not resist.
I do not think I have ever told him this, but he had hands that reminded me of my dad. That sounds extremely creepy, but every little girl’s first love is her dad – right? I felt safe when I was with him. In the beginning, I also felt like he loved me more than I loved him, and that was reassuring. We had been friends for a couple of years prior to the beginning of our romantic relationship, so it made sense for things to move rather quickly. I can recall the day I knew I wanted to marry him. It had been a rough week at work (and life), and he whisked me away to a weekend in Virginia, his hometown. He picked me up in that jacked-up truck (every redneck woman’s dream), and we drove off into the sunset. Who am I kidding, it was a miserable ride! Six hours in a Toyota with a 6-inch lift, boasting loud Mickey Thompson 33 Boggers, does not make for a very peaceful driving experience. Meanwhile he did not stop talking the entire trip!
That was not when I knew he was the one. Love came crashing down on me like a ton of bricks when he drove me to the top of a mountain to watch the sunset and tell me he loved me - for the very first time! I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him the moment I met his family. We spent the weekend with them and enjoyed the simplicity that his small, hometown had to offer. He had the textbook, All-American family. He was blessed with the kind of parents that had been married forever, his mom wore an apron, his dad wore a suit; they all sat down at the dinner table together each night for dinner. It was the type of family I had dreamed of having as a child. How could our relationship not last if he had such an amazing example of what a wonderful marriage was? When he asked me to marry him, there was no doubt in my mind that I would say yes. He was safe, and I always played it safe. He was also willing to accept me, my children, and my emotional baggage – sign me up!
Tragedy struck early in our marriage. I became extremely ill on our honeymoon. Roy made the executive decision to cut our trip short and drive back to his parent’s house where I could feel more comfortable and recover. When we returned home, I was still not feeling well, so I decided to make an appointment with my doctor. That is when I found out that we were going to have a baby. The two of us were over the moon with joy! That joy was short lived. Right before my second trimester, I suffered a miscarriage. I have never experienced pain like that – and I do not mean physical. I was an emotional wreck. That poor man had no idea how to handle what I was going through. He was raised by a very strong woman, so the mess that I had become was very unfamiliar to him.
Three short months later, we found out that we were pregnant again. This time the excitement did not come so quickly. I think both of us were scared that we would have a repeat of the last pregnancy. Low and behold, nine months later we welcomed into the world the most precious baby boy. Even though he resembled Uncle Fester, he was our enormous, bald baby, and we loved him with every ounce of our being. We were now a family of 5! It is not often that you find a man that is willing to take on such a large responsibility – remember that I brought into our marriage two amazing little girls. Less than a month after giving birth, Roy decided to get out of the Marine Corps. He wanted to move closer to his family and follow his dream of being a mechanic and one day owning his own shop. Reluctantly, I followed, very stubbornly might I add – you see, I was not privy to the discussion on whether it was a good idea to give up his Marine Corps career. In true Roy fashion – take a flying leap and we will figure out the details later – off we went to the coldest place on earth…Virginia!
From the outside looking in, we were perfect. I could not understand, if everything was so amazing, why I was crying myself to sleep at night. I wish I had a simple answer for that. It could have been the amount of change that had happened in our first year of marriage, mixed in with a little postpartum depression, or just that we were trying to figure one another out. He brought to the marriage his own issues, and I did as I have always done – buried all of my issues and took care of everyone else. If I remember correctly, the first time I brought up divorce was about two weeks after our wedding. Throughout our twelve-year marriage, I cannot count the number of times I thought we should just go our separate ways. I have this thing about me – I have a hard time giving up, but at the same time I know when to admit defeat. Roy did all the right things (and a few wrong ones), but I never felt that I was the most important person in his life.
It seemed to me that no matter how hard I tried, I did not fit into his world.
I will not say that any one particular person or thing made me feel this way, because I believe that we are in charge of our own feelings, but I can argue that a certain standard had been set for Roy’s lifestyle, and I felt like I was never good enough. Instead of him acknowledging my feelings or standing up for me as his wife, I was expected to deal with it and move on. It took me a very long time to realize that, while I take full responsibility for not always being easy to handle, he could not and was not willing to love me the way I needed to be loved. He is an amazing man, one of the best men I have ever known, but plain and simple – he could not speak my love language.
I was, and still am, a hot mess! I had spent eight years being married to the wrong man, and now I had gone ten more years felling like maybe I had done it again. I begged Roy to do what I needed so that I could feel loved. He matter-of-factly stated that he is who he is, and he was not willing to change. In all fairness, he should not have to change for anyone. He should have been able to be who he wanted to be; however, I do believe there could have been some compromise on both sides. When I realized that he would not complete my request, I was devastated. This perfect man that I loved so much was not willing to love me back. What was wrong with me? Why did every man I had ever loved walk out on me? I had a long talk with God. I told Him that I just could not take it anymore, I was defeated.
As humiliating and painful as it was, I knew that my marriage was over. I was going to be divorced for a second time. We kept our separation a secret for as long as we could. I think it was both out of fear and humiliation. Both of us went through so many emotions, but nothing could have prepared us for the storm that was brewing ahead. Once our family and close friends found out, it was devastating. Everyone was in shock and disbelief, as were we. Like I said, we had a seemingly perfect marriage from the outside looking in. I would like to tell you that our divorce was peaceful and uneventful, but that would not be the truth. I will tell you that I think we both did as good of a job as we could with keeping our emotions in check and maintaining a level head for the sake of our children. I also think we could both agree that certain outside influences had a tremendous effect on how things were (and sometimes still are) handled. You see, Roy can be feisty, but with certain situations he will not stand his ground – me, I am a fireball when it comes to protecting any and all things that I love. Maybe one day we can work out those issues, but for now I will just keep my distance from anything that threatens to steal my joy.
Roy was and is an amazing man and father. We may not be husband and wife, but we still share children and a very adventurous past together. He and I have been able to put our differences aside and continue raising our son. Even though our fairytale ended, our love and respect for one another remains strong. I consider Roy one of my very best friends and could not imagine my life without him in it. I have no doubt that we will always have a strong bond. That bond may not be of husband and wife, but it is something far more important – the bond of friendship and parenthood.